John Ashcroft, guardian of the Constitution. Who knew?
Everyone seems blown away by the forthright testimony of former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, wherein he described yet more blatant, abhorrent behaviour on the part of Alberto Gonzales and White House chief of staff Andrew Card when they dashed over to John Ascroft's hospital bed in order to get the then Attorney General to reauthorize a continuance of the NSA wiretapping program, something Ashcroft's Justice Department had concluded they could not do.
The blown away part is not that the smirking Gonzales or the servile Card did this, but rather, it comes from hearing Comey testify with clear, precise answers -- complete with a full recollection of events. It is entirely jarring. Really, who is used to that after the hours and hours of vaguish testimony, dim recollections and countless utterances of "I don't recall," that have been emitted on the Hill since the Democrats gained the offices of congressional oversight? Frankly, watching Comey's testimony shocked me, complete as it was with the gobs of intelligible and unambiguous content. I'm still reeling.
Another salient point from the testimony: John Ashcroft appears to have been a man of at least some conscience about the law. He may have been a prude and an evangelical nutter, but at least he and his staff knew a major constitutional violation when they saw one. Leave it to this White House to make a guy like John Ashcroft look like a legal scholar and guardian of the Constitution and all while he was doped-up on pain medication and deathly ill. All it took was to put him up against the unctuous and simpering toady who became the Attorney General Bush and Cheney really wanted: Alberto Gonzales.