Guest Voice: Democratic Political Genius

The Moderate Voice occasionally runs special Guest Voice posts written by readers who don’t have weblogs or others who simply have something they would like to raise with TMV’s diverse readership. This is by Matthew Pearl, a second year student at the University of Georgia. Guest Voice posts do not necessarily reflect the opinions of TMV.

Democratic Political Genius

By Matthew Pearl

Recently I’ve held the belief that Republicans have had such great success(until recently) in national elections because of the sheer deftness with which they do politics. From massive grassroots organizations to their mastery of the vernacular and defining terms to their advantage, Republicans are just good at painting themselves as good and Democrats as evil or incompetent.

Well, today, I was having a conversation with my sister about the trouble Alberto Gonzales is in, and I realized the strategy that the Democrats are using to weaken the administration. That strategy is also absolutely awesome in every way; I tip my hat to them, seriously.

The Executive Branch under Bush has been extremely secretive… not really because they are doing anything illegal, per se, but because many of the things that they do behind closed doors are extremely politically damaging. The firings of the eight attorneys for political reasons is a prime example of this.

Really, the President can fire a US attorney for pretty much any reason other than obstructing a federal investigation… as has been repeated several times, they serve at the pleasure of the President. However, since it is becoming more and more apparent that the firings were politically and not performance related, a worse and worse light is being shed on the Administration. Enter the Attorney General…

The coverage that I’ve seen, both in the right wing blogs and the relatively liberal media, shows a few inconsistencies in Gonzales’ words — and that he has a horrible memory. However, with more and more documents being demanded by and given to congress, it is becoming more and more apparent that Gonzales not only attended meetings about the firings, but that, if he is not lying about what he remembers, he doesn’t have the quality of memory that is required for this job.

Let’s say that he is intentionally “not remembering”, rather than just use the Fifth Amendment in saying that he doesn’t want to implicate himself (because that implies guilt). Let’s also keep in mind that it is not actually a crime that is being investigated here.

Well, Gonzales’ stonewalling is stalling the investigation into the reasons for the firing of these attorneys. That is also known as Obstruction of Justice, which is a crime for which he can probably be impeached.

Effectively, the Democrats are using the Administration’s secrecy against it. By trying to keep secrets in the face of congressional and other investigations, high-level administration officials are putting themselves in a position to be indicted by a vindictive Democratic Majority and sympathetic Judiciary.

So the Administration is beginning to find its self in a bit of a Catch 22: either tell the truth and look bad or try to hide the truth and have the possibility of looking even worse (along with some jail time).

It’s not often that I applaud the Democratic Leadership in congress, but I have to tip my hat to Pelosi, Waxman, et al.

  • Daniel Berczik

    Bush’s glowing review of Gonzales’ testimony is what is most telling. Gonzales was so slippery that even GOP Senators were incredulous. But Bush thought the whole thing was just right.

    BTW, I’d move around your prepositional phrase there in the second paragraph. Unless, of course, Gonzales is in trouble with your sister. If that is the case, I take everything you say with regards to this matter as unimpeachable.

  • Paul Silver

    I agree that the Democrats are shrewd in how they are capitalizing on the Administrations weaknesses. I just hope they also learn from this and raise their own bar for integrity, honesty and competence when they are running the show. Democratic flaws emerge almost as regularly as those of the GOP.

  • kritter

    Bush thought Gonzales performed well, because he did what he was coached to do in the weeks before the hearings- give vague and incomplete answers that did not implicate the WH (Rove) in the more controversial aspects of the firings or in the politicization of DOJ.

    He followed instructions-hoping that he would survive due to Congressional GOP’s loyalty to Bush. He had also placed calls to the Republican Senators on the committee to ask for their support (or possibly just that they would leave his the choice for his removal up to Bush). If you notice few in the GOP called for his resignation- most criticized his performance, then stopped just short of it.