Now that Alberto Gonzalez is gone, if the current occupant -- as Garrison Keiller calls George W. Bush -- wants to revive his lame-albatross presidency he should name Patrick Fitzgerald, the US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, as the nominee for attorney general.
And then the president should give Fitzgerald complete freedom.
Of course, we're not in Kansas anymore, and Illinois has a greater chance of getting hit with a category 4 hurricane.
Would there be a better way of restoring integrity, dignity and credibility to the nation's top prosecutor's office? After all, Gonzalez was the de facto Torquemada of our time, writing the infamous memo that gave cover to suspension of the Geneva convention, which led to Abu Gharib, overseas CIA prisons in undisclosed secret locations and Gitmo.
But I say none of this out of partisan disgust. Fitzgerald, championed by a Republican senator at the time, has proven to be non-partisan. Like most old-school prosecutors, he's looking for justice. While he was only able to convict Scooter Libby in the Valerie Plame affair (and only for lying for what he claimed not to know), there's no telling what he could do to restore faith in a fractured department of justice.
These days, Fitzgerald has had his hands full prosecuting alleged dons in Chicago, remnants of the Sam Giancana days when the outfit controlled rackets and spewed terror on every side of the city.
As attorney general, Fitzgerald could examine what went on to cause a massive credit crunch. Was there anything illegal in lenders granting mortgages to anyone with a modest collection of red blood cells? What about the billions that have been earmarked to rebuild the Gulf Coast? What about contractors gorging on taxpayer dollars in Iraq? Has anyone in the justice department even noticed anything amiss?
A nonpartisan prosecutor would once again befit the symbolic statue of a blindfolded woman with a balance in her hand. Up until now, it's been the American public that's been unable to see any form of justice emerge from its Washington headquarters. And those scales have been tipped in the wrong direction for far too long.