Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gonzales-gate: I can hardly wait for the sequel

Interrogator: Sign ze papers old man.
Prisoner: I can not sign ze papers.
Interrogator: You must sign ze papers! Why will you not sign ze papers?!
Prisoner: Because you have broken both my hands!

[Stolen Adapted from Cheech and Chong]

In a tale fit for a Tom Clancy novel, or perhaps a dope-inspired comedy, routine your current Attorney General and former White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez (I'm thinking Benicio del Toro for the movie), along with his co-conspirator White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card (I see James Woods in the role) wend their way to the hospital bed of Attorney General John Ashcroft (sure the black thing might be a problem, but I'm rooting for James Earl Jones). Meanwhile, racing from his office at the DoJ, Deputy Attorney General (and acting AG) Jim Comey (in the Harrison Ford role) fights the clock in a desperate attempt to intercept the evil-doers before they can reach his boss' bed.

I can see it now, the quick cuts from Comey's speeding car to the random beeps of hospital monitors, to the steady incessant footsteps of the villains. Indeed, very cinematic.

And I suspect that's what presents the crux of the problem for Gonzales. The recent investigations into the corrupt politicization of the Department of Justice are, I suspect, a little too arcane to capture and hold the public's attention.

But how's this for a narrative that'll hold your attention. Mr. Comey, against all odds (while still obeying all traffic laws - he's that kind of guy) beats Gonzales and Card to Ashcroft's bed in the ICU. Dana Milbank takes up the narrative in the Washington Post:

"The door opened and in walked Mr. Gonzales, carrying an envelope, and Mr. Card," Comey told the spellbound senators. "They came over and stood by the bed." They wanted Ashcroft to sign off on an eavesdropping plan that Comey and others at the Justice Department had already called legally indefensible.

Ashcroft "lifted his head off the pillow and in very strong terms expressed his view of the matter" -- that Comey was right. "And as he laid back down, he said, 'But that doesn't matter, because I'm not the attorney general. There is the attorney general.' And he pointed to me."

Gonzales and Card "did not acknowledge me," Comey testified. "They turned and walked from the room."

Fade/dissolve to congressional hearings where Comey testifies to a stunned panel of Senators"

"I thought I just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man," Comey told the quiet chamber. His voice grew thick and he cleared his throat as he explained how he prepared to resign. "I couldn't stay, if the administration was going to engage in conduct that the Department of Justice had said had no legal basis."

Pretty gripping stuff you'll agree.

I can hardly wait for the movie.

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