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Chuck Schumer and other liberals are calling for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign over his involvement in the proposed firing of eight U.S. attorneys. The United States attorney in a district of the federal justice system is a political appointee who serves at the pleasure of the president.

One day way back, Bill Clinton ordered Janet Reno to fire every United States attorney and she did — all 93 — and the country reacted with a huge yawn. But now Gonzales was to bump eight back to lucrative private practice and the Dems are coming unglued. Why?

No. 1, because it's a way to kick Bush around. They say they're upset that one of Gonzales' deputies who came to testify before Congress didn't know about the mass firing. But what this is really about is a provision of the Patriot Act they evidently never noticed which allows the attorney general to fire a U.S. attorney, hire another and avoid coming before the Senate for confirmation. Whose fault is that, Mr. and Mrs. Lawmaker?

Buckle up for a bumpy ride. There's going to be a lot more of this.

I was watching this and thinking, I know a few United States attorneys. They are political animals, appointed to make certain that if there is a political prosecution — like the one the Democrats just ran on Scooter Libby — the U.S. attorney handles the messiness responsibly.

Yeah, I know. The U.S. attorney didn't prosecute Libby. That's because the case stunk so bad there was no point stinking up the U.S. attorney. A special prosecutor took over.

So all that said, I watched Alberto Gonzales this afternoon hold a news conference and apologize for the mistakes he made. And then I really did get mad.

What's he doing apologizing? He might consider being sorry for not firing all U.S. attorneys as the president and his staff wanted in the first place.

Why did he drag his feet and say it was too disruptive? Doesn't he know that the president gets to fire these guys?

It was Gonzales who thought firing them all would be too much and he came up with a list of eight. That seems to be where the trouble began.

Blow them all away, no problem. Start picking and choosing and you get an army of critics wanting to know why this one and not that one?

If that is what Gonzales is apologizing for, fine. I'll accept it. If it's something else, I wish he'd just forget it and close the door to his office.

That's My Word.

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