The Supreme Court changes the subject.

Today’s Chance of a Gonzales Departure: 83 percent
(Yesterday’s chance:  86.5 percent)

One way to wait out a blizzard of bad publicity: Hope that the world changes the subject. Alberto Gonzales may have the Supreme Court to thank for finally pushing him and his fired U.S. attorneys off the front pages after several weeks of relentless bad news.

The Supreme Court’s decisions yesterday, involving global warming and trials for the detainees at Guantanamo Bay (or the lack thereof), have given the AG at least a momentary reprieve. These stories also serve to remind Congress that while it’s important to fully investigate the details of the U.S. attorney purge, there’s a lot of other urgent oversight needed, over environmental regulation and those so-called trials down at Guantanamo.

We at the Death Watch remain puzzled by the AG’s tenacity. His testimony later this month—even if it jibes with his most recent interviews—can at best amount to an admission that he is one of the worst and most clueless managers in the history of government. Short of capturing and trying Osama Bin Laden on April 16, there isn’t much Gonzales could do in the coming weeks to restore his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him from skipping a family vacation in order to practice for his close-up.

Maybe the three of us go to the wrong parties, but a lot of folks keep asking us to explain what keeps the AG hanging on, long after it’s become clear what a liability he is for this administration. One possibility is that he’s just delusional. Another is that he has come to view the situation as a referendum on his honesty and integrity (as opposed to political effectiveness), and that this precludes him from backing down. Or maybe he truly believes it’s OK to heap the blame on his subordinates and live to see another day.

Other theories? Give us a holler at