Friday, April 20, 2007

I Don't Recall the Title for This Alberto Gonzales Post

The White House was pleased with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and it's easy to see why. Instead of making up excuses for why the U.S. attorneys were fired, Gonzales looked the committee members in the eye and straightforwardly told them he just didn't remember what had happened--64 times. His honesty and forthrightness was reminiscent of Oliver North when he turned the tables on a congressional committee that was investigating him and came out the hero. I think Gonzales' brilliant performance probably saved his job.

I can't remember all the details of this complicated scandal, so who expects the Attorney General, who has a lot more important things on his mind, to remember them? Besides, if this scandal was as important as some Democrats want to believe, then you would think he would have remembered what happened. If he couldn't remember, then it must not have been that important.

Unfortunately, the liberal media just doesn't get it. We don't want our leaders to be superhuman. We want them to be the kind of people we could share a drink with. In the face of mean trick questions, even from members of his own party, Gonzales came off as a really nice guy, who, like a lot of drinking buddies, is a little fuzzy on the details of what happened the night before. I think this hearing will backfire and make people more sympathetic to Gonzales, just as the pop quiz a reporter administered to Bush during his first presidential campaign ended up him look good and the reporter look bad. Nobody likes "gotcha" questions and to see a smug journalist ambush Bush with such trivialities as "Who is the leader of Pakistan"--as if the President would even need to know something like that--just ended up humanizing Bush.

Ostensibly, Congress holds hearings in order to try to get information. If that was really the goal of the Gonzales hearing, they failed miserably. Who wouldn't get a little flustered and have trouble remembering things under a barrage of hostile questions? When Sen. Arlen Specter hounded Gonzales about his preparation, it just reminded people of teachers who have scolded us for doing badly on a test even after we crammed all night. We can all be a little forgetful sometimes. I think I would forget my own address if my wife didn't pin it to my clothes every morning.

And Gonzales isn't the only person in the Bush Administration who can't remember every little meeting he attended and every little conversation so it's pretty unfair to single him out. His assistant Kyle Sampson told the committee he didn't remember 122 times. Scooter Libby is being sent to prison just because he forgot what he told some journalists about Valerie Plame. And when GSA chief Lurita Doan couldn't remember some boring meeting about using her agency to target Democrats in the last election she got hounded for it.

In a recent column Howard Kurtz asked self-righteously, "Does everyone in the Bush administration have amnesia?" Well, maybe someone should ask Kurtz if he can remember what happened at an editorial meeting a few months ago. I bet he couldn't.

If it is true that the Administration is suffering from some sort of mass amnesia, as Kurtz implies, there may be perfectly plausible explanations. Amnesia can be brought on by traumatic events and certainly the last election was traumatic for many in the Bush Administration as well as their supporters. I don't think my memory has been working as well as it did before the election and I am sure that I am not alone. I don't think my memory has been working as well as it did before the election and I am sure that I am not alone. Sometimes I even have problems remembering what I have just said.

Memories can also be displaced by more important memories so it shouldn't be a surprise that people with important jobs get a little forgetful. For example, Dorita Loan couldn't remember some boring PowerPoint presentation she had to sit through, but she did remember that cookies were served. If the cookies were really good, then it is perfectly reasonable that the memory of them would displace the memory of a boring PowerPoint conversation. In the future the GSA might consider not serving really good cookies at presentations so this kind of thing doesn't happen again. Memories of food, however, can also have the opposite effect. Marcel Proust wrote seven books after his memories came flooding back when he dipped one Madeleine in some tea. If Congress was really interested in finding out the facts instead of setting up memory traps and making people look bad, they could have found out what cookies were served during the PowerPoint presentation and then served them at the hearing. This might have jarred her memory.

A blow to the head can also cause memory loss. Maybe someone has been going around the White House bonking people on the head. It's something that the Secret Service should really look into. Senator Grassley hit on another possible explanation that should be investigated: ""Why are there so many inconsistencies, is it something about the environment you work in?" But there is an even more frightening possibility. What if terrorists have developed some kind of amnesia weapon and launched it against the White House. Sure, it sounds farfetched but no more unlikely than the "gay bomb" the Pentagon once tried to develop.

The point is, instead of beating up Attorney General Alberto Whatshisname for not remembering a few conversations, maybe Congress should try to work with the White House to try to get to the bottom of this whole memory problem.

Did I mention that Howard Kurtz wrote a piece in TK (Washington Post or Washington Times? Remember to Google before posting) about members of the Bush Administration suffering from memory loss or something? Or maybe it was the guy who wrote that book about the thing. You know the one.

I had another point to make but it slipped my mind.

When I can't remember something sometimes I try to think of something else completely unrelated and then the memory comes back. Thank goodness Sanjaya has been booted off American Idol. I think we can all sleep a bit more soundly now. Did you see that ponyhawk he wore? What was that about?

I think I got sidetracked. Where was I? Oh right. Amnesia. A lot of it going around.

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Cernig said...


You are of course a genius, thank you for such a great post.

But I guy I met down the pub who used to work on helicopters - black ones - told me it was because of an insidious liberal ploy. The Clintonistas, as they left, made sure a certain Peter Gabriel track was looped on all the White House elevator musak boxes.

Regards, C

OutOfContext said...

Bang bang Karl Rove's silver hammer came down on his head,
Bang, bang Karl Rove's silver hammer made sure he'd forget.

Koranteng said...

I don't recall what I was going to comment about but I think it is plainly unfair for everyone to be just piling on with hatchet job after hatchet job about this administration ever since Brownie saved New Orleans from itself. And now the nation's top law enforcement officer is having to waste time he could be spending fighting evildoers handholding senators.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember why I came to this site. But, I seem to be carrying a link to The Tao of Gonzo, so I may as well leave it:

The Tao of Gonzo

splord said...

uhhmm, some dude said there were cookies here?

Stella by Starlight said...

"Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through."
~~Jonathan Swift

Anonymous said...

I was told there would be punch and pie!

I think.

James Higham said...

Seem to recall Tricky Dicky and Haldeman, not to mention "short 'n curlies' John also had these memory lapses. Maybe that's what smokin' gun tapes are for.

BadTux said...

I'm trying to remember what I was going to say but I just don't recall. Forgive me, it has been a long and busy day, and I just finished eating pizza. Pizza is good. Hold it, what was this post about again?

Oh yeah. Ginkgo biloba. Truckloads of it. Great for the memory, I understand, even though CNN reported back in 2002 that a study found it wasn't but what do those eggheads know anyhow? I'm sure they know something, but I just don't remember what...

-- Badtux the Poor Memory Penguin

Anonymous said...

Great post. I think. I can't really remember what it was about.

Anonymous said...


I am getting concerned that this site has been hacked by the same forces that infiltrated the Department of Justice. You all seem very absent-minded.

Look, anonymous has forgotten his own name!

jonathan said...

Unfortunately, the media is liberal. Instead of seeing the attorney general's testimony as one of honesty and frankness, the liberal news agencies will twist and turn his responses into an attempt to hide the truth and divert the consequences.

When was the last time you heard someone (other than Bush) support him, and then have that view published? Never. Because you only hear about that sort of thing on conservative media.

Things will continue to blow out of proportion, and Gonzales wil continue to be villified. I wouldn't be surprised if he DOES lose his job over this.

Unknown said...

Insightful post, Jon. Gay bomb? Now I understand that old disco song: "You dropped a bomb on me".

Grace Nearing said...

It is a little-circulated fact that Viagra can cause memory loss -- after all, when all that blood is being pumped, ahem, down there it's obviously not being pumped up to the brain. It's no wonder that the male members of the Boomer generation are increasingly fuzzy-headed.

However, I don't know what Lurita Doan's excuse is.

jurassicpork said...

You know, the thing about this post is that... uh... Oh, shit, now I've got it!

I wrote about this last night but I forgot what my blog's URL is. I'd do a Google search but I can't remember the name of my blog, either. CRS is a bitch, believe me.

Miss Cellania said...

Have you heard of the Thinking Blogger Awards? You have been tagged!

Doodle Bean said...

What a minute, Jon! Someone somewhere said Gonzales said, "I don't recall" 74 times in the hearing. guy in a photo says 56 and now you're saying 64 times.

What exactly is the right number? You know it's important because...

Hey, look! It's sunny outside! And things are looking up in Iraq as well!

Doodle Bean said...

What a minute, Jon!

Someone named Christy who was there or something said someone said Gonzales said, "I don't recall" 74 times in the hearing. Some guy in some photo I saw somewhere says 56 and now you're saying 64 times.

What exactly is the right number? You know it's important because...

Do you think Alec Baldwin is cute?

Anonymous said...

Rueful said, "It's no wonder that the male members of the Boomer generation are increasingly fuzzy-headed."

My memory must be failing. By my recollection most male members are not fuzzy at the head end.

I didn't say that.

Jaesoreal said...

Cernig- I laughed hard at your disclosure of what color helicopters the guy at the pub worked on! I remember everything I wanted to say and what this post was about! As a matter of fact, my memory is so good, I remember remembering what I forgot to post and I just did! Gonzales said "I don't recall remembering." He forgot he ever remembered! Hilarious!

Stella by Starlight said...

Great, out of context! Lingering in my mind is David Crosby's, "If Only I Could Remember My Name."

Jon, what a great writer you are.

Salmonellosis said...

Thank you, that was just an awesome post!!!

Dr. Raghunath K J said...

That is great to hear, thank you for reading!

The 2008 Weblog Awards