Saturday, May 19, 2007

The New York Times Is Getting Very Shrill

In March 2004, the acting attorney general distrusted Alberto Gonzales so much that he wouldn’t meet with him at the White House without a witness. Eight months later, President Bush promoted Mr. Gonzales from White House counsel to attorney general, the top law enforcement job in the land. The president is still standing by his man, ignoring Mr. Gonzales’s efforts to mislead Congress, his disregard for the Constitution and his gross neglect of even basic bureaucratic duties.

It’s a familiar pattern: Mr. Bush sticks by his most trusted aides no matter how evident it is — even to the Republican Congressional chorus — that they are guilty of incompetence, bad judgment, malfeasance or all three. (George Tenet, the director of central intelligence; Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; and the Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers spring to mind.)

Each time, we’re told Mr. Bush repays loyalty with loyalty. We’re told it’s a sign of character. We don’t buy the explanation. The more persuasive answer is that Mr. Bush protects his embattled advisers because they are doing precisely what he told them to do.

Although bloggers have been saying this for years, it's nice to see the Times join the party.