Jamie Weinman of Macleans catches something I noticed myself in this brief blog post. That US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales choose to resign from office on the Monday when both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert went on a two week vacation.
Now, initially when I heard this I was just going to go with the old theory that politicians try to bury announcements like this at quiet times of the year. It’s the week before a long weekend, so yeah, Gonzales will announce he’s quitting now in the hopes that most Americans are too busy trying to enjoy the last few days of summer and not pay much attention to the scandal.
This is nothing new. Politicians of all stripes do this. Announce things they aren’t happy with right around holiday weekends or after 5 pm on a Friday. Those sorts of things. They believe, rightly or wrongly, that this minimizes impact. The fact that it coincides with Stewart and Colbert going on vacation was just coincidence as they each have about 10 weeks of vacation a year and tend to go around major holidays.
But the more I think about it, the more I don’t know about this one. Or previous ones, for that matter. For shows on cable with viewership only around two million each, Stewart and Colbert have a devastating cultural impact. Yes, the Republicans are beating their own path to hell (or electoral oblivion), but obviously Stewart and Colbert are doing some damage as well. And they have hammered Gonzalez in recent months (the video clip of Gonzalez saying “I don’t know”, “I can’t say”, etc about 70 times in a minute at a Senate hearing was especially crippling). I’m trying to recall a political figure other than the president and vice-president take a beating like that in recent years and nothing comes to mind.
So I could see the administration honestly not wanting to give Stewart and Colbert the pleasure of a coup de grace. Not that it’s going to matter that much in the long run. It’s not like either man is going to come back from vacation on September 10 and say nothing about Gonzalez. They’re still going to take a final whack at him and just prolong this mess.
Then again, prolonging messes seems to be something the Bush administration has really specialized in these last six years.