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"Fredo" Gonzales?

As regular VC readers know, I'm a big fan of the Godfather movies and book (see here and here). So I was interested to learn from this post by Eric Muller that President Bush apparently calls Attorney General Alberto Gonzales "Fredo," after the hapless Fredo Corleone, son of the Don and elder brother of Michael. As Muller points out, Michael describes Fredo as having a "good heart" but also "weak, and . . . stupid." The implications for Gonzales are far from flattering.

UPDATE: Eric Muller points out that the post on Gonzales' nickname was actually written not by him, but by his guest-blogger "Shertaugh."

UPDATE #2: I am told by insiders that "Fredo" is short for "Alfredo" (the President's original nickname for Gonzales) and has no apparent connection to The Godfather.

Mr. Impressive (mail):
I think the last thing that Mr. Gonzales should worry about is whether Mr. Bush thinks he is "stupid." Mr. Bush doesn't have the right to think that about anyone.
7.26.2007 7:16pm
paul lukasiak (mail):
Nothing about Gonzo's obvious perjury about the visit to Ashcroft in the hospital?

Nothing about Gonzo's evasive answers on torture?

Nothing on Gonzo's refusal to acknowledge that the Constitution supercedes the authority of the President?

Instead, you wanna discuss a months old report about Bush calling Gonzales "Fredo"?

The word "avoidance" comes to mind....
7.26.2007 7:24pm
RL (mail):
Hmmm, that explanation for the nickname seems a little too smart. I'm willing to bet that Bush just mixed up the names Alfredo and Alberto.
7.26.2007 7:26pm
anonVCfan:
Once Dubya kisses AGAG, it's all over
7.26.2007 7:28pm
jack (mail):
Yeah, I think I'd skip the next "mountain biking trip."

"Sorry, Fredo, I can't go. Neither can Barbara or Jenna. But you and Rocco, go ahead."
7.26.2007 7:32pm
Ilya Somin:
Nothing about Gonzo's obvious perjury about the visit to Ashcroft in the hospital?

Nothing about Gonzo's evasive answers on torture?

Nothing on Gonzo's refusal to acknowledge that the Constitution supercedes the authority of the President?

Instead, you wanna discuss a months old report about Bush calling Gonzales "Fredo"?

The word "avoidance" comes to mind....


As I explained in great detail here, I don't post on public policy issues outside my areas of expertise, and I don't post just to repeat points that have already been made by numerous other people.
7.26.2007 7:32pm
Waldensian (mail):
I'm pretty sure I saw this previously linked to on VC, but just in case....
7.26.2007 7:38pm
scote (mail):

As I explained in great detail here, I don't post on public policy issues outside my areas of expertise, and I don't post just to repeat points that have already been made by numerous other people.

Uhm, the implication would then be that you are an expert on either nicknames or the Godfather movies. I suppose being well versed in the latter might count, but still you are posting about an issue with "public policy" implications where the only reason to think the Fredo nickname is of any significance is when it is contrasted with Gonzales performance and his probable perjurious testimony-- so you really can't claim to be above commenting on such since that is what you are doing implicitly.
7.26.2007 8:11pm
Eric Muller (www):
Ilya, that post was actually by my guest-blogger "shertaugh," who is quite an expert on all matters Godfather.
7.26.2007 9:03pm
Gaius Marius:
Gonzalez is an embarrassment to the GOP.
7.26.2007 9:08pm
Reg (mail):
If you don't like what somebody posts on their blog, go write your own blog. These whiny posts add nothing to the discussion and should be deleted.
7.26.2007 9:09pm
Gaius Marius:
Frankly, the GOP deserves a "time out" in the political wilderness for a few years given knuckleheads like Gonzalez and Senator Stevens and Rep Don Young (Bridge to Nowhere) and Rep Doolittle, etc.
7.26.2007 9:12pm
Ilya Somin:
Uhm, the implication would then be that you are an expert on either nicknames or the Godfather movies.

No, the implication is that this is a post that requires no expertise because it doesn't make a point about a substantive policy issue. However, I do in fact know a good deal about The Godfather (which is the reason for the post).
7.26.2007 9:18pm
scote (mail):

If you don't like what somebody posts on their blog, go write your own blog. These whiny posts add nothing to the discussion and should be deleted.

Yes, there really is more invigorating kind of discussion than the kind of blog you propose, one where only sycophantic comments are allowed and all dissent is quietly deleted during the night by surreptitious censor's using their little trotters on the keyboard.

On second thought, that would seem like a dumb idea for a discussion forum. Sounds more like a secretive and dissent-free dictatorship that Bush, Cheney and Fredo would support than anything desirable. What were you thinking?
7.26.2007 9:25pm
scote (mail):

No, the implication is that this is a post that requires no expertise because it doesn't make a point about a substantive policy issue. However, I do in fact know a good deal about The Godfather (which is the reason for the post).

While I understand you position, I think that any discussion of whether the USAG is, by implication, a subservient idiot ripe for sacrifice is a public policy issue of rather primary importance. You can certainly argue that the "Fredo" nickname angle isn't substantive, but you can't realistically argue that there are no public policy implications in Bush potentially considering Gonzales to be a stupid fall guy, or, for that matter, Bush possibly considering someone in his cabinet to be dumber than himself.

I never questioned your knowledge about the Godfather, I only posited what I considered the logical implication of your claim to only post on matters in which you are expert. You claim both expertise and exemption from the need to be expert based on your contention that this not a public policy issue, adding the conditional "substantial" post hoc. If you had used "substantial" earlier, I might have not have demurred, but you did not.
7.26.2007 9:36pm
markH (mail):

Gonzalez is an embarrassment to the GOP.


If he were an embarrasment to only the GOP, I wouldn't care.

He's an embarrasment to our country.
7.26.2007 9:39pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
Does the President even remember what happened to Fredo in Part II?
7.26.2007 9:53pm
Tillman Fan (mail):
I'm sure that it's annoying for the VC contributors to read comments that complain that certain topics are avoided. They are, of course, free to write about (or refrain from writing about) whatever they wish. But I don't know that it's right to get upset with commenters who raise questions about certain topics that aren't raised. As a reader of numerous blogs, it's fascinating to me that "liberal" blogs avoid certain topics that are discussed on conservative blogs, while "conservative" blogs avoid topics on which liberal blogs focus.

I think that the VC presents a pretty fair spectrum of libertarian/conservative opinion, but sometimes I wonder why there are no entries about some important legal issues, and I question whether the contributor's political viewpoint plays a role in the decision not to write an entry. It seems fair to me to ask that question of the contributor.
7.26.2007 10:24pm
badger (mail):
Edward,

I think the President may also be forgetting that Fredo betrays Michael, twice.
7.26.2007 10:27pm
Enoch:
If anything,

Neil = Sonny
George = Fredo
Jeb = Michael
7.26.2007 10:30pm
Guesty Guest:
Hey! He's still got a good heart. And that nickname beats Turd Blossom, hands down.
7.26.2007 10:43pm
Stormy Dragon (mail) (www):
Gonzales better not accept and fishing trip offers from Cheney!
7.26.2007 11:39pm
Ilya Somin:
I wonder why there are no entries about some important legal issues, and I question whether the contributor's political viewpoint plays a role in the decision not to write an entry. It seems fair to me to ask that question of the contributor.

The choice of topics on a political blog is inevitably influenced by the contributor's viewpoints. There is no mystery about that; it's not exactly an earthshattering revelation. I do, however, deny that my choice of topics is somehow influenced by a desire to in some way protect the Bush Administration. As I have noted before, I generally blog about issues within my area of expertise. On most of those issues (including federalism, property rights, and the growth of government), I have been very critical of the Bush Administration's record on the VC. I see no point, however, in raking over coals on which I have nothing original to say.
7.26.2007 11:41pm
ray:
Todays thread has some of the dumbest comments I've seen. So Bush and Gonzalez are stupid trolls. All the smart elites in Washington believe global warming is settled. Victory is declared by walking. 9/11 was a Republican conspiracy. Bill Clinton was so smart and smooth, never stumbled or mispronounced while he perjured himself and said all the right things that so impressed the plebes and maybe some of you. "Lady Killer" rapist Ted Bundy did about 30 women/girls and was so smooth and good looking. Nice looking guy. Disappointing.
7.27.2007 12:20am
Martin Ammorgan (mail):
Mr. Smolin, you no longer have anything original to say about having nothing original to say.
7.27.2007 12:57am
David Sucher (mail) (www):
I find it astonishing recklessness by Bush that he would
1. nickname Gonzales 'Fredo'
2. and let that be known to both Gonzales and to the general public.

Lest anyone forget, Fredo was not merely hapless but he was also dangerous: Fredo betrayed Michael.

•••

btw, wasn't this issue discussed here about 6 weeks ago?
7.27.2007 6:22am
GustavLauben:
A question for the Godfather expert:

Why does Vito Corleone send Luca Brazi (sp?) of all people to be a spy? Do you really want the biggest dumbest member of your crew to perform that particular function?

This has bothered me for years.
7.27.2007 9:31am
John Horowitz (mail) (www):
I buy RL's explanation, sorta.

I suspect Bush didn't give the name much thought; Fredo sounded good; no moniker based Alberto springs readily to mind.
7.27.2007 11:18am
OK lawyer (mail):
Why does Vito Corleone send Luca Brazi (sp?) of all people to be a spy? Do you really want the biggest dumbest member of your crew to perform that particular function?

While I am certainly no expert, my take on this would be that Vito knew Luca was loyal. He knew Luca would not be turned. If caught, Luca would keep his mouth shut. The book goes into more depth about the Luca-Vito relationship and how it was forged.

As to our AG Fredo, W surrounds himself with unqualified and incompetent people. In other news, water is wet.
7.27.2007 11:19am
paul lukasiak (mail):
I'm confused with EV's statement that he doesn't want to comment on these issues because they are outside of his area of expertise -- then says that "federalism" is one of his areas of expertise.

Yet Federalism -- a system designed around the "separation of powers" is at the very heart of the current controversies. Here you have a member of the presidents cabinet apparently lying to congress while it is pursuing its oversignt responsibilities. You have Senators asking for a special counsel to investigate the allegations of perjury. You have a president saying that he can order Federal prosecutors to NOT enforce a law that is written in a way that makes enforcement mandatory -- and a president that denies that the courts even have jurisdiction in the matter.

These issues would seem to me, at least, to be fascinationg to an expert on Federalism.
7.27.2007 11:56am
Tillman Fan (mail):
Professor Somin -- I wasn't actually suggesting that you avoided certain topics for political reasons. I didn't include that point in my earlier post because I didn't want to make it any longer than it already was. My comment was directed to the commenters who snap at those who raise what I think is, generally, a fair point to make about choice of topic for blog posts.
7.27.2007 12:03pm
Crust (mail):
Does anyone care to comment on whether it is appropriate to start impeachment hearings against Gonzales at this point?

I think pretty much everyone agrees that Gonzales should resign. And that he won't. Maybe the threat of impeachment hearings would prompt him to resign (or maybe not), but it's hard to imagine anything short of that doing the trick.

Among the Conspirators, I think Dale Carpenter said in a post a couple of months back that he opposed impeaching Gonzales at that time (though one of his arguments was that it might discourage Gonzales from resigning, a concern which as I say is inoperative at this point). And more recently in comments Orin Kerr said he opposed impeachment, but didn't elaborate as to why.

Personally, I think it's high time to impeach Gonzales. The case seems very strong on the merits (e.g. for perjury on the reason for his visit to Ashcroft's hospital room). And, practically speaking, I think Gonzales is hopeless as Attorney General and there is no other plausible way at this point to remove him.
7.27.2007 12:07pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Well, yeah, Crust, but what if he's the best available to Bush?

Just because he's a legal runt doesn't mean he wasn't the pick of the litter.
7.27.2007 1:33pm
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
Totally unfair nickname. No way Fredo would have had the stugots to put on the performance Gonzales did in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
7.27.2007 2:49pm
Crust (mail):
Harry Eagar:

Well, yeah, Crust, but what if he's the best available to Bush?
There's no question that Bush thinks Gonzales is the best available (from his point of view, anyway); otherwise, Gonzales would long since be gone. My question is more from the point of view of Congress: Should they impeach him? I'd be very interested to hear any arguments why they shouldn't.
7.27.2007 3:59pm
Keyes:
Somin says:

I am told by insiders that "Fredo" is short for "Alfredo" (the President's original nickname for Gonzales) and has no apparent connection to The Godfather.


Yes, indeed. And there's a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.
7.27.2007 5:34pm