Early on Monday evening Republican senators banded together to block a vote of no confidence on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The one sentence long joint resolution said, “Expressing the sense of the Senate that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales no longer holds the confidence of the Senate and of the American people.” However, Republicans were not about to be politically embarrassed into casting a damned if you damned if you don’t kind of vote, so they came together to block the procedural measure that would have allowed the non-binding resolution to advance to full debate, and then to a final vote. In the end Democrats came up 7 votes short of the 60 that they needed to move their resolution another step closer to a final vote. The vote to move debate forward was 53-38 in favor.

What is interesting here is that 7 senators didn’t even bother to vote. One of them is Tim Johnson who is still out for medical reasons, but the other three Democrats surprise, surprise are busy out running for president. Obama, Dodd, and Biden all did not even bother to show up and vote. On the GOP side, the chronically absent John McCain and Sam Brownback also couldn’t be troubled enough to do their elected duty as senators and vote. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) wanted to avoid this whole mess all together, so he voted present. The presidential election is still well over a year away. You would think that some of these guys could be troubled enough to actually show up and do the job that the people in their respective states elected them to do.

The Republicans need to realize that they are not in control anymore. On the issue of Gonzales, public opinion is not on their side. While none of them may want to vote against an appointee of their president, there is no love lost between Gonzales and all of Congress. Congressional Republicans who are up for reelection next year should be begging Gonzales to resign. My problem with Gonzales, even before this U.S. attorneys’ debacle, is that he is a terrible attorney general.

 It is obvious that much like every other bad Bush appointee he got his job because of his loyalty to the president not because of talent or competence. It seems like the Justice Department under Gonzales has ground to a standstill. Ashcroft was no prize either, but at least he was out trying to catch child pornographers. What has Gonzales done? Republicans may think that they are doing the right thing by toeing the party line, but they are going to pay for this misguided loyalty at the ballot box next year. It seems like the losses in 2006 election didn’t sink in, so maybe they need to lose a few more elections before they get the point.

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Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 6:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse  blog radio  

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