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Most attorney generals promote their president's agenda, not the public's. We can expect the same from Alberto Gonzales. George W. Bush was Gonzales's mentor in Texas and now in Washington, D.C. He was asked at his Senate confirmation hearing if he could distinguish between representing George W. Bush and his new role as a representative of all Americans. He answered that he could, of course.

There is, however, a different wrinkle from previous attorney generals with Gonzales, and that is his efforts to pull legal tricks so that the Bush administration could allow torture to take place without Bush and others becoming criminally liable. His willingness to use tricks in this area shows a shallowness of spirit and philosophy. Gonazales embraced the torture-Geneva-Convention issues like a big-firm lawyer trying to get his client corporation around some regulations, not like an intelligent person dealing with fundamental human rights issues.