On the one hand, you could argue that Gonzales's pounding before the Senate Judiciary Committee, while unpleasant to watch, served two important positive functions from Bush's point of view:
First, of course, better that anyone face the consequences of Bush's policies than Bush himself, even if it means a long-time friend and loyalist must be hung out to dry while the nation watches. Painful, yes, but from that angle Bush still probably counts it as a win. (And of course, since he doesn't watch or read the news and gets his information about the outside world from tiptoeing loyalists inside the White House, it's entirely possible that Bush doesn’t yet know, may never know, that the AG took a six-hour pounding for the team.)
Second, whatever civics-class pageantry might have seemed to play out during the hearings, there's certainly a reasonable case to be made that, because Gonzales got flogged but nothing essential changed after it was over, the hearings will have no significant effect on Bush's continued anti-Constitutional plans to expand executive branch power at the expense of the legislative (and the judicial, when not otherwise useful). Such exercises would, by that calculus, simply be silly dog-and-pony shows that he must occasionally allow in order to keep unchecked power--not unlike a feudal monarch condescending to attend some rustic harvest celebration in the village before returning to the castle and continuing his plans of war, land, and treasure.
But, on the other hand, Bush did take something of a vigorous cuffing about the head and upper body last week when it came to satirical multimedia lists:
From Olbermann: Top 10 Bush administration excuses for being unable to produce important paperwork.
From the Daily Background: Top 15 most embarrassing photos of George W. Bush.
From Letterman: Top 10 favorite George W. Bush moments.
And yet . . . and yet . . . . One is reminded of Tom Lehrer's ironic musical comment on the Spanish Civil War: "Though he may have won all the battles, we had all the good songs!"
Biting video compilations are nice, don't get me wrong. And these are all pretty amusing, even if a little well-worn. And I wouldn't have the satirists lower their weapons for a moment in the days to come.
But do I think it's about time to see the subpoenas get sent to the White House, move this all to Federal Court, and get down to business. Shall we?