Where Will Fredo Pop Up Next?

Alberto Gonzales tried his hand as a pundit and spokesman for Latinos, and his detractors were waiting for a chance to pounce.
Alberto Gonzales tried his hand as a pundit and spokesman for Latinos, and his detractors were waiting for a chance to pounce. (By Melina Mara -- The Washington Post)
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By Al Kamen
Friday, July 4, 2008

First he popped up at Friday night's baseball game between the Nats and the O's. Next thing you know, he's in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday as an op-ed columnist.

So, is this the beginning of an Alberto R. Gonzales re-emergence in public, 10 months after he resigned from a somewhat-less-than-successful 2 1/2 -year tenure as attorney general? Is there a job announcement coming?

Aside from a temporary gig helping a special master oversee the settlement of a patent case in Texas, there's no word yet that Gonzales has landed a full-time job. (He may be just taking his time, and, to be sure, the job market is a bit tight these days.)

Gonzales also gave a little-noticed graduation speech May 30 at the Free Will Baptist School, a high school in St. Croix.

While the general assumption has been that "Fredo," as President Bush calls him, would go private in the legal sector, his Times op-ed, "What Latinos Want From Their President," looks to be an effort to establish his credentials as a political pundit and Latino spokesman. It analyzes Latino voting trends and views.

"Neither party can afford to take the Latino vote for granted," he admonishes. "I can't speak for all Latinos," he said modestly, but "both parties need to forge closer relationships with Latino voters."

Really not that bad a piece, but, judging from the tenor of the online comments he received, all is not forgiven for his efforts in the Bush administration. In fact, there seems to be a lot of anger out there on the Left Coast. Words like "criminal," "disgrace," "stooge" and such pop up all too frequently in the comments.

Well, he'll have the last laugh if and when that big law firm picks him up. Failing that, he could always try punditry.

O Brothel, Where Art Thou?

Folks in the Foreign Service were puzzled by a curious cable last month from Director General Harry K. Thomas Jr. styled as a "reminder to all employees and contractors . . . that irrespective of whether prostitution is legal in the host country, employees should not in any way abet sex trafficking or solicit people in prostitution."

Thomas warned that "employees who engage in this conduct are subject to discipline," ranging from "admonishment, reprimand, [or] suspension" to being kicked out of their jobs. Fighting human trafficking, he noted, has "become a central component of U.S. . . . foreign policy over the last several years," and the rules have long regarded "exploiting those engaged in prostitution" as "notoriously disgraceful conduct."

This applies to local folks employed at the embassy. Employees of "tenant agencies" at the embassy, such as Agriculture or Commerce or the Pentagon and their contractors, Thomas wrote, "are subject to their agency's policies and directives."

The cable naturally got the diplos wondering if some specific incident triggered the "reminder." Nothing uncovered so far, but still checking.

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