Personally, I am glad to hear about the resignation of Gonzales as AG. And here is why:
State Attorney Generals are appointed by incoming presidents at the beginning of their tenure (for the record, Reagan and Clinton appointed the same number of AGs in their first two years - 89. Bush II appointed 88). It is even customary for all state AGs to submit a letter of resignation to an incoming president.
However, note that the new people put into these positions must still be confirmed by the senate!! This is not something the president gets to do at will. What happened in the current debacle is that it appears the administration made deliberate efforts to circumvent this process of Senatorial review.
It is also interesting to note that there is no precedent for a President to dismiss several U.S attorneys at one time while in the middle period of the presidential term in office.
What happened in this most recent incident was both that these AGs were fired in the middle of the President's tenure (for the speculated reasons that they did not prosecute Democrats for suspected misconduct fast enough to be discredited before mid-term elections and that they were not willing to drop charges against Republican lawmakers under investigation) and that their replacements were hired by Gonzales to serve indefinitely and without Senate review as would normally be the case - see below.Kyle Sampson, Chief of Staff at the Department of Justice, noted in a January 9, 2006, e-mail to Harriet Miers: "In recent memory, during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations, Presidents Reagan and Clinton did not seek to remove and replace U.S. Attorneys they had appointed, but instead permitted such U.S. Attorneys to serve indefinitely under the holdover provision." (underlining original) ^ http://judiciary.house.gov/media/PDFS/OAG12-22-NEW-.pdf
Also tied up with this is some hidden legislation added to the Patriot Act 2 that allowed the Attorney General to appoint "interim" State AGs INDEFINITELY. They used to expire after 120 days to ensure that full-time AGs are reviewed and confirmed by the Senate, but this new Patriot Act language circumvents that process and allows the AG to appoint who they want without any checks and balances. This is facilitated by their mid-tenure firings.
This kind of situation opens the door for some pretty outrageous abuses in my mind - when the Attorney Generals of every state can be appointed not by the president with Senate approval, but the Federal AG with no oversight or process. Any vindictive, politically motivated crony could be put in there and really screw up a host of things, not the least of which is the integrity of the state and local election process.
This is why I am glad Alberto Gonzales has resigned.