Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Corrupt Compassionate Conservatism

What else do we need to know to finally acknowledge that this administration is among the most politically-motivated, corrupt, unethical administrations to ever darken the doorstep of the White House? Our country will not soon recover from the depredations of this Bush White House.

‘Loyalty’ to Bush and Gonzales Was Factor in Prosecutors’ Firings, E-Mail Shows


Anonymous said...

Well said E.

G's Pop said...

Come on, E. There's certainly much to criticize about this administration, but this is bogus. Clinton canned the entire staff of US attorneys when he took office, and then lied by saying that to do so was common practice when, in fact, no president before him had done so. I don't recall any hysterical reaction from the liberal media over that. And since when is failure to perform (for example, to aggressively pursue voter fraud) not cause to fire a federal prosecutor?

E said...

Hmm. Perhaps not, Mr. Pop. From Carpetbagger Report:

The argument is premised on a mistaken understanding of how the process works. When a president takes office, he or she nominates federal prosecutors at the beginning of the first term. Under normal circumstances, these U.S. Attorneys serve until the next president is sworn in.

In 1993, Clinton replaced H.W. Bush’s prosecutors. In 2001, Bush replaced Clinton’s prosecutors. None of this is remotely unusual. Indeed, it’s how the process is designed.

The difference with the current scandal is overwhelming. Bush replaced eight specific prosecutors, apparently for purely political reasons. This is entirely unprecedented. For conservatives to argue, as many are now, that Clinton’s routine replacements for H.W. Bush’s USAs is any way similar is the height of intellectual dishonesty. They know better, but hope their audience is too uninformed to know the difference.

Clinton’s former chief of staff John Podesta told ThinkProgress last week that the entire argument is “pure fiction.”

Mr. Rove’s claims today that the Bush administration’s purge of qualified and capable U.S. attorneys is “normal and ordinary” is pure fiction. Replacing most U.S. attorneys when a new administration comes in — as we did in 1993 and the Bush administration did in 2001 — is not unusual. But the Clinton administration never fired federal prosecutors as pure political retribution. These U.S. attorneys received positive performance reviews from the Justice Department and were then given no reason for their firings.

We’re used to this White House distorting the facts to blame the Clinton administration for its failures. Apparently, it’s also willing to distort the facts and invoke the Clinton administration to try to justify its bad behavior.

Josh Marshall added this morning:

First, we now know — or at least the White House is trying to tell us — that they considered firing all the US Attorneys at the beginning of Bush’s second term. That would have been unprecedented but not an abuse of power in itself. The issue here is why these US Attorneys were fired and the fact that the White House intended to replace them with US Attorneys not confirmed by the senate. We now have abundant evidence that they were fired for not sufficiently politicizing their offices, for not indicting enough Democrats on bogus charges or for too aggressively going after Republicans. (Remember, Carol Lam is still the big story here.) We also now know that the top leadership of the Justice Department lied both to the public and to Congress about why the firing took place. As an added bonus we know the whole plan was hatched at the White House with the direct involvement of the president.

And Clinton? Every new president appoints new US Attorneys. That always happens. Always…. The whole thing is silly. But a lot of reporters on the news are already falling for it. The issue here is why these US Attorneys were fired — a) because they weren’t pursuing a GOP agenda of indicting Democrats, that’s a miscarriage of justice, and b) because they lied to Congress about why it happened.

Note to Bush allies: if the “Clinton did it” defense is the best you can do, this scandal must be truly horrifying.

Update: In case there was still any lingering doubt among conservatives on this point, in White House documents released today, there’s an email to Harriet Miers from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s chief of staff Kyle Sampson (who resigned yesterday), in which Sampsons admits that the Clinton administration never purged its U.S. attorneys in the middle of their terms, explicitly stating, “In recent memory, during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations, Presidents Reagan and Clinton did not seek to remove and replace U.S. Attorneys to serve indefinitely under the holdover provision.”