March 22, 2007

About that U.S. Attorneys matter.

I think David Brooks -- TimesSelect link -- has about the right take on it:
When you look at the prosecutors who were fired by the Bush administration, you see some who were fired for proper political reasons and some who were fired for improper ones. Carol Lam seems to have been properly let go because she did not share the president’s priorities on illegal immigration cases. David Iglesias seems to have been improperly let go because he offended some members of the president’s party.

But what’s striking in reading through the Justice Department e-mail messages is that senior people in that agency seem never to have thought about the proper role of politics in their decision-making. They reacted like chickens with their heads cut off when this scandal broke because they could not articulate the differences between a proper political firing and an improper one.

Moreover, they had no coherent sense of honor. Alberto Gonzales apparently never communicated a code of conduct to guide them as they wrestled with various political pressures. That’s a grievous failure of leadership.

The bad behavior has not stopped there. The Democrats, apparently out of legislative ideas after only 11 weeks in the majority, have gone into full scandal mode, professing to be shocked because politics played a role in prosecutorial priorities. They and those on their media food chain have made wild accusations far in advance of the evidence, producing enough cacophonous demagoguery to make rational discussion nearly impossible.
I'm sick of all of them.

79 comments:

Doyle said...

Way to go, Ann!

I knew eventually David Brooks would write something that you could cite.

Fresh? Of course not. In fact it's a little lamer than I was expecting, even from Brooks. But the important thing is that you finally (albeit indirectly) defended the honor of your Commander in Chief, and that's all that matters in the end.

RogerA said...

Please tell me how the sentence "I am sick of all of them" a defense of the CINC?

Doyle: if you are REALLY interested in a discussion of the legal issues involved, read the 4 threads on Volokh.com for legal analyses. Somehow, however, I doubt that is your real interest.

Sloanasaurus said...

Of course, this "scandal" will end up in the Supreme Court where the Congress will lose.

Congress will lose because you need a legitimate reason to override executive privilege such as a criminal investigation. Finding out what political reasons were used (whether viewed as proper or "improper") is not a legitimate reason to override executive privilege. Is that what we want...for Congress to have to power to question the president under subpoena every time he makes a policy decision. How ridiculous.
Bush should say come and get me. The subsequent Constitutional crisis would be Congress' fault and not Bush's fault.


I don't get Brooks take on an "improper" political reason. If a district attorney called the Attorney General a “spick,” that district attorney would be fired. However, under Brooks' interpretation firing that district attorney would be improper because it was done solely because the district attorney offended the AG and not for a specific policy reason.

monkeyboy said...

Doyle's not happy? Goodness thats a surprise, one would think that he never had any intention of actual discussing the incident (like on Volok or Patterico) but instead was hoping for an opportunity to fling poo in our hostesses home.

Anyway, I'm sure the Democrats want to have public hearings only to treat the situation with their usual seriousness.

Doyle said...

The Brooks piece, you know the one that constitutes 99.5% of this post, is the defense of the president.

It's blatantly deceitful. Carol Lam only "seems to have been properly let go because she did not share the president’s priorities on illegal immigration cases" if you're a total idiot. If you're not, she "seems to have been" fired for investigating Republicans (Duke Cunningham and others) on corruption charges. Witness the DOJ emails about the "Carol Lam problem" the day of a second round of indictments.

If this weren't a pending disaster for the Bush administration you wouldn't have seen the Chimp flip out like that on Tuesday. "Klieg lights"? They're in a lot of trouble.

Zeb Quinn said...

If a president fires a US Attorney because the attorney is pursuing a corruption case that the president wants to squelch, that is an improper reason, be it political or not. It's the only improper reason I can feature, and beyond that the president can fire away to his heart's content.

Doyle said...

Zeb -

Don't forget failure to prosecute cases that Domenici/Wilson want prosecuted, regardless of the lack of evidence (Iglesias). Or failure to be Rove buddy Tim Griffin (Cummins).

dave said...

Wow, what a compelling, literate analysis of the situation Blithering Idiot gives! Just the sort of detailed assessment you'd expect from a "law professor"!

The University of Bumfuck must be very, very proud.

You can go back to bitching about younger, cuter women now with a clean conscience. When's the next massive "American Idol" post?

SGT Ted said...

It's the double standard yet again, Doyle.

These same Democrat poo flingers were defending Clintons Executive Priviledge when it was their ox being gored.

Let the poo flingers prove it in court. Otherwise this is just a political spat that the Dems are trying to have a Soviet style show trial.

Sloanasaurus said...

Don't forget failure to prosecute cases that Domenici/Wilson want prosecuted, regardless of the lack of evidence (Iglesias).

This to me is a very legitimate reason to fire a prosecutor. Whether there was enough evidence was the opinion only of that prosecutor, something not shared by the AG.

If your boss says prosecute and you say no. Then you risk being fired. That is the way the world works. Even if you think in your heart that the prosecution would be wrong - you are not the boss.

Fen said...

read the 4 threads on Volokh.com for legal analyses

Thanks for the links. Much more interesting than what the BDS crowd has been ranting about.

RogerA said...

I love political theater--faux outrage to lay a media smokescreen over the inability of Speaker Pelosi to appease either the right or left wings of her own party--Code pink is occupying democratic party members in opposition to the house leadership, who, after 11 weeks have proven themselves as equally incompetent as the republicans they replaced. Dead in the water so they create the kind of scandle the inside the beltway media love. And the faux outrage is especially compelling!

I am sure there are a few idealists around who are genuinely concerned with implications of this on the legal system; however, IMO this is prime political theater.

Can't get an appropriations bill thru her own party; can't appease her own party--definitely not ready for prime time! Of course, they could impeach the president over this issue--Hows that governing thing working out for you guys?

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Apparently the Dems have discovered what the rest of us knew all along; they do not have the capacity to govern.

They had a sparkling 100 hours that would have been written off as a publicity stunt if the Repubs had annouced the same thing, then found out governing is hard work and went back to, as has been so eloquently stated, flinging poo.

SteveR said...

Dave: You're still a stupid idiot and you still can't prove that you're not. Keep trying.

Henry said...

They [the Democrats] and those on their media food chain have made wild accusations far in advance of the evidence, producing enough cacophonous demagoguery to make rational discussion nearly impossible.

Doyle, you did read this far, I hope. Looks like you're on script.

RogerA, you're dead on target. This roadshow is hardly up to the level of Waxman's misty-eyed paens to the CIA last week, but faux reverence is far less common than faux outrage.

I guess March is political theatre month.

The Exalted said...

Uh, this column is a dishonest joke.

People of good faith disagree about whether the Clinton administration behaved improperly in firing almost all of the 93 prosecutors it inherited, in the midst of some high-profile and politically troublesome cases.


Ronald Reagan did the exact same thing when he took office, he replaced every US Attorney. The most high profile outstanding case when Clinton took office was with respect to Dan Rostenkowski and guess what? The new prosecutor convicted him.

This is hackery at its finest.

Not surprising that hacks are drawn to hackery.

Fritz said...

The thread reveals what the Administration did wrong. They should have never responded to the inquiry as to why the US A's were replaced. They were under no requirement to justify their actions. All they needed to say, no one was fired, they serve at the pleasure of the President. By claiming that they were replaced for cause, they opened a can of worms, and forced the replaced US A's to defend themselves. Clinton handled this perfectly by just ignoring the speculation.

Fen said...

What does Reagan have to do with whether Clinton behaved improperly?

Naked Lunch said...

Democrats can't govern because Bush and Rove can't keep their lies straight, leaving bras everywhere and keep feeding Democrats easy layups? Precious! If I were Brooks - being the loyal neocon soldier he is - I'd be freaking out too that oversight hasn't even really started yet.

Nice to see Clinton is still the #1 moral beacon for conservatives everywhere to gauge moral conduct though.

Al Maviva said...

Brooks has about the right take on it - bad judgment, and lack of character is at the root of the problem for the Administration, and the Dems are basically going to play "look, here's a scandalous jackalope" to hide their inability to deliver on promises to the base.

The source of the problems comes back to the Administration's inner circle of Texas politicos, who run most of the show and who keep a lot of pretty good first, second and third tier political appointees in the dark on a lot of issues. This means that decision making is centralized (Card, Rove, Gonzales, Miers, previously Spellings, and their immediate staffers like Kyle Samson) in the hands of a few people who, while they are good at Texas politics, don't really have great instincts for what flies everywhere else. It is a little echo chamber that generates top-down directives, and responds based on Texas gut instincts rather than others' advice.

Why did Kyle Sampson lie to senior attorneys within DOJ and send them up to the Hill to testify that the firings were non-political, as he did? Because they weren't in the inner circle, and didn't need to know, even though they were also senior appointees within the Justice Department. The principled response would have been, "damn straight they were political... are you going to suggest we need a law to insulate U.S. Attorneys from the possibility of political pressure?" Three of the more noteworthy political pressurers, Schumer, Leahy and Waxman, would have gotten the message - you cut us off, we'll demand legislation that cuts you off too. But it didn't occur to them to defend this before Congress on the grounds that most of what they did was completely legit and within political norms. So now we're going to get an enormous pseudoscandal, and maybe if we're real lucky, a little bit of real scandal.

This is what you get when you elect a party that is more interested in holding onto power, than in advancing a philosophical agenda about how to do things. It's all about tactics, no strategy. Dealing with a bunch of pissed off senators, all of whom think they own a couple US Attorneys? Tactics. Firing the US Attorneys (or letting their employment lapse at the end of term) where the attorneys aren't advancing DOJ priorities or keeping their local senators happy? Tactics. Developing a coherent response to allegations of corruption in the firing, articulating principled reasons (or even case law, ferchrissakes) for why most of the firings were legit, thereby preserving presidential appointment/firing power over politicals? That's strategy, and that's one thing this bunch can't do.

While it's great political theater, the end result is probably going to be some inane law insulating US Attorneys from all political pressures, with the exception of phone calls from Members of Congress. See, e.g. Domenici/Iglesias, Schumer/Fitzgerald. Yeah, that'll be great.

MadisonMan said...

What does Reagan have to do with whether Clinton behaved improperly?

And what does Clinton have to do with whether Bush (GWB) behaved improperly?

The problem with theater like this is what's percolating in the background that's being overlooked. Back in 1998, back when Tony Snow thought Executive Priviledge was just something used to obfuscate the truth, what was going on while Republicans were on their high and mighty horse?

This all could have been avoided if the AG had resigned because he made this mess (I'm still surprised that he didn't last Friday, like I was predicting). He says he takes responsibility -- that means fixing it or getting out of the way so someone else can, and as far as I can tell, he's done neither.

The one good that will come from this (I hope) is the repeal of the law slipped into the "PATRIOT" renewal that allows the AG to appoint US Attys without Senate oversight.

Matt said...

Dave, we must have all missed your nuanced take on the situation that you posted on your cat blog. Oh, no, wait. That's just pictures of cats.

Invisible Man said...

Ceaser never had such capable defenders as these or he might have lived a few decades more. Why is every scandal in this administration confined to the agency in which it happened. It's as if fiefdom's have been set up and Bush is somehow just out of the loop, trudging along as his subserviants try to ruin a good presidency.

This is all at the feet of a President who doesn't know the proper role of politics in decision-making. A President who has no real sense of honor as he promises to fire leakers and views dishonesty in the defense of him and Rove as being a good soldier. A President who has mismanaged his own office so egregiously that his subordinates have no fear of mismanaging their own office (FEMA, Defense, DAG).

hdhouse said...

"dem's out of legislative ideas"? hardly. bush has just piled things up with so much crap it takes a bit to start to untangle it.

and just a bit of advice to those who are screaming that its "full scandal mode" by the democrats and "before the evidence is in".

1. when congress holds hearings..it is mostly "after the fact". congress knows fully what the deal is and it is just positioning this to maximum advantage.

2. the USAs are secondary..its to put Porky Rove on the skewer and turn him over the fire...

3. Pedro G. was history a week ago. He hasn't been told yet and President WooWoo hasn't been told to tell him.

Someone should be arrested for nominating Harriet Miers...dontchathing?

The Exalted said...

Fen said...
What does Reagan have to do with whether Clinton behaved improperly?


ha. if what clinton did was routine, and if you establish that it was routine because reagan did the exact same thing at the exact same time, it militates towards clinton's action not being improper. rocket science, hard stuff.

ironic question also, given that you could ask the same question "what does clinton/truman have to do with whether bush behaved improperly?"

thanks for playing.

David Walser said...

What I wish the media accounts would make clear is that these "firings" took place after a top-to-bottom review of the performance of ALL the US Attorneys. Were political considerations factored in? Sure. So, too, were non-political factors. All of this was done after the US Attorneys' 4 year term had expired.

Given this context, this looks much more like something that falls well within the President's discretion rather than an abuse of that discretion. A case can be made that this is an abuse of discretion, but that case is far easier to make if this is framed as somehow unusual. It's not. All prior administrations have replaced US Attorneys for purely political purposes -- such as giving a plum job as a reward to a supporter.

Andrew Foland said...

Two words: Dusty Foggo

RogerA said...

Invis Man: Article of impeachment is the answer--Why doesnt the dear speaker go for it? Shes a legislative genius after all, and you have clearly made the case its all Bush's fault--surely competence can and should be grounds for impeachment. Again, hows that governing thing going for the Dems? Wont be able to get out of Iraq before the next election, and can't impeach an incompetent president: there's going to be hell to pay with the democratic base.

Fritz said...

MadMan,
Snow was referring to official duties, Monica was not an official duty of the Office. None the less, his columnist days are irrelevant, Bush is the President.

Doyle said...

Bush is the President

And thank God for that, right Fritz?

Sloanasaurus said...

Article of impeachment is the answer--Why doesnt the dear speaker go for it?

What would be the high crime?

I recall that Andrew Johnson was impeached because he violated an act of congress they passed to prevent him from firing the Secretary of War. The law was later found unconstitutional.

How ironic that President Bush would be impeaced for firing district attorneys.

Leland said...

Someone should be arrested for nominating Harriet Miers...dontchathing?

Huh? On what grounds? I guess on the grounds whoever did so obviously wasn't part of the Herrenvolk?

Some people need to come back to reality.

Bender said...

Given that the President has absolute pardoning power, extending even to the pre-indictment stage, thereby derailing on-going investigations, I fail to see how firing a prosecutor in order to stop a given investigation could be deemed "improper," even if that is what happened in this instance. The appointment power and the removal power belong to the executive, not to the legislative, and, thus, there is no such thing as an "improper" reason to remove a public official.

Bender said...

If the Dems are going to persist in this, claiming some sort of legislative oversight authority with respect to prosecutors' offices, then the Republicans should demand subpoenas be issued to Hillary Clinton to question her under oath regarding the part she played in the firing of every U.S. Attorney, and all of the other Clintonistas should be subpoenaed to be questioned about the inner policy discussions of the Clinton White House.

Doyle said...

I fail to see how firing a prosecutor in order to stop a given investigation could be deemed "improper,"

[Shock and awe]

Fen said...

Exalted: thanks for playing


Ah, not so fast. The line is:

People of good faith disagree about whether the Clinton administration behaved improperly in firing almost all of the 93 prosecutors

Your response:

Ronald Reagan did the exact same thing

Its obvious that both of them fired all prosecuters, what you need to establish is that Reagan also "behaved improperly" in firing them.

I shouldn't be suprised by the constant Tu Quoque. You really need to learn not to define your values by what depths someone else descends to. Bush's behavior is not excused by Clinton's, Clinton's behavior is not excused by Reagan's.

RogerA said...

Sloan--sorry to let my sense of irony show there--the high crime would presumabably be incompetence as suggested by some of our posters from the other side of the aisle. Of course the dear speaker wont do that (at least I dont think she's THAT stupid, but I didnt think Bush was that stupid either in his demonsrated inability to communicate nearly anything coherently to the american public.) It's those damn Potomac vapours.

Fen said...

Again, hows that governing thing going for the Dems?

Indeed. If Bush is a tyrant as the Left claims, what does it say that their leaders refuse to impeach him? Don't they have a moral obligation to remove him? Or was all that just political posturing?

More of the Left doesn't really beleive in things they lecture us about

Doyle said...

I'll stop short of calling you wingnuts Nazis, because I'm a charitable fellow. But you seem to be missing that part of the brain, usually well-developed in Americans, that objects to total dictatorial control in the hands of one office. The "idea" behind the Justice Department is that it is beholden to the rule of law first, and the White House second. It is not to be used for the benefit of one political party or another.

If you found instances of Clinton exerting this kind of heavy handed pressure (and firings are about as heavy handed as they come), I'm all ears. But this seems unprecedented in its arrogance and corruption.

Of course, in that way it's pretty much par for the course for these thugs.

Fen said...

I'll stop short of calling you wingnuts Nazis

Ah but you just did, Ms Coulter.

Didn't bother to read the rest of your tripe after that. Putting you on ignore along with Reality Check and Dave. Bye bye

Doyle said...

Humorless, eh? Just like Nazis!

B said...

Doyle is interested only in tying ANYTHING negative to President Bush, mostly just to tick off the adults who want to have real conversation.

Doyle, your hero Jimmy Carter, in a radio interview on Los Angeles radio station KNX yesterday, made the following 2 points:

1) if the White House and Attorney General had said from the beginning only that this is a political situation involving political appointees, the Democrats would have had no ammo and would have quickly caved.

2) He (Carter) does not believe that Bush is responsible for this at all, only his subordinates - again a political situation regarding political appointees.

Game. Set. Match.

RogerA said...

You democratic types might be interested in the current story the ap is carrying wherein the Senate Democrats have written most of the Bush tax cuts into the senate version of the budget! Gee--thats another campaign promise down the tubes isnt it?

These clowns are making more mistakes than Uncle Newt did when he tried to shut down the government over the budget.

I think it is safe to make the following predictions now: The US Military will still be actively involved in Iraq by November, 2008, the Bush tax cuts will survive largely intact, the Patriot act will not be repealed, George Bush will still be president, the government will be operating on a continuing resolution, and the Cubs will win the world series (that one's for Doyle :) )

Doyle said...

Well if Jimmy Carter said it, I am honor-bound to agree with it, so there's really no escape for me there.

But you'll notice point #1 didn't actually happen. They lied and said they were all performance related. Which you have to admit is suspicious.

And #2 is kind of besides the point. Bush isn't being charged with a crime. He isn't being subpoenaed. It's the people who we know were involved in the decision. The WH said Miers was the only one involved, and have since changed their story.

All I'm saying is that it's Congress's job, not just their prerogative, to investigate.

Al Maviva said...

Doyle, you don't even bother to read people's comments do you?

B said...

Doyle,
Excellent points.

Now, if Congress can only conduct it's investigation in a non-partisan, non-showy manner . . .

Ernie Fazio said...

Query to all of the wingnuts:How many of Jimmy Carter's USAs were fired by Reagan in 1981? That is right, all 93. How many of GHWB's USAs were fired by Clinton in 1993? That is right, all 93. How many of Clinton's USA's were fired by GWB in 2001? That is right, all 93. Query to all of the wingnuts: how many times have USA's, appointed by one President, been fired in mid-term by the same President for questionable reasons? That is right only once in December 2006 at the Saturday Night Massacre.

The Exalted said...

Its obvious that both of them fired all prosecuters, what you need to establish is that Reagan also "behaved improperly" in firing them.

uh, no. lets try again. the mere fact that clinton fired all the prosecutors is the so-called evidence that something "improper" occurred, the fact that reagan did the same thing makes that evidence much less valuable, or of no value at all to those of "good faith."

Sloanasaurus said...

The "idea" behind the Justice Department is that it is beholden to the rule of law first, and the White House second. It is not to be used for the benefit of one political party or another.

And the rule of law is that the President can fire a district attorney for any reason at any time.

David Walser said...

Query to all of the wingnuts:How many of Jimmy Carter's USAs were fired by Reagan in 1981? That is right, all 93. How many of GHWB's USAs were fired by Clinton in 1993? That is right, all 93. How many of Clinton's USA's were fired by GWB in 2001? That is right, all 93.

This is factually incorrect. Reagan allowed Carter's US Attorneys to finish serving out their four year term before replacing them. George W. Bush allowed all of Clinton's to finish their four year term before replacing them. Only Clinton fired all 93 US Attorneys. The distinction is that the statute grants a US Attorney a four year term, after that, the US Attorney continues to serve until his or her replacement is appointed by the President.

This is not a distinction without a difference. If you sign a one year employment contract and that contract is terminated by your employer after six months, it is appropriate to say you were fired. On the other hand, if the employment contract is not renewed after a year, you have not been fired. You would have no right to expect continued employment. Simply, the position would have been filled by someone your employer found preferable. Clinton fired the 93 US Attorneys when he did not allow them to complete their four year term. In this case, Bush fired no one. He simply replaced 8 of the 93 (all of whom have completed their statutory four year term).

Ernie Fazio said...

This from Echidne of the Snakes and the WAPO:

The leader of the Justice Department team that prosecuted a landmark lawsuit against tobacco companies said yesterday that Bush administration political appointees repeatedly ordered her to take steps that weakened the government's racketeering case.

Sharon Y. Eubanks said Bush loyalists in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's office began micromanaging the team's strategy in the final weeks of the 2005 trial, to the detriment of the government's claim that the industry had conspired to lie to U.S. smokers.

She said a supervisor demanded that she and her trial team drop recommendations that tobacco executives be removed from their corporate positions as a possible penalty. He and two others instructed her to tell key witnesses to change their testimony. And they ordered Eubanks to read verbatim a closing argument they had rewritten for her, she said.

"The political people were pushing the buttons and ordering us to say what we said," Eubanks said. "And because of that, we failed to zealously represent the interests of the American public."

Query to the wingnuts: Does the above call into question the politicization of the "rule of law?"

RogerA said...

Ernie, Ernie, Ernie--you should have read the WAPO article all the way to page 8 wherein the WAPO discloses that the office of professional responsibility investigated those charges and found that senior management acted properly AND the Trial Judge validated the senior management position. Go to Patterico.com and follow the links for the rest of the story.

As to your statistic you are quoting about firing, are you honestly suggesting that NO US Atty should ever be fired? not for incompetence? not for other cause? that is the implication of your post. (and to assuage your sensibilities, let me assure you that I do not think firing US Attorney's for political reasons is a desirable thing--although I am enough a realist/cynic to understand it goes on)

AJ Lynch said...

The Lurkers.

I got it- the new name for Doyle, Reality Check and those libs who just hang around and turn every topic into "Ann is not liberal cause she constantly bashes libs even when she doesn't".

I suggest we call them "The Lurkers" cause they just lurk around Althouse and jump out every chance they get.

Joe said...

Oh no, political appointees were treated politically. Ahhhhh.

Let's make something very clear; EVERYTHING a politician does is political (and for most, I include choosing which toilet to use in the restroom.) It is the nature of the beast. Get over it.

But, the upside is that with all this squabbling, congress won't actually do anything! Hurray! Let the squabbling continue! (Actually not being sarcastic here--I cheer every time those bozos don't get anything done. The only problem with this "scandal" is the words "oral sex" aren't being used. Damn it.)

Doyle said...

AJ -

The term "lurker" is already used to refer to people who read a blog and/or comments but don't comment. They just "lurk." Hence lurker.

The more accurate (however unflattering) term for us would be "trolls."

Naked Lunch said...

RogerA
I doubt the WH views Dems as hapless and in disarray - it's the other way around isn't it? I think some people way under-estimate some of these old Democrats that are hardly neophytes, and most have run these committees before like Leahy [who was told to eff himself on the Senate floor] Frank, Conyers, Kennedy, Levin, Rangel etc. Yesterday Conyers asked every member of the judiciary committee to look him in the eye and give him a reason not to trust him at his word that he wan't abusing subpoena powers. No Mr Conyers. Liberals don't blame liberal Dems for Iraq and bankruptcy bills - they blame conservative ones that voted for them. We're heretics remember.

reality check said...

I think that by subpwning Rove, and Miers the Dems are falling once again into a trap.

And I don't think the voters voted the Dems into office in order to apply oversight to President Bush.

Whether Rove testifies this week, or in 2008, regardless of whether this is taken to the Supreme Court or not, I don't think the voters will forget this in 2008. Personally, I hope that Bush does what is needed to protect the unitary executive and forces a Supreme Court fight on this.

I think when the evidence comes out the voters will understand that these firings were entirely proper.

reality check said...


The more accurate (however unflattering) term for us would be "trolls."


That's entirely incorrect. A troll is a person that says something outrageous with the intent of getting a response.

That would be like p.rich and molon and their anti-edwards comments.

It could conceivably be Ms. Althouse who some people say is running a performance art piece on the internet.

That would be like Fen pretending he has some sort of "ignore" kill list.

As near as I can tell, Doyle, NL, RC, TE, and others are here genuinely presenting informed dialogue, backed up with facts and context.

This is the antithesis of a troll.

Naked Lunch said...

RC
You wuss. Getting weak-kneed already. They haven't even issued a subpoena yet.

reality check said...

It's a trap! NL, Karl Rove has us just where he wants us.

The voters didn't vote the dems in to provide oversight!

And we are threatening the unitary executive!!!!

Naked Lunch said...

The only trap is in your mind RC. Don't fall for it. Keep away from right wing blogs if you must, and don't look at any polls, and confine your uneasiness to personal blogs. I'll be damned if I don't get one sworn oath from flabby before this all ends.

RogerA said...

NL--I have no idea how the white house views the Dems--and you are certainly correct about those old dem warriors you cite; they are old political pros, as corrupt and nasty as any republican. Those guys, however, are committee chairs, and not the speaker, majority leader and whips that comprise this neophyte chamber leadership.

My comment about Ms Pelosi is strictly my own view based on what I have seen. She's taking a lot of fire from both her left and right wings without the republicans doing anything but standing firm; has had to put up a huge pork laden bill trying to buy votes, and still can't get to 218.

I doubt that this thing will go to the supreme court; neither side wants to get a bright line determination on executive privilege or legislative privilige-
In the meantime, its great political theater and takes the media eyes off the inability of the congress to do anything BUT "oversight."

I stand by my predictions above (although one was deliberately wrong)

RogerA said...

Phooey--sorry for consecutive posts but I left out one important element for NL:

Liberals did not INITIALLY blame the democrats for Iraq; but the code pink folks are occupying democratic offices and telling the democrats that if they continue to fund it, the dems will own it. Looks like those silly moonbats are actually expecting their party to live up to its promises!! :)

Naked Lunch said...

RogerA - Anyone that thought that are fools.

Ernie Fazio said...

A little more on the stonewalling of Bushies to answer subpoenas from Andrew Tobias:

Over the years, Republicans have held hearings on Bill Clinton’s Christmas card list and called for answers on Socks the Cat’s fan mail. Yet they continue to stonewall attempts to question key players in the scandal surrounding the apparently politically- motivated firing of eight U.S. Attorneys. Despite emails showing that top White House advisers such as Harriet Miers and Karl Rove were involved in the decision, the White House has cited executive privilege and placed restrictions on their cooperation with Congress such as demanding closed-door hearings with no transcripts and even refused to place the advisers under oath.

The same Republicans that previously spoke out strongly on the importance of candor in our government officials are strangely silent now.

BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAS AN UNPRECEDENTED RECORD OF CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS
Democratic White Houses Have Historically Cooperated: A Congressional Research Service report identified 62 instances of Democratic presidential advisors testifying before Congress in recent decades, 54 of them during the Clinton administration. [CRS Report RL31351]. 30 Clinton aides testified 54 times [CRS Report RL31351]

Republican Advisors Appear Less: In contrast, the CRS report found zero instances of such testimony during the Reagan or BushI administrations, and nine in the first term of Bush II, all of which involved Thomas Ridge and homeland security before the formation of a cabinet department. The only three instances in the last 30 years of an advisor refusing to testify were since 2002, under George W. Bush. [CRS Report RL31351]



Attorney General Reno Stopped the Politicization of Prosecution -- This Administration is Stonewalling to Guarantee It. "I simply have to draw the line and stand up for what I believe to be a very important principle," the former Dade County prosecutor and lifelong Democrat said. "Prosecutions in America must be free of political influence." [Miami Herald, 8/7/98]. That from one of the most hated and vilified of the Clintonians. I guess it is about the "rule of law."

Bruce Hayden said...

This thread, as expected, immediately degenerated into name calling and the like. As a previous poster pointed out, if you want a serious discussion of this, you might try the myriad of threads over at volokh.com, including the one today by Orin Kerr, plus Marty Lederman today at Balkanization, and Bill Dyer's response to him at his Beldar blog.

A lot of good lawyers and law professors have chimed in in those three threads, from both sides, and I heartedly suggest that all interested in this issue peruse them.

Internet Ronin said...

Andrew Foland:

It is too late now, but you mentioned one of the most important names involved. Foggo & Brent Wilkes have been best friends since first grade, or something like that.

Paging Dionne Warwick!
[cue orchestra]

Internet Ronin said...

And, RC, I'm too lazy to wade through the cesspool to find the few gems hidden herein, but we probably agree here as well, although undoubtedly not entirely.

The one US Attorney removed that interests me the most is precisely the one that Brooks dispenses with in his lede: Carol Lam. I haven't had time to follow this closely enough to know for sure, but, even at this distance, it fails the cursory "smell test."

Bush's mistake, of course, was to not have followed his predecessor's lead and fired everyone when he assumed office, or upon re-election. Failure to take advantage of opportunities when available inevitably lead to serious embarrassments and legal entanglements such as this.

B said...

This thread, as expected, immediately degenerated into name calling and the like.

While that is somewhat true, I actually appreciate the later posts by Doyle and Reality Check, which seemed more reasoned.

It is obvious to everyone that has been reading Althouse comments for awhile that Doyle and RC and (sigh, I hate to admit it)even hdhouse are all quick-witted and of above-average intelligence. Which means that they are actually able to carry on a reasoned, if still passionate discussion. I fully understand the desire to vent and do drive-byes on blogs of the political opposition - I spent a year doing nad enjoying the same myself on Skippy and Arrianna's place. It got tiring.

But this blog is unique, in that no one has ever hijacked it for long. It's a coffeehouse - not a political action committee. The regulars get shouted down every now and then, but eventually reason - and sly humor - come back to the fore. Which is why I believe that this blog is ultimately more politically influential than even Kos or moveon.

So, Doyle, hdhouse, RC: turn down the temp a little and join in with your good self. Who knows - you might actually teach some of us semi-old dogs some new tricks.

Your turn.

Simon said...

hdhouse said...
"[T]he USAs are secondary..its to put Porky Rove on the skewer and turn him over the fire..."

That's an unusually bald concession that there's nothing to the story except partisan posturing.


"Pedro G. was history a week ago. He hasn't been told yet and President WooWoo hasn't been told to tell him."

"Pedro G"? Oh, I get it...He's hispanic, so his name must be "pedro." Remember, it's not racism when liberals use racial slurs, everyone.


RogerA said...
"These clowns are making more mistakes than Uncle Newt did when he tried to shut down the government over the budget."

I dislike that characterization - Uncle Newt didn't "tr[y] to shut down the government over the budget," the government shut down when Uncle Newt and Cousin Willy couldn't reach agreement over the budget. Clinton was every bit as much responsible for the result as was Gingrich, it's just that Clinton played it (masterfully, actually) in such a way that not only was Newt to blame, but indeed, that the shutdown became something someone should be to "blame" for.


AJ Lynch said...
"I got it- the new name for Doyle, Reality Check and those libs who just hang around and turn every topic into 'Ann is not liberal cause she constantly bashes libs even when she doesn't.' I suggest we call them "The Lurkers" cause they just lurk around Althouse and jump out every chance they get."

Seems to me that they're just kids who haven't found a healthy way to handle their crush on her. The better term would be "stalkers," although I would exclude Doyle and Naked Lunch - both of whom do genuinely contribute functionally from time to time - from that group.

Paco Wové said...

"It is obvious to everyone that has been reading Althouse comments for awhile that Doyle and RC and (sigh, I hate to admit it)even hdhouse are all quick-witted and of above-average intelligence."

No, that's not obvious at all. In fact, it's about as obvious as the moon being made of piano wire, or that the earth is controlled by penguins.

Seriously, what are you smoking?

Mindsteps said...

David Brooks wrote: "Moreover, they had no coherent sense of honor. Alberto Gonzales apparently never communicated a code of conduct to guide them as they wrestled with various political pressures. That’s a grievous failure of leadership,"

Brooks may have gotten a bit closer to a core truth if he replaced Alberto Gonzales's name in the above sentence with that of George W. Bush.

AlphaLiberal said...

When I read this, I was struck by how Brooks (lightly) criticized Republicans for not exercising any oversight over the executive branch.

But, now that the Democrats are conducting the first oversight in over 6 years, that means the Democrats are "out of ideas."

What a buffoon!

B said...

But, now that the Democrats are conducting the first oversight in over 6 years, that means the Democrats are "out of ideas."

The question is why are there no major media stories on the failure of the Democrats - in the House particularly - to accomplish what Speaker Pelosi said that they would by this time. Certainly there are no substantial successes to write about thus far. There is a sense that if Republicans had made a laundry list of promises, that their failure would be constantly on the front pages.

Instead, we have the prosecutor story all over the media. And, when Democrat Senators and Congresspersons are presently on the talk shows, they are mostly only talking about this issue. They could refuse to discuss it - "C'mon Tim, there are far more serious things confronting this nation than some politcal scandal. The American people sent us here to get work done and that's what we intend to do. In fact, here's what we've accomplished so far . . "

But, since there is nothing to show so far from a Democrat Congress . . .

If the shoe fits . . .

B said...

And by the way, buffoon does not mean "Someone that makes a point I disagree with".

It means uneducated or stupid (as used in the AlphaLiberal post above), neither of which David Brooks is.

The jury so far is out on AlphaLiberal.

Fen said...

It is obvious to everyone that has been reading Althouse comments for awhile that Doyle and RC and (sigh, I hate to admit it)even hdhouse are all quick-witted and of above-average intelligence. Which means that they are actually able to carry on a reasoned, if still passionate discussion

[shrug] They're sandbagging you, because they've recently come under scrutiny for trolling. Wait a while and they'll revert to form - ad homs, flames, unsupported assertions, appeals to authority and conformity, Godwin, distortion exaggeration and disruption of otherwise civil and interesting threads.

hdhouse said...

You neo-con oafs really don't get it do you. The firings are, daily and drip and drab, political retribution firings but that isn't the main point, although bad enough...

the point is that they were replaced through the patriot act and not through the senate and it is that gambit that sets these apart. clean house of everyone and resubmit to the senate....great...but we have just another end run by the consumate idiot of our times, probably orchestrated by Rove and Miers and some goons at justice.

the hitler youth on this thread just make me want to scream. they are so dumb, so brain dead and so koolaide driven as to qualify for another species.

B said...

hdhouse,

back at ya, sweetie

Fen said...

the point is that they were replaced through the patriot act and not through the senate

Duh, the Senate approved the Patriot Act. Are you saying they didn't read it before voting for it?