Debra J. Saunders

Besides, as GOP strategist Ken Khachigian, who served in the Nixon and Reagan administrations, explained, "Alberto Gonzales was hardly the big casino" when it comes to issues that affect Americans in everyday life. With the country at war, Gonzales' plight was mainly of interest to political insiders. (Note the recent Gallup poll that found the approval rating of Congress among Americans had sunk to 18 percent -- by comparison, the Bush 32 percent approval rating looks stellar.)

What next? Khachigian does not expect the congressional hearings and investigations to abate. "They won't stop," Khachigian noted. "He'll be called in for more hearings. They've got their teeth in his neck now, and they'll keep shaking him until he's a limp rag."

Feinstein told reporters that the head of steam may have gone out of the investigation, but also, "I think we have to get to the roots of it because I think we have to prevent this from ever happening again."

Now Bush has to name a successor who can withstand Senate scrutiny -- which will be elevated with four Democratic senators, and one Republican senator, running for the White House.

Normally, the easy route would be to nominate a Republican senator -- as senators tend to gush when one of their own, regardless of party, is named to a Cabinet post.

But with the news that Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in an airport men's bathroom (not to mention the escort service-client Sen. David Vitter, R-La.), Bush would have to think twice. Suddenly it is too clear why Dubya values loyalty and prefers to name people he knows to Cabinet posts.

Debra J. Saunders

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