Thomas Paine once wrote that in absolute governments, the King is law, and in free nations, the Law is king.

The fundamental problem is not that Alberto Gonzales lied, prevaricated, misrepresented or played Pinocchio when he falsely stated he was not involved in the decisions to fire the U.S. attorneys. Those actions were wrong and appropriate grounds for removal, but there is much, much worse.

Alberto Gonzales is a basically decent guy, a second-tier-quality lawyer elevated to great heights by blind obedience to the concept of absolute power and the unwise president who claims it for himself on matters that grossly violate the American notion of the rule of law.

Gonzales-ism is the problem, not Gonzales.

Gonzales-ism is applying the abuse of cronyism and power to the two jobs that must never be so abused: White House counsel and attorney general.
Gonzales-ism is the notion that the highest legal officer in the land is not the agent of the law, or the Constitution, or the people, but is the sycophant and agent of the Crown.

Gonzales should be removed; Gonzales-ism should be destroyed. It is the hallmark of the corruption of partisan conservatives that they supported policies and practices that every principled conservative should abhor in our democracy, as much as every principled liberal.

Applause to those Republican conservatives who have stood up for the right principles and shame to those who have allowed themselves to support abuses of power and law that violate cardinal notions of conservatism, progressivism and Americanism.

I have proposed that the next attorney general be former Republican Senator John Danforth, a five-star lawyer and a man of immense faith, integrity and stature on both sides of the aisle.

Senator Danforth is the kind of man who should always be attorney general; Alberto Gonzales is the kind of man who should never be the attorney general.

Congress should ask him, aggressively and thoroughly, why Gonzales opposes Secretary of Defense Gates and Secretary of State Rice when they fight to close Guantanamo, and he fights to keep it open. Why? What does he fear and what does he have to hide?

Congress should ask him, aggressively and thoroughly, why there has been a cover-up of higher-ups responsible for Abu Ghraib and what role he might have played in such a cover-up.

Congress should ask him whether there are executive orders or legal opinions or advice within the government that he has rendered in support of actions to torture that violate commonly accepted rules of domestic, military or international law.

Congress should ask him, aggressively and thoroughly, whether there are executive orders or legal opinions he has authored or joined that secretly seek to justify unilateral executive acts that violate American statutory or constitutional law on issues ranging from eavesdropping to domestic spying or any other matters.

Congress should ask him whether he believes that secret actions or public signing statements can justify overruling the entire realm of federal statutory law, and the entire United States Constitution.

And if the attorney general does not believe that all federal laws and all constitutional provisions, can be unilaterally violated, the Congress should ask the attorney general, aggressively, which laws the president is bound to faithfully execute, and which laws the president can unilaterally claim he is not bound to faithfully execute.

And when the attorney general offers his generic legal opinion on this matter, Congress should ask him, under oath, whether there are any secret actions that violate his interpretation of laws the president must faithfully execute.

My advice to the Congress is to prepare a lengthy and detailed list of such questions, to provide them to the attorney general and make them public in advance of the hearings.

My prediction, if they do this, is that he resigns before addressing these matters under oath, in which case Congress should pursue these matters aggressively and thoroughly, after his departure, and principled conservatives should put Americanism and conservatism ahead of Republicanism and join in restoration of the rule of law in America.

There are ample reasons for Alberto Gonzales to resign: that he mislead Congress; that he is incapable of leading the fight against terrorism because he is utterly immersed in his personal defense; that his senior staff is decimated and destroyed, which erodes the administration of justice; that his only defense against lying is gross negligence and incompetence, also grounds for removal.

These are ample grounds for removal, but not the real grounds.

Alberto Gonzales should be removed, and we can sincerely wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors; but Gonzales-ism must be destroyed and must never rear its head in our Republic, ever again.

In America nobody is above the law, and the principle of Gonzales-ism is that the White House counsel and the attorney general are just two more crony jobs given to weak and submissive sycophants who treat the King as his client, and treat the Constitution, the law and the people as petty cash to be bartered away because of the whims of the King.

In Gonzales-ism, the King is law; in America, the Law is king, and anyone who violates this notion that has defined America since 1776 is not fit to hold high office.