This morning, in a surprise announcement only because of its timing, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced that he will be stepping down on September 17. “Yesterday I met with President Bush and informed him of my decision to conclude my government service as attorney general of the United States effective as of September 17th, 2007,” Gonzales said.

He also spoke about his time as attorney general, “Let me say that it’s been one of my greatest privileges to lead the Department of Justice. I have great admiration and respect for the men and women who work here. I have made a point as attorney general to personally meet as many of them as possible, and today I want to again thank them for their service to our nation. It is through their continued work that our country and our communities remain safe, that the rights and civil liberties of our citizens are protected, and the hopes and dreams of all of our children are secured.”

Gonzales concluded, “I often remind our fellow citizens that we live in the greatest country in the world and that I have lived the American dream. Even my worst days as attorney general have been better than my father’s best days. Public service is honorable and noble. And I am profoundly grateful to President Bush for his friendship and for the many opportunities he has given me to serve the American people. Thank you, and God bless America.”

President Bush blamed the Democrats, and defended his old friend Gonzales. “Al Gonzales is a man of integrity, decency and principle. …After months of unfair treatment that has created a harmful distraction at the Justice Department, Judge Gonzales decided to resign his position and I accept his decision. It’s sad that … his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.”

The Democratic reaction can be best summed up as it’s about time, and Republicans can breathe a sigh of relief as another anchor is removed from around their necks. Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid said, “Alberto Gonzales was never the right man for this job. He lacked independence, he lacked judgment, and he lacked the spine to say no to Karl Rove. This resignation is not the end of the story. Congress must get to the bottom of this mess and follow the facts where they lead, into the White House.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) asked President Bush to nominate a better person for the job. “It has been a long and difficult struggle but at last, the attorney general has done the right thing and stepped down. …We Democrats implore you (Bush) to work with us. Don’t choose the path of confrontation and throw down the gauntlet we are willing to meet you in the middle of the road. All we ask is that you choose somebody who puts the rule of law first. We’re not looking for confrontation here.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also blamed Gonzales’s downfall on partisan attacks by the Democrats. “I thank Alberto Gonzales for his public service and wish him well in his future endeavors. It is my hope that whomever President Bush selects as the next attorney general, he or she is not subjected to the same poisonous partisanship that we’ve sadly grown accustomed to over the past eight months.”

While Republican Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said, “Attorney General Gonzales’ ability to lead the Department of Justice had been undermined by his serious errors in judgment and conflicting statements. I am hopeful that the President will name a strong successor who will begin to restore confidence in the department.”

I think Democratic presidential candidate summed the feelings of most people up best when he said, “Better late than never.” Gonzales had to go. He destroyed the credibility of the Justice Department. He was never popular with Congress, but his inability to tell them the truth made him despised on the Hill. He was going to be an issue in the 2008 election, and there was nothing positive to be gained by President Bush by his staying on the job.

Gonzales should have been gone months ago. The Bush administration once again demonstrated their ability to stick with a person, who obviously should have been fired, for too long. If this is the way Bush ran his businesses, no wonder they went bankrupt. He puts the wrong people in the wrong positions, and then when they inevitably fail, he sticks with them. Gonzales was more of a symptom of a legendarily terrible president, then the cause of this historic disaster known as the administration of George W. Bush.

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Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at 

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at


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