February 2, 2005

The Two Faces of Alberto Gonzales

Having mentioned Antonio Gonzales yesterday, I thought it was worth talking a closer look.  In doing so, I guess I’m actually going to post this picture.  I’ve been holding on to it for weeks now, concerned that if I used it, people would find it cute.

 Us.Yimg.Com P Ap 20050106 Capt.Dcsw10301062212.Senate Gonzales Dcsw103

I think it is illuminating, however, in a number of ways.  While it shows a picture of Gonzales’ son making a face behind Senator Leahy’s back, the boy’s striking similarity to his father makes him look like a double.  Given that the senior Gonzales also looks remarkably young, the Gonzales in the foreground might as well be the persona the public isn’t supposed to see. 

If you’ve been following Gonzales’ confirmation hearing to become Attorney General, you know the debate over the nomination was postponed from Tuesday to today (Thursday).  The reason for the postponement was to allow the Democrats more time to gather opposition.  The cause is right there in the photograph.  It would have been one thing if Democrats were merely troubled over Gonzales’ view that the President is above the law.  The real dissent, however, stems from the feeling that Gonzales disrespected the Judiciary Committee through evasive answers and repeated refusals to respond. 

Gonzales’ response to many written questions was that he had not conducted a search for the requested documents. As Senator Kennedy explained:

“The documents we want may exist, but he’s not going to look for them. There’s nothing more arrogant to say to this body…. It’s an insult not just to the Senate, but to the American people.”

It was also disclosed last week that Gonzales, in response to a direct written question, failed to disclose his role in a legal arrangement allowing then-Governor Bush to avoid disclosing a D.U.I. conviction as part of a jury duty appearance. The Senator whose question he snubbed is the man Gonzales could just as easily be standing behind  — the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy.

(image: AP Photo/Susan Walsh in Yahoo News)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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