Well, Alberto VO 5 still has as much life today as hair treated by his namesake mousse.
His snarling puppeteer, otherwise known as the 43rd president, said despite utter lack of support anywhere else, that he backs Attorney General Gonzales and that Democrats are on “a partisan fishingggg expedittttiiiion.”
President Bush believes that there was nothing wrong with trying to oust eight very good conservative Republican federal prosecutors in order to shut down their investigations, install friends in their place and send an obedience signal to the other U.S. attorneys.
There was nothing illegal about what Bush did. It was all political. But the attorney general runs one of the few federal agencies that ought to be above politics, and for that reason there is a bipartisan tradition that when presidents run for re-election, four Cabinet officers are not even asked to engage in partisan campaigning: The secretaries of state, defense, treasury and the attorney general.
Firing U.S. attorneys who did not do the presidents venal bidding in contested elections or in throwing a corrupt Republican congressman in jail would be as bad as firing a general for purely partisan reasons instead of insubordination.
Oh, yeah. They already pulled that one back in ’03 when Bush sacked Gen. Eric Shinseki for telling Congress the military would need three times as many troops in Iraq as the president had been told to say by the terrorist-enabling Donald Rumsfeld.
The Senate and House Judiciary Committee, with Democratic majorities, want to get to the bottom of the torrent of e-mails already subpoenaed showing that the White House was deeply involved in the unprecedented firings. See, the president said, “There’s a lotta politics in D.C. … Score political points.”
If there was nothing illegal about what he did, then what he did was also just “a lotta politics.” It’s like revealing intelligence secrets that endanger national security and people’s lives is a crime when Democrats do it but part of the war against terrorism when Republicans do it. This president would have you believe he never engages in “a lotta politics.” Doesn’t have to. He just steals elections and calls his opponents traitors.
What the Democrats want is to subpoena presidential henchpersons Karl Rove and Harriet Meiers to tell the public why they inserted political considerations into the prosecution of wrongdoers. Bush thinks the Democrats should be satisfied with his deal of letting committee leaders ask Rove and Meiers questions privately.Would they be under oath? No. Would there be a transcript of what was said? No.
Some deal! The Democratic committee leaders could get the same deal by calling 202-456-1414 and asking for Karl or Harriett.
This ersatz compromise was proposed by Bush’s new counsel, Fred Fielding. Older readers may remember him as the deputy legal counsel to another president. Richard Nixon. Nixon, you younger readers may not recall, resigned in disgrace after not listening to his lawyers. Fielding also was Bush’s stooge on the 9/11 commission. (Fielding has a chance at the Guinness Book of World Records if he winds up serving as legal counsel to TWO presidents run out of town.)
So, there is a battle brewing that could result in Congress issuing contempt citations to Rove and Meiers, and under law they could be prosecuted in federal court. By a U.S. attorney, of course.
But it won’t get that far. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, both packed with Bush monkeys, would set things straight and Rove and Meiers would fly away, along with convicted liar Scooter Libby. You remember Libby. He’s the man without a memory who was indicted and convicted at the urging of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald whose day job is – you guessed it – U.S. Attorney! And a U.S. Attorney chosen by the same Gonzales Justice Department to be the special prosecutor despite having already rated him “not distinguished.” Maybe they thought this “not distinguished” U.S. attorney was so bad he couldn’t convict a ham sandwich, much less Dick Cheney’s accessory after the fact.
So, to repeat, what the administration did was within the law, but only because Gonzales had sneaked new dictatorial powers into renewal of the Patriot Act. Yes, the Patriot Act, the one Bush said was necessary to fight terrorism by usurping Senate powers and civil liberties.
But today, the Senate voted to repeal the Gonzales judicial putsch.
The vote was 94-2.