05/25/2007 01:03 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Goodling Is Clueless -- Except When She's Not

Every scandal has its mystery woman, and Monica Goodling didn't disappoint as she emerged from hiding on Wednesday to testify before a House panel.

The former Justice Department aide's hand shook as she finally raised it to take the oath. According to a one-time colleague at Justice, David Margolis, Goodling has been holed up in her apartment weeping since the furor over the firing of U.S. attorneys broke out.

And who wouldn't be crying their eyes out? As much as the other infamous Monica is defined by a pizza and a thong, this one will be remembered for taking the Fifth Amendment, probably the best-known federal official to do so since Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North.

Goodling's voice cracked when she offered a view of herself that was contrary to the one in the newspapers.

"At heart, I'm a fairly quiet person,'' she told the House Judiciary Committee. "I try to do the right thing, and I try to treat people kindly along the way.'' She chose to attend"Christian universities'' over public ones because of their emphasis on "service.''

"Christian'' is the last word that comes to mind in describing Goodling's tenure at Justice under Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. She may have treated other right-wing partisans kindly along the way, but she didn't hesitate to treat others harshly, even if it meant violating federal law by taking "political considerations into account'' to freeze them out at Justice.

Read the whole column here.