Gonzales Resignation Exemplifies GOP Travails
©2007 Christopher G. Adamo
Democrat victory dances have not ceased since last year’s elections, and have plainly been invigorated by the recent resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Yet the party of Kennedy, Schumer, Reid, and Pelosi remains in the dark as to any important aspect of where the country needs to go. Consequently, Republican prospects for the current day as well as in next year’s pivotal elections remain within Republican control.
Unfortunately, too many key Republicans appear as clueless of this situation as they have ever been. The mood of the American people and the defining issues of the day, even including the Gonzales resignation, bode well for an unabashedly conservative party leadership that can seize the moment. Yet Democrats have historically had little reason to fear such a possibility.
In the wake of the 2006 elections, every liberal and “moderate” interest group was asserting its own rationale for the sea change that resulted. Some, who had been perceived as conservative, such as former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, came out of the closet with their anti-Christian biases.
Others offered various explanations for public disillusionment with the GOP, ranging from the prospect of drilling in ANWAR to the President’s attempts at Social Security reform.
The anti-war/anti-America contingent still asserts with absolute confidence that the entire election centered on the U.S. presence in Iraq. Moreover, their endless repetition of this message eventually generated a mantle of reality, especially among Beltway insiders. Thus it would seem that the GOP hopes for a turn-around in 2008 are slim to nil. Yet such thinking represents the worst example of listening to one’s enemies.
Like the 2006 elections, the downside of the Gonzales resignation need not portend defeat or retreat for Republicans. Rather, it highlights the pitfalls into which overly congenial and compliant Republicans have often stumbled, and more importantly, how repeats of such disastrous action can and should be avoided in the future.
First however, another reality check on the 2006 elections needs to occur. As often as liberals seek to make the case that last November’s upset was “all about Iraq,” the truth needs to be retold in order to clear the air. Iraq became the predominant issue only because Republicans had allowed it to assume that position as the inevitable result of their feckless accommodation of Democrats on virtually every defining issue of the day.
The “Bridge to Nowhere,” a spawn of Senator Ted Stevens, Alaska’s Republican “porker in Chief,” epitomized unconscionable contempt for the nation’s resources and finances. More significantly however, it proved that spending problems are not the sole property of the Democrats. As a result, the subject of “fiscal responsibility,” long a Republican issue, was taken off the table.
Ditto for amnesty, which has not only been ceaselessly promoted by the President, it has also enjoyed vehement support from prominent Senate Republicans such as Lindsay Graham and John McCain. National sovereignty, never held in high regard among Democrats, was likewise not the undisputed territory of Republicans.
In such a vacuum, it is little wonder that Iraq bubbled to the top as a “decisive issue.” Yet the worst aspect of the situation was that, with the war not going so well in the latter months of last year, little could be offered from the conservative base to defend Republican stances on that or any other issue. Thus was the die cast for the 2006 upset.
Likewise, the entire controversy surrounding the firing of a handful of U.S. Attorneys would surely have played out in a vastly different manner, had Gonzales previously established a solid reputation as a defender of the Constitution and the rule of law.
Instead, Gonzales has voiced his acceptance of the popular liberal notion of the Constitution as a “living document.” It has been rightly said that those who claim to regard it as “living” actually believe it to be a dead document, since its original significance as a charter upon which America was to be built is, in their minds, no longer valid.
Such flawed thinking is particularly alarming, considering how dangerously close Gonzales came to being nominated as a justice of the United States Supreme Court. If his concept of the Constitution were taken to its logical end, the Court would possess absolute authority over the very nature of American law. No other legislating or governing body would even be necessary.
Consequently, as news of the U.S. Attorneys controversy mushroomed, and liberals began sharpening their knives and spewing their venom, Gonzales became inordinately vulnerable. While he clearly has enemies on the left, his biggest problem was that, as a result of major positions he has taken, he was left with few defenders on the right.
Even now, any conservative defense of Gonzales as being legally innocent and a victim of contrived accusations must be accompanied by an obligatory disclaimer, disassociating the defense with objectionable issues such as his abominable immigration philosophy. This manner of restricted and limited support appears tepid and insignificant in the face of the fierce and brutal Democrat onslaught.
In the Justice Department, as with the rest of the government, an unambiguous and intellectually honest operation, constrained by the boundaries imposed from the Constitution, is not only the best way to conduct business, it is the only legal and proper way. Thus is the integrity of that document, and the nation it undergirds, upheld.
This should be the unmistakable message believed and advanced by all Republican office holders and aspiring candidates. For such people and principles, conservatives can and will fight the good fight.
Christopher G. Adamo is a freelance writer and the former editor of "The Wyoming Christian," state newsletter for Christian Coalition of Wyoming. Chris is also a member of the Wyoming Republican Central Committee. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and resides in Wyoming. Archives of his articles are available at www.chrisadamo.com .