In the market for a used Attorney General?

Alberto Gonzales resigned in disgrace, but didn't expect to still be unemployed.


Steve Benen
April 14, 2008 7:56PM (UTC)

In general, there's nothing amusing about someone struggling to find a job. There are exceptions.

Alberto R. Gonzales, like many others recently unemployed, has discovered how difficult it can be to find a new job. Mr. Gonzales, the former attorney general, who was forced to resign last year, has been unable to interest law firms in adding his name to their roster, Washington lawyers and his associates said in recent interviews.

He has, through friends, put out inquiries, they said, and has not found any takers. What makes Mr. Gonzales's case extraordinary is that former attorneys general, the government's chief lawyer, are typically highly sought.

Well, sure they're "typically" sought after. Most law firms would love to have a former Attorney General on their roster. When a firm is approaching a potential client, and anxious to emphasize the prestige and influence of the firm, a partner takes pride in saying, "Yes, we even have a former Attorney General on staff." When that AG was rumored to have been considered for the Supreme Court, the cachet is even more impressive still.

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But that's the problem for ol' Fredo. Everyone knows him, everyone saw his performance as arguably the worst Attorney General in history, and everyone knows the disdain with which he regards the rule of law. He's not the guy you hire; he's the guy whose phone messages you ignore.

Paul Krugman notes that "wingnut welfare" is supposed to prevent this: "[L]oyalists are always assured of decent employment, no matter how badly they perform. Paul Wolfowitz may fail miserably, twice; but there’s a chair waiting for him at AEI. Rick Santorum may talk about man on dog, and lose in a landslide; but there’s a job waiting for him as head of the 'America’s Enemies' program at a movement conservative think tank."

And yet, Gonzales can't parlay his disgraceful performance as Attorney General into a job anywhere.

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Word has it that Gonzales attributes his trouble to a "tough job market." The economy's bad, but for the man who was, up until recently, the nation's chief law-enforcement officer, it's not supposed to be this bad.


Steve Benen

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