You can look at it two different ways:
1) Alberto Gonzales has been revealed to be at best an incompetent amnesiac and at worst an apparatchik determined to cover up the White House's total control of the Justice Department. He's lost even the confidence of administration loyalists on Capitol Hill and is nothing but a ghost with the title attorney general.
2) Alberto Gonzales has run the gauntlet. And he won! He doesn't have any credibility left to lose.
You can guess what the Gonzales way of seeing the world is. "[Gonzales] has told aides he believes he has weathered the storm," reports The New York Times
Of course, the Justice Department is in a shambles, but President Bush just won't waver. The expressions of support keep coming, getting even fuller, wholler. The latest from Tony Snow: the president âstill supports the attorney general fully and wholly.â
Meanwhile, the Times
reports, a division has occurred in the Justice Department "between Gonzales loyalists and backers of Paul J. McNulty, the deputy attorney general." The AG's backers fault McNulty for blowing their cover; McNulty's backers "have faulted Mr. Sampson for misleading Mr. McNulty and other officials about the origin of the dismissals and the extent of White House involvement." McNulty is reportedly considering whether to step down "soon," says the Times
. But Gonzales is staying put.
Perhaps the most amusing bit in the piece is the assertion that Karl Rove is pushing for Gonzales' removal:
A Republican strategist familiar with Mr. Roveâs thinking said that Mr. Rove, the presidentâs chief political adviser, âbelieves itâs in the best interest of the president for Gonzales on his own to resign.â But, this person said, Mr. Rove and other like-minded aides have concluded that âthereâs nothing they can do â itâs about the relationship between Gonzales and the president.â
Maybe this might explain Rove's feeling of helplessness:
Yet there are reasons White House aides are content to see Mr. Gonzales stay put. First, they say they believe that if Mr. Gonzales were to step down under pressure, it would empower Congressional Democrats to set their sights on others, including Mr. Rove, who has acknowledged complaining to Mr. Gonzales and the president about several prosecutors.
And removing Mr. Gonzales would pose another set of complications: finding a candidate who could be confirmed by the Senate and risking replacement of a loyalist with someone who might be more independent.