John Stewart really got it right on Wednesday - this administration is really making him obsolete. There's no need for commentary anymore - if you want to get laughs, it's just a matter of figuring out which clips to show today. Yesterday's breakthrough accidental comedian was Alberto Gonzales - a man who seems to have set out to prove that he's got a bigger problem with short term memory than Drew Barrymore did in 50 First Dates.
The counts vary, but most estimates have the AG failing to recall various things - like dates, meetings, reasons for firing people - by one count, more than 70 times during the course of a seven hour hearing. One memory lapse per six minute interval might not sound too bad, but remember - this is a Senate hearing. It's not like Gonzales was doing most of the talking.
At this point, it's really hard to judge which particular moment during the Gonzales hearing was actually the funniest. I sure can't - so I'm going to let you decide.
Entry A - in response to questioning from Leahy:
"And what I know today, and while I don't recall the specific mention of this conversation, I recall the meeting, is that there was a meeting in October, ah, with the President, in which the President - as I understand it - ah.. relayed to me similar concerns about pursuing election fraud."
Entry B - in response to questioning from Specter:
"I now understand that there was a conversation between myself and the president."
Entry C - in response to questioning from Kennedy:
"Senator, I have in my mind a recollection as to knowing as to some of these United States Attorneys. There are two that I do not recall knowing in my mind what I understood to be the reasons for the removal."
Entry D - in response to Specter:
Specter: Were you involved in the decision on the removal of Arkansas US Attorney Bud Cummings as Kyle Sampson testified?
Gonzales: Senator, I have no recollection about that, but I presume that is true.
Further nominations are, of course, more than welcome.
Entry B seems the most ridiculous, anyway.
Did you see Dana Milbank's column today? He titled it "Perhaps Gonzales won't remember his painful day of testimony."
About entry C: That must be what we now know as "known unknowns."
David Sarasohn, great columnist for The Oregonian, had an item today that called out some of the absurdity of the AG hearings. (http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/david_sarasohn/index.ssf?/base…)
My favorite bit was:
[Gonzales] "insisted that Carol Lam, in San Diego, should have known she had problems, although he didn't know that anyone from the Justice Department had actually told her. Still, he explained, she kept hearing complaints from congressmen -- including, presumably, the one she had convicted and the ones she was investigating."
UH/Manoa BA 1980, MLS 1981
Entry C, hands down. At least that's the one that takes first prize for sheer chutzpah. Duuh, guy, you fired them, and you can't even give them the dignity of remembering why?
I'd vote for B. Just priceless.
The comments I read today in the (paper (so no links, but the articles are probably on the respective websites?)) international press--mostly meaning The Guardian and The International Herald Tribune--were very strongly suggesting Gonzales came off so badly that it the only reason it's still conceivable he might stay is because Bush is nominally still in charge. One of them even made a comment to effect that (paraphrasing) "Only Senator Hatch (R., Utah) supported, maybe, Gonzales"...
And knowing how out-to-lunch Senator Hatch is, that's very telling...