2007/04/01

Distressing editorial

I find it very distressing that the Philadelphia Inquirer, usually a good paper, would see fit to publish such an awful "Move along, nothing to see here" piece on the recent firings of US Attorneys. The author, Jonathan Last, does his best to make the firings appear to be much ado about nothing. They aren't. Probably the most revealing quote on the firings yet uncovered is by a Washington Post reporter who covered the story of John McKay of Washington State. McKay had refused to bring vote fraud charges "...that could have undermined a Democratic victory in a closely fought gubernatorial race." Harriet "Miers accused him of having 'mishandled' the voter fraud inquiry." But in the really revealing twist, note that anger with McKay wasn't just felt by the top people in Washington DC, but that his "standing among party loyalists" also suffered.

The US Attorney firings were a Republican-Party-wide problem. It wasn't just Miers. It wasn't just the people at the top of the ladder. Republican Party loyalists wanted the Democratic gubernatorial candidate to be taken down and utilizing the system of courts to do so was fine by them. They were perfectly happy to act as a lawless banana republic if it meant taking out the Democrats from competition.

A 35-year veteran of the Justice Department fills in more details:

"Regardless of the administration, the political appointees had respect for the experience and judgment of longtime civil servants.

"Under the Bush administration, however, all that changed. Over the last six years, this Justice Department has ignored the advice of its staff and skewed aspects of law enforcement in ways that clearly were intended to influence the outcome of elections."

Mother Jones goes into the White House use of the gwb43.com and rnchq.org email addresses. Use of these addresses brings up the old conservative reply to signs of government surveillance: "What have you got to hide?" The White House was bypassing its usual secure system and using one that was apparently designed to bypass the email archiving requirements that had been instituted.

"While some White House officials may legitimately be using RNC-issued laptops and BlackBerrys to conduct party business, it's clear that others are taking pains to use alternate email accounts simply to keep their communications from becoming public record."

The San Diego Union Tribune takes careful note of the districts that the fired US Attorneys were from:

"Arkansas, site of Hillary Clinton's first steps into politics as the state's first lady; San Francisco, Democratic House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi's district; Nevada, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's state; New Mexico, presidential candidate Bill Richardson's state. North Carolina, home of former senator and presidential hopeful John Edwards, was considered but passed over by the Bush administration's ax."

I guess that means the Republicans don't consider John Edwards a real threat. That also appears to mean that Democrats should give Bill Richardson a closer look.

The always-invaluable TPMMuckraker gives us a in-depth profile of the woman, Monica Goodling, who has "taken the fifth" rather than to testify in front of either the House or the Senate.

This case goes to the very heart of what it means to be the United States of America. Is this just another banana republic? Just another place where the jefe or our Dear Leader has the final say? Or is it a place where the Rule of Law prevails?

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