Monday, August 27, 2007

Analysis: Gonzales a Lesson in Cronyism

WASHINGTON - Alberto Gonzales was a case study in cronyism, a nice guy and presidential pal who became attorney general on the strength of those two credentials.

He was not up to the job.

In the end, Gonzales' greatest achievement may be that he produced a rare note of unanimity among Republicans and Democrats in Washington: They agree his tenure was an unmitigated failure.

"Reasonable people have been saying since the spring that Gonzales should resign, and four months later everybody says this should have happened a long time ago," said Republican consultant Joe Gaylord. "My guess is the close ties to George W. Bush made that impossible."

The attorney general said Monday he was resigning.

Every public service job Gonzales has held he owes to Bush - general counsel to the Texas governor, Texas secretary of state, state Supreme Court justice, White House counsel and finally attorney general.

That debt may have made Gonzales too eager to please his boss, too deferential toward higher-powered Texans like Karl Rove and too dismissive of critics in Congress.

His rapid rise may have left him ill equipped to manage the huge Justice Department and unseasoned in Washington politics.

Whatever the reason, Gonzales' record of scandal would have more quickly doomed a less-connected public official........

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