The Plank

"i'm Smart! And I Want Respect!"

By and

The most fun detail in the Washington Post's series about Dick Cheney is that President Bush calls Alberto Gonzales "Fredo." One might wonder why he appointed as Attorney general someone he regards as a hapless ne'er do well. One theory is that we wanted a doormat.

But here's another theory. Until 1994, George W. Bush was anything but a success. Through his family connections he had been given backing for a series of business ventures, all of which failed. His one skill seemed to be glad-handing, and so this was put to use as "owner" -- he actually put up just a token sum of money -- for the Texas Rangers, where he slapped backs and chatted up fans. His younger brother, Jeb, was considered the family's bright light and the son most likely to run for the presidency.

In other words, until 1994 (when Jeb lost a race for Governor and George W. won), George W. Bush was Fredo. No wonder he's so sympathetic to Gonzales.

--Jonathan Chait

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