What’s news? Part Two

John asked this question when he compared the MSM’s treatment of an anti-war ad by a few retired generals and a mass petition by active members of the armed forces urging Congress to fund the war. Today the question arises in connection with Attorney General Gonzales. Here’s the apparent answer: Republicans on the Senate Judiciary give Gonzales a hard time: News. Republicans on the House Judicary committee support Gonzales: Not news.
Actually, I may be overstating this a little. The Washington Post did mention yesterday’s House hearings on its inside pages, though it reserved most of its story for such stunning revelations as “Gonzales’ senior aides came closer than previously known to firing [Milwaukee U.S. Attorney] Biskupic.” When the focus is on how close the administration came to firing people, you can tell the story is running out of steam. Naturally, Dana Milbank tried to have some fun at Gonzales’ expense, but had to admit that this time around Gonzales wasn’t a punching bag — if anything, he played rope-a-dope with the Dems.
Gonzales was able to do this because the committee Republicans didn’t pile on him. They deserve credit for this, and for ridiculing the efforts of Democrats to create a scandal here. I particularly liked Rep. Dan Lungren’s comment that “we’re acting like U.S. attorneys are the product of the Immaculate Conception, and once they’ve been created cannot be undone.” I hope Arlen Specter and his southern alter-ego Lindsey Graham were watching.
I only saw a small portion of the hearings, but did catch Rep. (“who is”) Keith Ellision questioning Gonzales about Rachel Paulose, the new U.S. attorney in Minnesota. The long-time Nation of Islam supporter wanted to know, in essence, why at least one U.S. attorney was fired due to morale problems, while Paulose is still a U.S. attorney in the face of criticism from some people on her staff. Gonzales pointed to the difference between long-festering morale problems and problems that might arise when a new U.S. attorney like Paulose enters the scene. Having completed his grandstanding, Ellison didn’t seem interested in this common sense answer.
The Dems still have one arrow left to shoot at Gonzales, and that’s the testimony of former Department of Justice aide Monica Goodling. She has now been granted limited immunity, and likely will testify before too long. Barring any fireworks from her, the story probably will peter out. Finally.

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