Thursday, May 24, 2007

Even The Washington Post Editorial Board Thinks Gonzogate Is Important

For a while, many in the mainstream media have sneered at the Prosecutor Purge scandal, seeing it as the attempt by Democrats to "criminalize politics." Chris Matthews said as much on Hardball early on in th scandal and the Washington Post editorial board, mostly loyal Bushies on the war, warrantless wiretapping and other controversial Bush agenda items, have either ignored the scandal or tried to minimize it.

Until today:

WHEN HE TESTIFIED before a House Judiciary subcommittee this month, former deputy attorney general James B. Comey said he was horrified by reports that the department was examining the political affiliations of lawyers being considered for career positions. "If that was going on, that strikes at the core of what the Department of Justice is," Mr. Comey said.

Yesterday, promised that her testimony could not be used against her in a criminal prosecution, Monica M. Goodling, former senior counsel to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, admitted to doing exactly that as she screened applicants for prosecutorial positions. "I know I took political considerations into account on some occasions . . . I know I crossed the line," Ms. Goodling said. This was, for the reasons Mr. Comey suggested, a sad moment for anyone who cares about the Justice Department.

It was sad, as well, that so many Republican committee members chose to ignore this ugly fact and heap praise on Ms. Goodling. "I think you have . . . shown people who are here. . . . why people in the Justice Department thought you were worthy of your job," said Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.). "Millions of Americans now know a lot more about you, and they're proud to have somebody like you serving in government," said Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) Violating the law against politicizing the civil service is no grounds for pride.

There you have one of the reasons why this scandal is important - it shows how many Repubs are proud to have administration members purging the ranks of the civil service of people who aren't "loyal Bushies" and are happy to turn every instrument of the government into a partisan bludgeon to maintain control for their party.

Which brings us to the wider emerging scandal of just who was behind using the DOJ for partisan gain. It doesn't take a genius to see that Gonzo, Monica, McNulty and Sampson at DOJ weren't REALLY behind the Prosecutor Purge, but we all have a pretty good idea who was:

In pushing prosecutors to investigate voter fraud and dumping ones who didn't perform, was the White House pursuing a legitimate prosecutorial priority or an avenue of partisan gain? The complaints from lawmakers that President Bush passed on to Mr. Gonzales and the similar involvement of Mr. Rove contain more than a whiff of political self-interest. That is a legitimate and important area for congressional inquiry, and it is looking increasingly as if the answers are to be found at the White House.

Which means subpoenas.

POSTSCRIPT: One thing the Post editorial fails to mention is how all of these allegations of voter fraud the WH was throwing around were false. That's an important piece of this, because Repub defenders have claimed that Gonzo and Company were just pushing out attorneys who weren't protecting the integrity of the election system. But as we know from many news sources and the attorneys themselves (all Republicans, btw), the vote fraud allegations were b.s. - there was no "there" there. Rather, it seems the vote fraud allegations were excuses to try and tamp down Democratic votes in swing states.

Again, it doesn't take a genius to see who might be behind that effort.

As bad as this is, doesn't it remind you of Reagan's "packing the lower courts" in the 80s?

I mean, what is the difference. That is a real question btw.
Well, Rove and Company wanted to hire only Repubs and Federalist Society members and can anybody at DOJ who wasn't a "loyal Bushie" and willing to do whatever it took (including launching phony investigations for political reasons, indicting members of the opposition party at opportune times and NOT indicting members of their own party.

That seems a bit different to me than just packing the courts w/ justices that follow your own judicial philosophy. Heck, lots of presidents have tried to do that. But I can't think of one that wanted to turn DOJ into jackboots for themselves.
Thanks for clairifying.
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