In the U.S. attorney scandal, Alberto Gonzales gave orders, but he also took them — from Karl Rove, who plotted to turn the federal criminal justice system into the Republican Holy Office of the Inquisition.
Leave aside the unintentional irony of President Bush asserting executive privilege to shield his aides from testifying before the Congress in the summary firings of eight U.S. attorneys because the precedent would prevent him from receiving “good advice.” Leave aside also his denunciation of the Congress for the impertinence of requesting such testimony as “partisan” and “demanding show trials,” despite calls from Republicans for the dismissal of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Ignore as well Bush’s adamant defense of Gonzales.
The man Bush has nicknamed “Fredo,” the weak and betraying brother of the Corleone family, is, unlike Fredo, a blind loyalist, and will not be dispatched with a shot to the back of the head in a rowboat on the lake while reciting his Ave Maria. (Is Bush aware that Colin Powell refers to him as “Sonny,” after the hothead oldest son?) But saving “Fredo” doesn’t explain why Bush is willing to risk a constitutional crisis. Why is Bush going to the mattresses against the Congress? What doesn’t he want known?