Alberto Gonzales resigned today. In his press announcement, he did not say that he was resigning to spend more time with his family. In fact, he didn’t offer any reason as to why he was resigning.
President Bush, when it was his turn to speak, characterized Gonzales as a man of “integrity, decency and principle” who was taken down by “months of unfair treatment.”
Now I know that Gonzales was loyal to Bush, but loyalty does not equal integrity. Bootlicking does not equal decency. And obsequiousness does not equal principle. Here’s where the news of the case seems to differ from the marketing.
Gonzales will be remembered for:
- Warrantless wiretapping
- Denial of the right to habeas corpus in the U.S. Constitution
- Dismissal of U.S. attorneys
But rather than focus on the past, progressives should seize this as an opportunity to express their values. After all, Bush needs to appoint a new Attorney General.
Glenn Greenwald argues that Democrats should only approve someone who will truly act as an independant and will keep partisan politics out of the Justice Department.
While I agree with this action, how do the Democrats accomplish this without being portrayed as standing in the way.
The way to do this is to request an independent, nominee upfront, before the nomination. Explain to the country why we need an immediate appointee that is above politics. And in this request, explain some of the values that this individual should bring:
- Restoring integrity to the Justice Department
- Bringing fairness for both Republicans and Democrats
- Upholding the constitution and freedoms of our citizenry
- Supporting the most qualified candidates for DoJ jobs (ending cronyism)
This confirmation is an opportunity for Democrats to show that they stand for something. This fight should not be ignored.