I find this editorial in the Salt Lake City Tribune a bit surprising, given that Utah is such a Republican stronghold.
If, as reported, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales spent weeks preparing to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, he might as well have saved himself the trouble.
Gonzales tried to plausibly deny to Congress that he had had much to do with the questionable firings of eight U.S. attorneys, a claim that is substantially contradicted in e-mails and in testimony from subordinates at the Justice Department. He failed miserably.
Indeed, with 71 claims of faulty memory during an intense, five-hour grilling, Gonzales came across as having something to hide. His vague, legalistic responses to important questions - such as who, exactly, was behind the firings - were clearly not the whole truth that he is sworn to uphold.
The gradual and continual erosion of support for the administration has GOP party officials in Utah concerned.
Even though local polling shows Utahns have not abandoned the GOP, Jeff Hartley, executive director of the Utah Republican Party, said: "We are concerned here. We're worried about the 2008 elections. We have to put forward our conservative package -- not so much on the moral issues but on fiscally conservative issues. We need to bring our people back."
The GOP's credibility among voters has been weakened further by Gonzales' defiant unwillingness to bend to political pressure, and by President Bush's sophomoric stand in support of Gonzales. Wouldn't it be great if Gonzales was actually honest with the American people, and told the whole story behind the U.S. Attorney firings?
But come on now -- he's a Republican! And despite the high standards and ethics required by his job description he's a party loyalist first, and American second.
Huzzah for the SLC Trib's editorial stance against Gonzales.
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