While watching Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in his bewildering and even maddening appearances before congressional committees, I am of two minds about his future.
First, Democrats should continue to call for his resignation because of his utter incompetence, even though we know President Bush will not budge on removing him. Justice is not well served by this man.
Second, Democrats should allow him to remain in office for the rest of Bush's term and watch him drag down already dim hopes for the GOP in the 2008 election. He will make a fine target.
In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, Gonzales was a case study in evasion, double talk, and convenient lapse of memory. He would not answer some questions; perhaps to have done so would have added to the evidence of his failures.
Bush's loyalty to his fellow Texan has been put to a further test. FBI Director Robert Mueller's testimony on a national security incident contradicts Gonzales's account. Is the AG forgetful again or just a liar?
Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican member, was so exasperated at one point during the attorney general's most recent appearance that he told him: "Let me see if I can find a question you'll answer."
Gonzales lost favor long ago with almost every Democrat and many Republicans on Capitol Hill who recognize his liability in next year's elections. Yet Bush has been as stubborn about him as he is about the war in Iraq. Loyalty can ask too much, but try telling that to Bush.
The president's simple response is that he wants his Texas friend there, and the Congress and the public be damned.
In the long run, the political firings of seven U.S. attorneys will be a minor matter to historians judging this administration. Matter of fact, it will be just another in the long list of blunders by the president, the vice president, and his team.
Finally, I think it wise to let Gonzales stay and probably add to his already miserable record.