In my FindLaw column on Wednesday, I'll take a look at the sins of AG Gonzales, but here I want to focus briefly on President Bush's claim that Gonzales had his "good name . . . dragged through the mud for political reasons." I want to float an odd theory: BUSH ACTUALLY BELIEVES THIS.
Let's put aside the fact that the claim makes no sense. Why did Democrats (never mind Republicans) decide to drag the Gonzales name through the mud? If politics were the reason, wouldn't they have made similar claims about all Bush appointees? Why haven't they dragged the good names of Condi Rice, Henry Paulson and Dirk Kempthorne through the mud?
That sort of analysis is just far too reality-based. Here is how Bush intuits the matter:
1) Alberto is a loyal buddy;
2) People in Congress are saying nasty things about Alberto;
3) Therefore, the people saying the nasty things must have base motives, like politics.
This theory explains how it was that after one of the most dismal of a string of dismal performances before Congress, the President was able to say that he thought Gonzales did an excellent job of answering questions. Bush probably didn't watch any footage or read a transcript of the testimony. (In No End in Sight, Bush is accused by someone who should know of not even reading the executive summary of national intelligence documents, so why would he waste time watching or reading about Senators bloviating?) As Stephen Colbert would say, Bush just knew with his gut that Gonzales would have done a fine job of standing up to those jabbering legislators. Therefore he did.