Going, Going Goniffs: Wolfowitz, Gonzales Get Fragged



Two stalwarts of the Bush regime — Paul Wolfowitz and Alberto Gonzales — are simultaneously facing imminent extinction, but not because of the usual jabbering of their opponents. It’s because they’ve finally, unalterably pissed off people who were once on their own side.

I’m trying to be fair about this. With the button above, courtesy of a Bush Beat foreign correspondent halfway across the globe, you can make up your own mind what to do with Wolfowitz, Gonzales, and the rest of the Bush regime.

Wolfowitz’s two-year reign at the World Bank (at which U.S.-appointed post he has still been a full-fledged member of the Bush regime) is more in danger than Gonzo’s job as A.G. A special panel of the planet’s most powerful bank is discussing Wolfie’s fate today, and it doesn’t look good after all the revelations of nepotism and coverups and fibs. After all, Graeme Wheeler, promoted to the bank’s No. 2 spot, managing director, by Wolfowitz himself, “urged the World Bank president to resign,” says the Financial Times, and Wheeler made that call “in front of all of the bank’s top officials at their regular weekly meeting.”

I broke the story in September 2005 that Wolfie had shipped his gal pal, Shaha Ali Riza, to the State Department to work with Dick Cheney‘s daughter Liz. But I didn’t have even a tenth of the story.

Earlier this year, the Washington Post, Inter Press Service, and Government Accountability Project started unfolding the details of that unsavory deal and other hinky nepotism, including stories about ex-regime factotums Kevin Kellems and Robin Cleveland, both now at the bank, and caught Wolfie in some lies. He says he asked for “recusal” from professional contact with bank employee Riza? We refusal to believe him, and there’s evidence to back up us, not him.

Finally, even some of Wolfie’s allies have turned against him. See the Bank Information Center’s “Who’s Saying What” for a brief rundown on that rundown, plus names and negativism.

Too bad for Wolfie, but the British are not coming, the British are not coming. The U.K.’s development secretary, Hilary Benn, says Wolfie has “damaged the bank.” That’s a helluva way for a member of the Coalition of the Willing to talk.

Even U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson has been muted, to say the least, in Wolfie’s defense. The Times (U.K.) recently noted that Paulson’s support of Wolfie was “only tepid.”

Paulson doesn’t want to lose his own credibility in international financial circles. And the same thing is happening to Gonzales in the Senate, where many hands are abandoning ship. Republican senators can’t afford much longer to blindly back Gonzales.

The Washington Post, for instance, splashed a front-page piece this morning about the beating the attorney general took yesterday. As Dan Eggen and Paul Kane wrote:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales came under withering attack from members of his own party yesterday over the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys, facing the first resignation demand from a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and doubts from others about his candor and his ability to lead the Justice Department.

I mean, for God‘s sakes, Oklahoma lowercase-yahoo senator Tom Coburn has deserted Gonzales, saying:

“I believe there’s consequences for mistakes. . . . And I believe the best way to put this behind us is your resignation.”

It was the GOP senators, not the Democrats, who seemed most outraged by Gonzales’s apparent fibs. More from the Post:

While the panel’s Democrats focused primarily on the alleged rationale for the firings, many of the Republicans concentrated on Gonzales’s declared lack of involvement and inability to remember significant details. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a former U.S. attorney, seemed stunned when Gonzales said he could not recall a crucial Nov. 27 meeting at which a final plan for carrying out the firings was discussed.

“I’m concerned about your recollection, really, because it’s not that long ago,” Sessions said. “It was an important issue. And that’s troubling to me, I’ve got to tell you.”

We might even know by the end of the day whether one or both of these goniffs Gonzales and Wolfowitz is truly gone. If you’re so inclined, keep clicking that button. Maybe it’s hooked up to something.