Robert D. Novak
I first met Gonzales in 2001 when, along with other conservative journalists, I went to the White House for a background briefing by presidential counsel Gonzales on the new president's judicial nominations. I was stunned by the incoherence of the briefer. When I checked with several Republican senators, I received the same verdict. Their judgment was that Gonzales was not qualified to hold a senior governmental position.
Gonzales's handling of the crisis over the firing of U.S. attorneys set new standards for incompetence. In the midst of the furor, he agreed to address the National Press Club on May 15 (insisting on breakfast instead of the usual lunch). It was by chance the 44th anniversary of this column, and I concluded that in all those years I had never seen anything like it.
Novak, the legendary journalistic "prince of darkness", is pretty much a jerk (and a hack, and a partisan flack)in my (long time) estimation. His judgment and sense of public duty are pretty well summed up by a simple juxtaposition: he chose to out Valerie Plame as a CIA analyst to punish Joe Wilson for (and deter others from) challenging the phony Bush-Cheney case for war, while withholding this (apparently widely shared) recognition of Gonzales' incompetence, until it could do no good. Thanks a lot, Bob.
Maybe W will award him a Medal of Freedom for his mis-spent career.