Opinion: “I don’t mean to be rude, but...”


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Watching C-SPAN last night was painful, and I don’t mean because it bored me to death. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s testimony at yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing provided the same entertainment value as the first round of American Idol, in which a self-deluded contestant puts in a lousy performance, the judges delightedly make an even bigger fool of him and the in-studio audience guffaws at every single gaffe.

The whole excruciating charade would have been easier to take had Gonzales shown remorse, anger or some other human emotion. But for most of the four hours he just floundered along impassively, rendering many committee members’ hard-hitting questions about as effective as punching a jellyfish that keeps stinging itself.


Take the infamous scene where Gonzales insisted he made a misstatement but clarified it with the reporter two days afterward. Minutes later, he admits a spokesperson made the clarification — and Gonzales didn’t even know what was said.

I’d like to believe there’s a reason for all this well documented obfuscation. Heck, I’d even take some cunning, devious master plan on the part of the administration over the ineptitude demonstrated last night.

But frankly, I’d wager that if the Attorney General were asked, ‘Alberto, how could you have thought going for this was a good idea?’ the best we’d get is, ‘I would say that that’s a good question.’