Is there a smoking gun in the case of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ Justice Department and the fired prosecutors?
Professional political scientist Dr. Steven Taylor has looked at the emails. Here’s just part of his conclusion:
I went looking for information regarding the specific issue of the new appointment power granted in the re-authorization of the USA PATRIOT Act. To me, this new power is the central issue in this whole affair, as it tips the balance of control over the appointment of USAs to the executive at the expense of the legislative and judicial branches. It appears to me to be the case that the main motivation behind these firings is the recognition by some at DoJ that they could exert a great deal of control over the process in new ways (meaning that the â€œClinton did itâ€? defense, or any other reference to prior presidents misses the point of the situation).
And at the end:
This clearly goes beyond just replacing political appointees to trying to assert substantially more partisan political control over these offices by the executive branch.
The fact that in this case we are talking about a person who was a partisan political operative in the RNC and in Karl Roveâ€™s office further ups the ante, as it clearly looks like cronyism and partisan hackery instead of concerns over how well a given USA is doing his or her job (which is the spin on the story)
Taylor’s post shows readers the actual emails (from a PDF file).
If there was ever a MUST READ POST OF THE DAY this is it.
P.S.: Taylor can’t be dismissed as a liberal blogger by Bush supporters. You’ll note that his excellent blog Poliblog is in our Right Voices column.
Meanwhile, Newsweek’s Howard Fineman has an absolutely devastating take on Bush, Gonzales and the fired prosecutors:
All presidents, to a degree, play politics with U.S. attorneysâ€™ jobs. Bill Clinton did so with relish. But it is revealing, if not shocking, to see vivid evidence of George Bushâ€™s contempt for (or, at best, willful ignorance of) the idea that justice should be administered impartially, even by political appointees. Most presidents pay lip service to the concept of independence, even in private discussions. The Bush Administration didnâ€™t bother.
Having covered Bush for years, I know where that dismissive attitude comes from: his family, Texas, his inner circle and his own experience â€“ or lack of it.
Bushes see themselves as men of action and profit. As a rule, they tend to loathe or dismiss people who monitor and measure thought and behavior: reporters, shrinks, accountants and lawyers. Bushes go into business (sometimes with MBAs), never law. (Maybe the next generation will have a different attitude: George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, earned a J.D. at the University of Texas in 2003.)
He gives perhaps the best explanation yet of the view of justice held by Bush and his advisors. His end paragraph:
The fact that Gonzales initially told Congress that the White House had nothing to do with the process shows something else: he forgot who holds the subpoena power now.
This scandal points up the benefits of divided government where there is authentic, vigorous oversight. Read Fineman’s entire column.