It doesn’t seem as though they can.
This story seems to have gone into a little bit of a stall this week, with the best that the WaPo crew of Eggen and Kane can come up with today is a cheap shot dig at Gonzalez about “spending hours practicing testimony … seriously as if it were a confirmation proceeding for a Supreme Court or a Cabinet appointment.”
Now the second part of that quote, the part following those ellipses (yes, they can be a dangerous thing) is actually attributed to “Gonzalez and his aides” — “according to administration officials.” There article is here.
When an A01 story has to go for that cheap shot in the second paragraph, you know the pickings from which to choose were pretty slim.
And it also seems a little snarky to criticize Gonzalez now for doing the one thing that he and everyone around him failed to do and which led them to stumble into the mess in the first place – gaining an understanding of all the facts before beginning to answer questions in the first instance.
And Ruben Navarette comes to Gonzalez’s defense in a column today, pointing out that the Gonzalez critics — on both the left and the right — can’t seem to settle on a narrative about what it is he has done wrong. Navarette
And yet Gonzales’ critics on both the left and the right are in no position to lecture him on communicating clearly. They haven’t been able to settle on one narrative of what he supposedly did wrong since this thing started. First, they said that Gonzales didn’t understand the difference between being the president’s lawyer and being the people’s lawyer. Then, they said he had led a political purge. Then, they claimed that Gonzales lied to Congress when he testified on Jan. 18. Then, they said he lied to the media at a news conference in March 13. Then, they said he had shown poor leadership. Then, they said he mishandled the whole thing. And finally, the conservative National Review said last week, Gonzales had lost his effectiveness and should resign because the Justice Department needed a fresh start.
So, Gonzalez is criticized for being unprepared and providing misleading answers, and now he’s sniped at for taking his preparation seriously. I wouldn’t blame him for doing a “Johnny Paycheck” on the Senators on his way out of the committee room on April 17.
(Google it if it doesn’t make sense.)