Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bush fires 8 US Attorneys!! Oh the humanity!!

Apparently the Dems never got the memo that as Commander in Chief of the most powerful nation on the planet, if someone under your employ doesn't perform up to expectations, you can fire them. As if these were the first US Attorneys a president had ever fired... The key here is "perform up to expectations" as opposed to "on a whim" or "to avoid your own criminal prosecution."

But the Democratic Presidential candidates smelled blood and added to the MSM's feeding frenzy over this non-issue. But who would take the the 1st place for the "best shameless grandstanding", "beating a dead horse beyond recognition", and "wasting perfectly good airtime on a major news network for absolutely nothing" contest?

Senator Barack Obama needs to fire his PR guy for not getting him more airtime on this exceedingly pointless issue as well as his speechwriter for not coming up with something with a bit more panache. Well maybe not fire... that's so Republican...

I opposed Mr. Gonzalez's nomination, in part, because he had shown in his role as White House Counsel a penchant for subverting justice to serve the President's political goals, and I feared that in an Attorney General. Sadly, the latest revelations underscore my concern. Americans deserve to know who in the White House is pulling the strings at the Department of Justice, and why. Anyone involved should appear under oath and answer these questions.

You opposed him from the beginning. Is that really the best you could come up with?

Rookie... You get 3rd place.

Senator John Edwards is outraged and takes 2nd place in our little contest for lumping the firing of US Attorneys to the Patriot Act, Gitmo, and Abu Ghraib. Kudos John!

Today's news is only the latest and most disturbing sign of the politicization of justice under President Bush. From the abuse of investigative authority under the Patriot Act to the unconstitutional imprisonment of the Guantanamo Bay detainees and illegal torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Bagram Air Force Base, this president has consistently shown contempt for the rule of law.

But Senator Hillary Clinton takes the cake and is our grandprize winner due to her complete and total hypocrisy.

"The buck should stop somewhere," Clinton told ABC News senior political correspondent Jake Tapper, "and the attorney general — who still seems to confuse his prior role as the president's personal attorney with his duty to the system of justice and to the entire country — should resign.

"I'm deeply disturbed by what we have learned thus far," Clinton said, "and I join those who are calling for a full and thorough investigation to try to get to the bottom of these very political decisions that interfere with prosecutorial responsibility by U.S. attorneys, and I think that the attorney general should resign."

But where's the hypocrisy you ask?

When Clinton's husband took office in 1993, one of the first actions his attorney general took was to remove every U.S. attorney. Clinton was asked how this was different from the termination of eight U.S. attorneys last December.

"There is a great difference," Clinton said. "When a new president comes in, a new president gets to clean house. It's not done on a case-by-case basis where you didn't do what some senator or member of Congress told you to do in terms of investigations into your opponents. It is 'Let's start afresh' and every president has done that."

Oh Hillary! How soon we forget! Check out this great op-ed from the WSJ that explains a little better how unprecedented Clinton's firing of all 93 US Attonreys was and not only the Democratic buddies he helped, he quite possibly quashed the White Water scandal he and his wife were up to their necks in as well. Mega-sooper-dooper bonus points for using the executive powers to prevent investigation into your own shady dealings!

At the time, President Clinton presented the move as something perfectly ordinary: "All those people are routinely replaced," he told reporters, "and I have not done anything differently." In fact, the dismissals were unprecedented: Previous Presidents, including Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, had both retained holdovers from the previous Administration and only replaced them gradually as their tenures expired. This allowed continuity of leadership within the U.S. Attorney offices during the transition.

Equally extraordinary were the politics at play in the firings. At the time, Jay Stephens, then U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, was investigating then Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, and was "within 30 days" of making a decision on an indictment. Mr. Rostenkowski, who was shepherding the Clinton's economic program through Congress, eventually went to jail on mail fraud charges and was later pardoned by Mr. Clinton.

Also at the time, allegations concerning some of the Clintons' Whitewater dealings were coming to a head. By dismissing all 93 U.S. Attorneys at once, the Clintons conveniently cleared the decks to appoint "Friend of Bill" Paula Casey as the U.S. Attorney for Little Rock. Ms. Casey never did bring any big Whitewater indictments, and she rejected information from another FOB, David Hale, on the business practices of the Arkansas elite including Mr. Clinton. When it comes to "politicizing" Justice, in short, the Bush White House is full of amateurs compared to the Clintons.

This doesn't of course mean that Bush's firings weren't politically motivated. They were. They just weren't of the grotesquely criminal nature the Clintons' were. I mean really... has our society reached a point where it's criminal to fire someone for performing required tasks poorly or not performing them at all?

The supposed scandal this week is that Mr. Bush had been informed last fall that some U.S. Attorneys had been less than vigorous in pursuing voter-fraud cases and that the President had made the point to Attorney General Albert Gonzales. Voter fraud strikes at the heart of democratic institutions, and it was entirely appropriate for Mr. Bush -- or any President -- to insist that his appointees act energetically against it.

Take sacked U.S. Attorney John McKay from Washington state. In 2004, the Governor's race was decided in favor of Democrat Christine Gregoire by 129-votes on a third recount. As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and other media outlets reported, some of the "voters" were deceased, others were registered in storage-rental facilities, and still others were convicted felons. More than 100 ballots were "discovered" in a Seattle warehouse. None of this constitutes proof that the election was stolen. But it should have been enough to prompt Mr. McKay, a Democrat, to investigate, something he declined to do, apparently on grounds that he had better things to do.

In New Mexico, another state in which recent elections have been decided by razor thin margins, U.S. Attorney David Iglesias did establish a voter fraud task force in 2004. But it lasted all of 10 weeks before closing its doors, despite evidence of irregularities by the likes of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn. As our John Fund reported at the time, Acorn's director Matt Henderson refused to answer questions in court about whether his group had illegally made copies of voter registration cards in the run-up to the 2004 election.

As for some of the other fired Attorneys, at least one of their dismissals seemed to owe to differences with the Administration about the death penalty, another to questions about the Attorney's managerial skills. Not surprisingly, the dismissed Attorneys are insisting their dismissals were unfair, and perhaps in some cases they were. It would not be the first time in history that a dismissed employee did not take kindly to his firing, nor would it be the first in which an employer sacked the wrong person.

So sure this could have been handled better. But once you actually start to look at facts as opposed to innuendo, you pretty quickly figure out just how liberally biased the MSM is and just how much hot air Democratic presidential candidates are full of.

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