For all its well-earned reputation for cynicism, the Washington press corps, or some elements of it, has sure taken a rosy-eyed view of the Gonzales resignation.
The Los Angeles Times called it a "blessing" and an "opportunity" for President Bush, and "a chance to salvage his relationship with Capitol Hill and the legacy of his second term."
Roger Simon at The Politico says Bush is putting his legacy above loyalty: "Once famous for his loyalty to subordinates, Bush is now showing himself very capable of jettisoning the ones who create too much controversy." Very capable?
And everyone seems to be of the earnest opinion that Bush must nominate as Gonzales' successor someone of great independence and integrity to restore the Department of Justice. Wouldn't that be great.
TPM Reader MT isn't buying it, and neither am I:
Democratic lawmakers, such as Senator Schumer, and countless left-leaning bloggers have given their prescription for the AG nominee: he should be independent, not a member of the Bush inner circle, more loyal to the law than to the GOP, etc. But after watching the video of the petulant, irritated Bush making his brief statement about losing Gonzo, and hearing his claim that a good man had been "dragged through the mud," I can't help but think that the AG nominee will not be independent of the White House in any way, and will, in fact, be a middle finger to the Democrats in the Senate. Bush the spoiled brat will not be cooperative, but will instead take his ball and go home. After watching his temper tantrum, I don't see how any sane person could get a sense that the White House will capitulate on the next AG.
This just seems self-evident at this stage.
If, as the evidence overwhelmingly suggests, Gonzales was a mere Bush flunky, a cipher, an amiable man doing the bidding of more powerful and more sinister men, then his departure can hardly be said to herald a new era so long as Bush (and Cheney) occupy the White House.
There is a persistent meme in press coverage that Bush--like Reagan--remains a figure aloof and removed not just from the partisan fray but from the words and deeds of his appointees and underlings. He stands apart, or so goes the thinking, undoubtedly encouraged by spin from the White House and Bushies.
Nearly seven years into his Presidency, don't we have a pretty good idea of the character and abilities of this man? There is a long track record now of truly unparalleled incompetence, corruption, and politicization. What more do we need to know? Bush's legacy is firmly entrenched, and barring any seismic historical events between now and January 2009, any changes to that sorry legacy will be at the margins.