The resignation of Alberto Gonzales is sad, but could have been avoided if Gonzales had taken more of a "Clintonesque" approach with the U.S. Attorneys firing.
U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President and the Attorney General. There’s no reason why Gonzales needed to go through a long justification of their termination. The Clintons didn’t when they terminated all of them at the beginning of their term. The more Gonzales tried to justify the termination, the more he eroded the "at-will" nature of the position of U.S. Attorney, and the weaker his case looked. And, as any employer will tell you, the last thing you need to do is to erode at-will employment.
I’ve said before that blind legalism was an Ashcroft trait that held him in good stead as Attorney General. But that cuts both ways; if you have an advantage, it’s unwise to throw it away the way Gonzales did.