Salazar Should Own Up to His Role in Gonzales Fiasco

Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar’s thoughts about Alberto Gonzales’ demise were brief.

“I had called for Alberto Gonzales' resignation several months ago,” Salazar said in a statement released hours after Gonzales resigned Monday as U.S. Attorney General. “With his resignation today, I am hopeful that the American people can have their confidence restored in the Department of Justice. This is an opportunity for a fresh start and I look forward to the President bringing new leadership to a department that has become overly politicized.”

That’s a great sentiment, but it neglects the major role Salazar played in getting Gonzales the job he so badly bungled.

Salazar introduced Gonzales in the Senate. Salazar supported Gonzales throughout the vetting process of confirmation hearings. Salazar voted for Gonzales. Monday, the senator didn’t bother to mention that. He failed to own up to his part in this mess.

It wasn’t just that Gonzales appeared to lie before Congress about what he knew of overzealous White House intelligence operations and other dirty tricks. It was that Gonzales’ penchant for politics was undeniable all along. He was a Bushie from jump street.

Surely, the senator didn’t miss Gonzales’ right wing credentials and ideological intransigence. Those, as much as the lies, eventually cost Gonzales his job.

One wonders if Salazar was so anxious to see a Latino in a cabinet level position that he ignored Gonzales’ loyalty to the Bush Administration instead of the law.

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