23 March 2007

Just stop it, please

Wow. One off-the-cuff post about the US Attorney scandal really brought out the right-wing trolls. Which is in itself fine, since I realize that a lot of readers of this blog are right of center. No offense to the sensible conservatives out there, but to the trolls:

Stop being stupid.

In particular, I am referring to the "Clinton fired all the US Attorneys, so there's no scandal when Bush fired some of his" argument which I have heard from multiple commenters and in personal emails. (Strangely, the emails have been far more vulgar and abusive than the comments; most all are anonymous.)

I'll explain this slowly and using small words for you:

US Attorneys are all political appointees, and at the beginning of a new administration they are all replaced with new appointees, just like the Cabinet and other political appointees. So yes, Clinton replaced all 93 US Attorneys at the beginning of his administration, just as GW Bush and Reagan did at the beginning of theirs.

This is different.

Allegedly (and once again, I am not claiming special insight or certainty) the AG's office in concert with political operatives in the White House selectively fired US Attorneys who they deemed not loyal to the Bush administration.

This is an abuse of power; the President clearly has the right to fire his employees at will, but the targeting of prosecutors who investigated republicans or failed to investigate democrats is clearly an attempt to use the power of the Department of Justice for political, partisan purposes, or at least to influence and undermine the independence of the US Attorneys. One need only look at the Watergate scandal for the corollary -- Nixon had articles of impeachment drawn up in no small part for the Saturday Night Massacre, in which he summarily dismissed the special prosecutor who was investigating the Watergate scandal.

There are differences between the two situations. For one, there is (as yet) no indication that the President was involved in the 2006 prosecutor purge. And of course, the US Attorneys targeted were not investigating the White House. So there is a huge disparity in the degree of gravity between the two cases. It seems that culpability in this case rests with the office of the AG and possibly the White House Counsel/Rove.

All Americans -- right or left -- should be disturbed by this abuse of power. The Department of Justice should never be used as a political tool. There is evidence of exactly that occuring. For example, a study published in 2006 showed that in the four years between 2000-2004, DoJ investigations of local elected officials targeted Democrats eight times more often than republicans! That this is derived out of partisan purposes is inarguable. Nobody with a shred of intellectual honesty can argue that local Democrats are an order of magnitude more corrupt that republicans. (Indeed, at the national level, the opposite would seem to be the case.)

So, to the conservative trolls out there, if you wish to support this abuse of the power of the Department of Justice, pause a moment and imagine what it will be like should President Clinton or Obama decide that turnabout is fair play and fill the offices of the US Attorneys with partisan hacks under orders to investigate only republicans and give the free pass to Democrats.

Payback can be hell.


  1. Payback can be hell indeed. Can you imagine Democratic USA's targetting only businesses that gave money to republican candidates for immigration raids? What about looking into the party that not only was in power for the last 12 years, but prohibited lobbyist from talking to the Dems? Right now, all of the corruption is on the Republicans because the Republicans made it that way. They took ALL of the power for themselves, and with it all of the bribes.

    The problem is obviously not the 8 they fired, but the others whose loyalty was to their party first and their country second. Why shouldn't Hillary do the same thing?

  2. A history of AG firings by the LA Times. Mostly started with Reagan.

  3. What cracks me up is that the GOP is supposed to be the party of states' rights, personal liberties, and hands-off government. Oh, don't you dare take my guns; I might need them someday, like the Founding Fathers did, to defend myself against an unjust and abusive government. Don't you dare use my tax money for your stupid social programs. Don't you dare tell me how to think or feel about my fellow humans.

    Riiight. And meanwhile, they meddle in the affairs of citizens, telling them whom they can marry and how to make big decisions like if and when to have kids. And as for guns, an AK is of exactly no use at all against a political appointee with the power to ruin your life, from a desk in Washington.

    But I guess it's okay to abuse the resources and power of the government against political opponents, so long as it's liberal moonbats who are the targets. "Aw, grow a pair," they say. "If you can't take it, don't play in the big leagues." Well, batter up, kids. We've reached the second half of this inning, and the right is going to need to play some defense for a change.

    As you say, payback can be a bitch. I have a feeling there will be a whole lot more pissed-off liberals, and fewer of the meek, over-analytical ones, very soon. The moderates are already there. This stuff can't go unaccounted for.

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  5. if the conservatives really believe there is nothing wrong with what the bush justice department has done with their attorney purge, they need to ask themselves what they'd feel like if the roles were reversed. let's imagine hillary gets elected in '08 for instance. okay, if you can bring yourself back to consciousness, righties, imagine then that she decides ANY us attorney (who she has already appointed and pre-screened before hiring, remember) that does not aggressively push for incredibly stepped up gun crimes prosecutions gets canned immediately. to the point where it's universally accepted that it's dumb to even own a gun, because the slightest infraction is guaranteeing yourself prison time.

    i mean, granted, republicans will sociopathically defend the bush regime at all costs, but, come on, if things go the way they've been going, chances are your party is losing the white house in two years.

    ask yourself, then, if you REALLY think all this stuff is tolerable and the president's right, when you imagine a democratic president doing the same thing in a few years.

    yeah, it doesn't seem so noble anymore, does it?

    imagine, just imagine, the high pitched whine that would emanate from the right wing. and that would be non-stop.

    in fact, why stop at firing 9 us attorneys? let's do 20. in fact, 50 sounds like a nice round number.

    let's be clear. you don't shill for the clinton white house at all costs? you don't make it damn clear from day one that you're gonna drag your feet and do everything you can to stall prosecutions/investigations of democrats, and to blindly go after republicans like an attack dog no matter how small-time and vague the evidence is against them?

    you're ass is fucking GONE!! see you later bozo! don't let the door hit you on the way out.

    and hey, you got any more complaints after that, republicans? you got any more bitching to do about the fact that you were given your walking papers because of politics? go cry to a republican, they'll set you straight on just how appropriate us canning your ass was. and they'll tell you the meaning of serving at the pleasure of the president, you big whining cry baby.

    see ya!

  6. Looks like a Hillary! circle jerk in here.


  7. Yes, we can all sleep much better when all these self righteous lefties have the power.

  8. self-righteous lefties, eh?

    last time i checked only one party had a leader who said his favorite philosopher was jesus (granted, probably because he couldn't think of another name), and also natters on and on about how jesus is guiding him in all the decisions he makes.

    and that party wasn't of the left.


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