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August 27, 2007

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"an untested young Bush loyalist named Clay Johnson"

But isn't that the only test required by Bush? The Loyalty Test?

Experience, education, quality of character, all those factors are secondary to that loyalty factor.

Another member for Bush's "Heckuvajob Club."

Thanks Mimkatz -- Over at FDL, LHP has commented on how bad Chertoff would be, in a nustshell, he's brilliant and completely amoral. Fabulous. What an improvement.

I find it hard to believe that Bush would be willing to let Gonzo go without getting something very very important to him in return... I'm deeply worried about what he got out of this deal.

The guy worked for Frito Lay, maybe he was one of those drivers that goes in and fills the displays without crunching all the chips. That's a rare talent. And looks like he's got hisself an MBA, which is just what *I* was looking for to run DHS.
From the White House web site:
----
Clay Johnson is the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget. The Deputy Director for Management provides government-wide leadership to Executive Branch agencies to improve agency and program performance. Prior to this he was the Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel, responsible for the organization that identifies and recruits approximately 4000 senior officials, middle management personnel and part-time board and commission members.

From 1995 to 2000, Mr. Johnson worked with Governor George W. Bush in Austin, first as his Appointments Director, then as his Chief of Staff, and then as the Executive Director of the Bush-Cheney Transition.

Mr. Johnson has been the Chief Operating Officer for the Dallas Museum of Art and the President of the Horchow and Neiman Marcus Mail Order companies. He also has worked for Citicorp, Wilson Sporting Goods and Frito Lay.

He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and a Masters degree from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. In Austin, he helped create the Texas State History Museum, and was also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas Graduate School of Business. In Dallas, he served as President of the Board of Trustees for St. Marks School of Texas, and as a Board Member of Equitable Bankshares, Goodwill Industries of Dallas, and the Dallas Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization.

Here Here,

TO : P.J. White
comments TPMM Gonzales Replacement Talk Update
mon. 10:55
Speaks for me!

"drag out the proceedings as long as possible, perhaps even AFTER Dumbya leaves office. Then he couldn't pardon anyone......the desecration of the Constitution on their filthy hands."

Johnson is, in other words, unqualified for the job, but he's Shrub's good buddy and likely to be nominated anyway.

I hope Congress has figured out that Shrub doesn't appoint competence, he appoints personal loyalty.

No way Chertoff should be confirmed; he was an active participant in setting the torture policy.

via detainee lawyer CharleyCarp in comments at Obsidian Wings.

OK so I was being snotty...Sloan has a good rep and I've worked with a few MBA's that were very good. They were in the minority, but hey. I just wish we could get someone running DHS who has some experience with actual disasters and ensuring port security and such. Like a Coast Guard exec. Long ago when I was in the CG I worked for a couple of officers that knew what they were doing when it came to preparing for security and saving lives. They lived their mission. I guess with the Bush gang the ability to do the job is not the priority.

1. If cursed Congress won't impeach, at least use confirmation hearings to investigate.

2. No confirmation hearings without full compliance on all oversight subpoenas issued by House and Senate.

3. No confirmation of Chertoff, period. The reason is simple: Katrina. Use Chertoff's confirmation hearings as an indictment for Kartina.

Bush and Chertoff think they have dodged the bullet on Katrina. Congress! Don't let them get away with it.

Paul Clement is the acting AG. He has vocally supported broad executive wartime powers.

TX Senator John Cornyn was on Fox News and said it is a sad day -- that Gonzales is a good man and was "hounded."

Cornyn is in trouble at home and up for reelection next year. Don't scratch him off the list of possible replacements. It would just be one more irresponsible move by the president.

In the meantime, please, please, please -- get a pro forma session of Congress going to prevent a recess appointment!

In light of Chertoff being floated; I would like to you Marcie, if you have looked at the postings of "Anonymous" through out the lefty blogosphere?

www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389x1669387

Here is a primer:

It will take a while, if you haven't seen these posts all together.

"get a pro forma session of Congress going to prevent a recess appointment!'

The resignation won't be in effect until Sept. 18, at which point Congress will be in session. Bush can keep Clement as acting AG for over 200 (217?) days, however, and I can't think of anyone worse except perhaps Ann Coulter. He will probably simply let Clement sit and then railroad a loyal Bushie through during the next recess or something.

Think Progress has a retrospective on calls for Chertoff's resignation following Katrina. I can't believe they chose the 2-year anniversary to float him for AG, although it makes sense from their perspective since he is a "made man" as far as the most despicable policies of the Bush/Cheney regime go.

I think if it is Chertoff, they will send him up for confirmation and not think recess unless it is Christmas and he's still not cofirmed. Clement can be acting for months, although one then has to ask who is going to do all the Supreme Court arguments this fall. Maybe they think everything is in the bag already.

Chertoff's department cannot account for over 40% of its budget. Something like $22 billion. All from FEMA. Money that was to go to Katrina victims. I really do not see why he would want to subject himself to a confirmation hearing. The cryptkeeper is a bad man.

Hmmm, Chimpy's hissy fit presser has got me to wondering... What if Leahy did have a meeting at the WH and tried to cut a deal, but no dice? What if Bush really did "grudgingly accept Gonzales' resignation"?

IIRC, there were rumors that Libby's wife had threatened to go straight to Fitz and tell all if her hubby spent one day in jail, possibly prompting the commutation.

I similarly recall rumors that Mrs. Gonzales was none too pleased about her hubby being hung out to dry. What if she gave him an ultimatum to let Bush fend for himself? What if, with Rove gone, Gonzo was all alone in the gunsights and she had had enough?

Admittedly this is all wild arse speculation. But if a deal had been cut, then I am puzzled why Chimpy was in such a fit of temper. Perhaps things are not going the way he wants afterall...

I still think it will be Chertoff, but not in the first round. Bush will put up some very nice, squeaky-clean but unqualified chump, in order to force the Dems to air all their grievances against Gonzales and Bush against some relative "innocent". After s/he's all bloodied, s/he'll withdraw or the right will pull a new Mier's style coup, forcing the nominee out. Then Bush either appoints Chertoff as a recess, or puts him in front of Judiciary, but all the Gonzales dirt is all ready out, and the media won't feel like recycling it all over again. Chertoff has already been confirmed twice by the Senate (more than that, if you include under the Clinton Administration when he was a USA.) And frankly, most Americans don't give a *&^&% about Katrina, disgusting though that is.

Bush needs more than just an "acting", I think. Too many things require a Senate confirmed AG, if I recall properly.

JesselynR has some insights at the community gathering today, about the leadership at the time she was part of the ethics oversight section at DoJ contemporaneous with now ostensible AG-replacement Chertoff, before she was purged for trying to be a whistleblower, that is. I appreciate Nell's timely link thru to the superb CharlieCarp's Nation article which provides appropriate counterpoint to JRadack's ethicist revelations regarding Chertoff's responsibility for the scapegoating of the first important tortured prisoner, and the silencing of that detainee through a court bargaining process in support of the then cutting-edge Rove Cheney strategy to depict due process in the US as comforting the enemy, the latter excerpt from the Constitution. It helps to read the two foregoing linked articles when doing a retrospect of the timing of announcements, two weeks between, of the departure plans of Rove, then Gonzales. The tale of TX politics in this white-house also was neatly captured by reflections in two formerly easily available articles on the web, one evidently still is available but behind the LegalTimes paywall, and the other, predictably from DiFi, who is involved currently in guiding Gonzales replacement selection. DiFi published a short statement at the time of the tussles over appellate judiciary nominations, which kind of set the tone of Bush Rove Cheney hostility toward congress; her remarks available on a webcrawler archive there provide a kind but ironic, picture of Gonzales as a politico who is also humanitarian, in his recorded remarks about the excessive zeal exhibited by one of Bush Rove's classic nominees in 2005, the famously coined Gonzales putdown of a decision by a judge while still in TX as "an unconscionable act of judicial activism." Nicely Rovian, that; grasping the essence of the Bush approach and branding the opposition with the very flaw which vitiates Bush's own polity.

But if a deal had been cut, then I am puzzled why Chimpy was in such a fit of temper. Perhaps things are not going the way he wants afterall...
Posted by: phred | August 27, 2007 at 12:46

Gonzo was willing to take the heat and Bush liked having him there to do it. Yes, something changed that it is forcing Bush to make decisions between undesirable alternatives.

James Comey for Attorney General.


what changed,

i would guess,

is that leahy and specter told bush and his defense (team) that gonzales had to go,

and they read them chapter and verse.

that would be the explanation for bush's "gonzo was brought down by politics" comment this morning.


mimiK,

excellent reporting.

thanks

and i can't resist teasing e'wheel by asking if she plans to submit her first post-vacation post at 12:01 am tuesday

(the letter but not the spirit, etc. :).

Bush was clearly petulant and, as others have pointed out, he was not there with Gonzo as he was with Rove. Gonzo was clearly pushed, but not by Bush, it would seem.

Given Bush's penchant for doing the opposite of what everyone is pushing him to do, I'd suggest that at this point any pressure is best applied to the Senators not to abrogate their responsibility in the face of calls for "comity" from the Broders and Liebermen.

the think progress article notes that clay johnson went to andover and yale with bush.

From Larry Johnson Clay Johnson is a hatchet man from way back. This is what Johnson wrote in 2005.

"Buried deep in the reams of the new budget is a “sunset” provision that will permit a small commission — it will be a commission comprised of lobbyists and corporate executives — to kill the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, even the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The arch-assassin is Bush’s longtime friend Clay Johnson, “the most influential member of Bush’s inner circle whom you’ve never heard of,” and the Director of the obscure Office of Management and Budget.

[…]

Clay Johnson is an old hand at seizing power from bureaucratic government entities:

When Bush was elected governor of Texas in 1994, he put the buddy he calls “Big Man” — Johnson is six feet four — in charge of all state appointments. Johnson, a former executive at Neiman Marcus and Frito-Lay, refers to Americans as “customers” and is partial to Chamber of Commerce bromides such as “We’re in the results business.”

He is also partial to giving corporate lobbyists a direct role in gutting regulatory protections.

One of his first acts in Texas was to remove all three members of the state environmental-protection commission and replace them with a former Monsanto executive, an official with the Texas Beef Council and a lawyer for the oil industry.

Overnight, a commission widely respected for its impartiality became a “revolving door between the industry lobby and government,” says Jim Marston, the senior attorney in Texas for the nonprofit organization Environmental Defense.

[NOTE: The photo and pullquote are from the PBS Frontline profile of Clay Johnson.]"


From Larry Johnson Clay Johnson is a hatchet man from way back. This is what Johnson wrote in 2005.

"Buried deep in the reams of the new budget is a “sunset” provision that will permit a small commission — it will be a commission comprised of lobbyists and corporate executives — to kill the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, even the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The arch-assassin is Bush’s longtime friend Clay Johnson, “the most influential member of Bush’s inner circle whom you’ve never heard of,” and the Director of the obscure Office of Management and Budget.

[…]

Clay Johnson is an old hand at seizing power from bureaucratic government entities:

When Bush was elected governor of Texas in 1994, he put the buddy he calls “Big Man” — Johnson is six feet four — in charge of all state appointments. Johnson, a former executive at Neiman Marcus and Frito-Lay, refers to Americans as “customers” and is partial to Chamber of Commerce bromides such as “We’re in the results business.”

He is also partial to giving corporate lobbyists a direct role in gutting regulatory protections.

One of his first acts in Texas was to remove all three members of the state environmental-protection commission and replace them with a former Monsanto executive, an official with the Texas Beef Council and a lawyer for the oil industry.

Overnight, a commission widely respected for its impartiality became a “revolving door between the industry lobby and government,” says Jim Marston, the senior attorney in Texas for the nonprofit organization Environmental Defense.

[NOTE: The photo and pullquote are from the PBS Frontline profile of Clay Johnson.]"


In the meantime, please, please, please -- get a pro forma session of Congress going to prevent a recess appointment!

I have called the Speakers office and e-maild them...on to the Senate.

I have a feeling that it was Fred Fielding doing the hatchet job for the White House and that may be why Junior is feeling so pissy. I'm also going to stand by my earlier prediction that some of those emails and documents may be forthcoming from the White House courtesy of Fielding and they may implicate both Rove and Gonzalez which may be why both had to resign.

Doesn't the Attorney General designate and approve who gets bugged under FISA? If there is no Attorney General to approve the taps will no one be tapped?

I think that some one, Democratic, made a deal to pass that FISA for some administration fish. Of course, Bush wasn't in on the deal, so it was Cheney.

Why else would Gonzalez go now and the Democrats pass that FISA mess?

Would Comey serve if nominated? He's obviously not Bush's first choice.

Would Comey serve if nominated? He's obviously not Bush's first choice.
Posted by: MikeR | August 27, 2007 at 15:22

You are right: he is not Bush's first choice because he'd put the law above politics. Rather, I'd say he might be Bush's last choice.

I posted the comment to make a point. Comey is the kind of person who would have the full support of the American people.

Instead, Bush will nominate, and the Democratic lead Senate will approve, a Bush loyalists whose credentials not only make them an insufficiently experienced candidate for the position but whose values place loyalty above the rule of law which makes them an expressly bad choice.


There's a lot of discussion this morning about the deal Harry Reid made with Bush a few weeks ago to prohibit recess appointments during the summer recess. Jonathan Singer weighs in on it here: http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/8/27/125139/390

Gonzales is still in office until Sept 17. By then Congress will be in session. The office has to be vacant for a recess appointment, IIRC.

There isn't going to be a recess appointment, at least not until they try to get someone through the Senate. If that doesn't owrk, then maybe later, but the next recess isn't until the winter holidays. Worry about the confirmation process, not a recess appointment.

My point was similar, but I'm serious about the possibility.

Bush knows he won't get a Gonzo clone. The Democrats can't allow it. Comey has already served in the office, albeit acting for Ashcroft. His confirmation is as assured as any such nomination could be. Chertoff wouldn't be moved, so neither would Johnson. This makes Comey a very desirable nominee for the Democrats. My first question is, could Bush be convinced to nominate him? He has the bona fide credentials, he's Republican, Bush would look presidential in making such a nomination, which should make him an attractive candidate for the Republicans. Comey doesn't fit the loyalist requirement, another plus for both Dems and Repubs.

My 2nd question is, could Comey in good conscience accept such a nomination? He'd have to clean up after Gonzo. He'd have to sit at the table with Bush/Cheney et al on a regular basis.

Mimi - I agree with that analysis completely. I don't think that there will be a recess appointment at this time; however, if they wanted to do it, all they would have to do is have Gonzales issue a one sentence press release saying he has reconsidered and is making his resignation effective immediately. Again, for a variety of reasons, I don't think that is what is going on, or is going to happen. A recess appointment during Thanksgiving is a possibility if things don't go otherwise go well for the Bushistas in the time between now and then.

For all of you speculating about Comey; give it up. Ain't happening. Don't even waste your time or breath. Although he might pass confirmation, the last thing in the world Cheney and Bush want is to have Comey in the chair under oath testifying about what he knows about the DOJ. The odds of this are not even 1 in a 100.

Rumor: Chain Gang is next/within 3 weeks.

FWIW

Sen. Chuck Schumer is a dope. He's on Hardball saying he thinks the President 'came to his senses' and wants a functionng DoJ. Maybe this is some kind of political gambit but if it is it's a losing gambit. The President is 100% about sticking it to Congress, always and forever. Schumer is fundamentally misreading things if he thinks this is about ANYTHING other than CYA for the White House.

My 2nd question is, could Comey in good conscience accept such a nomination? He'd have to clean up after Gonzo. He'd have to sit at the table with Bush/Cheney et al on a regular basis.
Posted by: MikeR | August 27, 2007 at 16:23

Yes, beside the fact he would NEVER be nominated, their might be a little bit of a problem regarding Comey's respect for how BushCo operates, and the way he was treated. In addition, I suspect he would accept only if he had some guarantees from Bush and Fielding that he'd be given full authority to address the problems.

bmaz makes the point, it's off the table. Mimikatz makes the other point, "Worry about the confirmation process"

chaingang?

Fran Townsend for AG.

Could be worse.

Phil, I don't know how you figure that. Townsend is just like Chertoff; she is a dyed in the wool Bushie hack, she is every bit as loyal, crooked and corrupt as Gonzales and she is a lot smarter. Either Chertoff or Townsend is like Gonzales on steroids.

For anyone's amusement (or bemusement), here's my temporary take on it, partly courtesy of Richard "Permament Republican Majority" Viguerie in an opus I like to call, "Your Turn, Dick."

Has anyone else noticed something about the date that Gonzo's resignation takes effect? Sept. 17 happens to be the beginning of Constitution Week! How ironic.

Bob in HI

How about considering one of the civil/voting rights division lawyers who resigned in disgust of the Gonzo/Rove influence?
One thing is perfectly crucial--returning the honor and cleanliness to that division in anticipation of the inevitable gaming and deceit from the neocons getting ready to steal the '08 election.

chaingang?= Darth

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