Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Accepting responsibility" without actually accepting responsibility

Via Hilzoy, from the Washington Post transcript:

"QUESTION: How could your chief of staff be working closely with the president on which U.S. attorneys to be let go and you not know?
GONZALES: Well, again, as -- I accept responsibility for whatever happens here in this department. But I have 110,000 working in the department. Obviously, there are going to be decisions made that I'm not aware of all the time. All the decisions are delegated to people who are confirmed by the Senate, who are -- by statute, have been delegated authority to make decisions."

Um, Alberto? Yeah - we aren't talking about employee number 110,000 out of 110,000. We're talking your chief of staff here. Either you knew what he was up to, and are trying to cover your hide in order not to lose your job because of your (at best) questionable maneuvers, in which case you should lose your job; or, the man you rely on the most to help you in your decision making process was performing acts in your name while keeping you, his boss and the Attorney General of the United States, out of the loop, in which case your lack of awareness of what your most immediate subordinates and advisors are doing indicates complete incompetence, in which case you should lose your job.