By Charles Pugsley Fincher, A Spin-Off of

Note on Friday: The New York Times has a story today that wasn't out when I did this Scribble.  It's directly in point, but wasn't available when I did the Scribble. The piece goes into the theory that Bush appointed Gonzales for A.G. so that conservatives could get used to him. Once the first appointment is made to the Supreme Court -- Bush will start with the most difficult one to cash in on his election, the theory goes -- he will then appoint Gonzales to the court. I'm leaving what I wrote before up, but you could stop here and have the full story.

George W. Bush has nominated Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General. This is the fifth time, beginning in Texas, that Bush has picked Gonzales to fill a position. Talk about a super mentor. Gonzales is a mystery to me right now. He may be a moderate having come down on the side against the requirement of parental notification for a teen-age girl in order to get an abortion while he was on the Texas Supreme Court.

However earlier this year, his really dumb memos that called the Geneva Conventions "obsolete" and "quaint" surfaced, written in his role as White House Counsel. Gonzales is a former big-firm lawyer who counseled corporations. His Geneva memos reminded me of a corporate attorney trying to find a way around a regulation for his client, a terrible outlook when dealing with the big questions of international law and the treatment of prisoners which requires a degree of core philosophy.

Regarding those memos, this is from Dan Froomkin's column in the Washington Post on Wednesday (Scroll down to the heading "Alberto Gonzales.") :

Daniel Klaidman wrote in Newsweek in July: "Gonzales is at the center of the legal and political fallout over the administration's handling of the war on terrorism. As the president's legal gatekeeper, Gonzales was responsible for vetting some of the most controversial decisions: the treatment of prisoners, the line between aggressive but legal interrogation and torture, and the rights of 'enemy combatants.'

"The White House, and Gonzales in particular, are now left to explain those decisions in the wake of Abu Ghraib and the steady drip of leaked memos. . . .

"Friends say the White House counsel is 'beating himself up' over the mess. Gonzales, they say, fears he may not have served the president as well as he would have liked. Though he stands by the legal reasoning, he wishes he had been more attuned to the possible political consequences and had reined in some of the administration's more extreme voices."


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