dunce.jpgEver since Tommy Franks called Doug Feith "The stupidest fucking guy on the planet," an endless stream of Republican challengers have been vying to claim that mantle for themselves.  Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, if not the clear-cut winner, should at least be considered a very strong finalist for the honor.  Bad enough that he didn't even try to make the politicization of the DOJ look good; bad enough that he didn't even try to lie to Congress convincingly, managing to piss off all but the most loyal Bushies on the Senate Judiciary Committee.  But he doesn't even learn from his  mistakes:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday he relied heavily on his deputy to oversee the firings of U.S. attorneys, appearing to distance himself from his departing second-in-command.

Gonzales' comments came the day after Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty said he would step down by the end of summer, a decision that people familiar with his plans said was hastened by the controversy over last year's firings of eight prosecutors.

"At the end of the day, the recommendations reflected the views of the deputy attorney general. He signed off on the names," Gonzales told reporters….

"The one person I would care about would be the views of the deputy attorney general, because the deputy attorney general is the direct supervisor of the United States attorneys," Gonzales said.

See, the problem with trashing someone on their way out the door is that you make it a lot harder for them to be a good soldier and keep their mouth shut.  Not only does it amplify the bad blood, but it practically forces the trashee to speak out just to defend their own reputation.  Gonzo's DOJ disparaged and threatened the fired US Attorneys, and as a result, some of them felt compelled to defend themselves, making an ugly situation even uglier.  And now Gonzo has just repeated that mistake with McNulty, who is far more knowledgeable about how the firings went down than any of the USAs were.  Indeed, I suspect that this might stimulate McNulty to dig a little deeper into his memories of where the names on the firing list came from, since he'll be wanting to prove his own non-responsibility a little more definitively.  Brilliant.

Look, I know that being a Bush Republican means that you can't admit error in any meaningful way; I get that.  But to give someone an incentive to talk at the same time their primary constraint goes away?  Twice???  Why not just thank them for their service and mouth some sweet nothings about how much you'll miss them?  How hard can that be?

Of course, McNulty's not actually out the door yet, and there's no guarantee that he'll talk – I'm just saying that Gonzo has given him every reason to.

Completely Unrelated Programming Note: Frontline is airing a report on the Bush Administration's domestic spying activities, right about… now.