The political prosecution of eight United States Attorneys by Alberto Gonzales’ Depart of Justice is blowing up the Bush presidency more than the immoral war in Iraq ever could because this issue is something everyone can understand and rally against as being un-American in its core. The Washington Post reports Gonzales’ days are numbered as Bush’s loyal legal lapdog because Republican support for the president’s pernicious policies is finally aching away:

WASHINGTON — The White House dropped its contention Friday that former Counsel Harriet Miers first raised the idea of firing U.S. attorneys, blaming “hazy memories” as e-mails shed new light on Karl Rove’s role. Support eroded further for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Presidential press secretary Tony Snow previously had asserted Miers was the person who came up with the idea, but he said Friday, “I don’t want to try to vouch for origination.” He said, “At this juncture, people have hazy memories.”

Here’s deeper analysis of precisely why Gonzales, Bush and Rove have created such a political monster of a problem as detailed in The Political Profiling of Elected Democratic Officials: When Rhetorical Vision Participation Runs Amok by Donald C. Shields and John F. Cragan:

The Harms of Political Profiling of Elected Democratic Officials

1. Political profiling makes Democratic officials look like they are more corrupt than Republicans, just as racial minorities are made to look more corrupt than whites by the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies. However, the data on state-wide, U.S. Congress, and U.S. Senate elected officials do not support this claim.

2. Political profiling of local Democratic elected officials attacks the party at the very grassroots essence of its personality.

Each local case of reported or insinuated corruption by the federal authorities eats at and saps the local Democrat’s energy to be the grassroots leader of the party and drains his or her resources in defense against the comparative unlimited resources of the federal government.

3. Political profiling discredits each candidate’s persona as a viable leader of and spokesperson for the local Democratic party.

4. Political profiling weakens the candidate’s ability to raise monies for themselves when seeking re-election and negates their ability to raise money for other democratic candidates.

5. By keeping political profiling at the local level — in this way the story is most likely not to be viewed nationally — it makes it harder for reporters to connect the dots between corruption investigations in say Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, or Philadelphia let alone towns like Carson, Colton, East Point, or Escambia, or counties like Cherokee, Harrison, Hudson, or Lake. Each local report of a corruption investigation appears as only an isolated incident rather than as a central example of a broader pattern created by the Bush Justice Department’s unethical practice of political profiling.

This is going to be a difficult matter for the Bush administration to overcome because there is internal email verification of this plot against Democrats — that the White House itself publicly released — going as far back as 2005 with Karl Rove appearing to dictate the decision-making policy in the Department of Justice.

Watch the change in strategy from the White House as they attempt to bury this new Rove matter by suddenly appearing more “open” to discussions and public debate with the Democratic majority on tapping out of Iraq.

25 Comments

  1. Janet Reno fired 93 U.S. Attorneys but nobody really cared in the long run:

    Last Tuesday, after being on the job only 11 days, Attorney General Janet Reno had the Justice Department moving and shaking.
    She requested the prompt resignation of all 93 U.S. Attorneys around the country “to build a team” that represents “my views” and those of the President.
    Although expected eventually, the move triggered alarms at the Washington prosecutorial office, which has been probing the finances of a key Democratic floor captain, House Ways and Means chairman Dan Rostenkowski. Reno insists there was “no linkage”‘ between the dismissals and the probe, which insiders say will continue.

    Source: Time.
    Whereas, the Clinton Administration’s firing of 93 U.S. Attorneys had little effect, the firing of 8 U.S. Attorneys will likely be a huge issue in the upcoming election season because it could mean political gains for the Democrats.
    I wonder when President Clinton takes office, if she’ll refrain from firing U.S. Attorneys? We all know the answer is NO with any political patronage job.
    (I predict Hillary Clinton wins because she has the most money and all of the primaries are now front loaded. It also preserves the status quo of alternating Bush/Clinton presidencies for the foreseeable future. Get ready for Jeb and Chelsea for president signs 2016 and beyond.)
    I’m convinced both sides do and support the same things, but like to point fingers at each other in their “gotcha games.” I wonder if there are any Las Vegas odds on any political victor giving up their “spoils?” I’m sure it would be heavily weighted against that ever happening.
    I used to not understand why people weren’t interested in politics, but the older I get, the more jaded I become. Both parties have become corrupt with their drunken orgy of power and like keeping the public so outraged that it keeps voter participation at 50% and lower levels. The Democrats acting outraged about something they did themselves when it was alleged they wanted to stop investigations into their corruption is pure hypocrisy. Unfortunately, the GOP is the same as the Democrats — they just haven’t had the same amount of time to steal as much.
    The question is who can replace them and not become corrupted by the lure of easy money and all of the power that comes from being seated in Washington?

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  2. Chris —
    At the start of every new presidential term, all US Attorneys are asked to resign. Some stay. Some go. Regan did this, Clinton did this, Bush I did this Bush II did this — but not other president has done this kind of witch-hunt with two years remaining in office.
    Only Bush II has cherry-picked the firing of these US Attorneys for political gain because those attorneys were non-political and refused to do the White House’s bidding in either stopping prosecutions of Republicans or in refusing to investigate faked insinuations there was “voter fraud” only in districts where Democrats won.
    Here’s the view from the Guardian citing, rather profoundly, Rove’s role in these political firings:

    It is not unusual for presidents to shake up the team of prosecutors, known as United States attorneys, when they take office – Bush administration officials point out that President Clinton dismissed all 93 at the start of his first term.
    However, Democrats say the eight sacked in January 2005 lost their jobs because they had resisted Republican pressure to speed up investigations into alleged Democratic election wrongdoing.
    Attention is now also being focused on whether any role played by Bush administration staff in the affair was covered up.
    The Senate Judiciary Committee has ordered justice department officials to give evidence in an investigation into what happened. The panel will vote next week on subpoenas to oblige Mr Rove to appear, as well as former White House counsel Harriet Miers.
    The newly released emails “show conclusively that Karl Rove was in the middle of this mess from the beginning,” said one Democratic senator, Charles Schumer.
    “Every time new information comes out, it proves that the White House was not telling the truth.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2035740,00.html

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  3. Here’s more information on the plan’s genesis from inside the White House. “USA” means “United States Attorney” and they are required by law to be non-political and impervious to political pressure or interest. They are not the president’s personal attorneys are not allowed to do his political bidding:

    Rove and other White House officials also forwarded complaints that U.S. attorneys were not doing enough to prosecute voter fraud.
    Since the 2000 presidential election ended in dispute in Florida, Republicans have repeatedly raised concerns about possible voter fraud, alleging that convicted felons and other ineligible voters have been permitted to cast ballots to the benefit of Democrats.
    Congressional committees yesterday requested that Rove testify before them about the firings; the House Judiciary Committee also requested that Miers appear.
    The e-mails show that Rove was interested in the appointment of a former aide, Tim Griffin, as an Arkansas prosecutor. Sampson wrote in one that “getting him appointed was important to Harriet, Karl, etc.”
    Sampson sent an e-mail to Miers in March 2005 that ranked all 93 U.S. attorneys. Strong performers “exhibited loyalty” to the administration; low performers were “weak U.S. attorneys who have been ineffectual managers and prosecutors, chafed against Administration initiatives, etc.” A third group merited no opinion.
    At least a dozen prosecutors were on a “target list” to be fired at one time or another, the e-mails show. …
    Sampson also strongly urged bypassing Congress in naming replacements, using a little-known power slipped into the renewal of the USA Patriot Act in March 2006 that allows the attorney general to name interim replacements without Senate confirmation.
    “I am only in favor of executing on a plan to push some USAs out if we really are ready and willing to put in the time necessary to select candidates and get them appointed,” Sampson wrote in a Sept. 17 memo to Miers. “It will be counterproductive to DOJ operations if we push USAs out and then don’t have replacements ready to roll immediately.
    “I strongly recommend that as a matter of administration, we utilize the new statutory provisions that authorize the AG to make USA appointments,” he wrote.
    By avoiding Senate confirmation, Sampson added, “we can give far less deference to home state senators and thereby get 1.) our preferred person appointed and 2.) do it far faster and more efficiently at less political costs to the White House.”

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  4. Doesn’t Chris make a good point that these people are corrupt and it doesn’t matter what political beliefs they hold. How can we get rid of them.

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  5. Hi Arin —
    Yes, Chris is certainly right that all politicians are corrupt in some way. They’re corrupted mainly by money contributed to their campaigns and the biggest contributors expect to be “taken care of” by those they support.

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  6. The big deal with the topic of today’s post, arin, is the fact that the Bush administration is unduly politicizing the US Attorneys for their narrow, and self-interested political ends. US Attorneys are required to be independent and not mandated by politics. They are required only follow the law.

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  7. Hi David,
    It’s just another sign that power corrupts and we always have to be on guard against anyone who is given authority, since the temptation is to always take advantage of it.

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  8. I agree, Chris! That’s why I’m so grateful we have a return to more of a checks and balances system. With the Democrat majority and the power once again to oversee and consult and subpoena — even against the wishes of the Executive Branch — is a welcome return to balancing the governing power in America.
    I think the next two years are really going to be ugly for Bush and his ilk as more and more illegal threats and intimidation come seeping out of the woodwork.
    The rule of law, not men, will save us all.

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  9. From The Politico:

    Key figures in both parties believe Gonzales, who first went to work for George W. Bush as his general counsel in the Texas governor’s office in 1995, will wind up resigning over the imbroglio. “I think he’s gone,” said a Republican official close to Bush. Gonzales would not be fired, key officials said, and the White House continued to say over the weekend that he has Bush’s “full confidence.” Republicans point out that Bush may not want to undergo the bloodletting that would be involved in trying to win confirmation of a Gonzales successor. And Democrats admit that even if Gonzales departed, that would not sate their insistence on hearing from Rove and other White House officials who were involved.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0307/3175.html

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  10. From the Wall Street Journal:

    Attorney General Alberto Gonzales initially had asserted the firings were performance-related, not based on political considerations. But emails released last week between the Justice Department and the White House contradicted that assertion and led to a public apology from Mr. Gonzales over the handling of the matter.
    The emails showed that Mr. Rove, as early as Jan. 6, 2005, questioned whether the U.S. attorneys should all be replaced at the start of Mr. Bush’s second term, and to some degree worked with Ms. Miers and former Gonzales chief of staff Kyle Sampson to get some prosecutors dismissed.
    Additional emails are expected to be released this week to the Senate and House Judiciary committees. Each committee planned votes on subpoenas for Mr. Rove and Ms. Miers. The Senate committee already has approved using subpoenas, if necessary, for Justice Department officials and J. Scott Jennings, deputy to White House political director Sara Taylor, who works for Mr. Rove.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117423441606240747.html

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  11. Hi David,
    It should be an interesting time these next couple of days. I was listening to John Gibson on the satellite for a few minutes earlier tonight and he said Bush should dump Gonzalez now to stop the scandal stories and because it was a bad move that hurt the GOP.
    Have you seen the “unauthorized” Vote Barack Obama ad that is floating around the Internet? It’s very interesting — maybe Web 2.0 will make the difference in this election.
    From the San Francisco Chronicle:

    It may be the most stunning and creative attack ad yet for a 2008 presidential candidate — one experts say could represent a watershed moment in 21st century media and political advertising.
    Yet the groundbreaking 74-second pitch for Democratic Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, which remixes the classic “1984” ad that introduced Apple computers to the world, is not on cable or network TV, but on the Internet.
    (To see the video, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h3G-lMZxjo)
    And Obama’s campaign says it had absolutely nothing to do with the video that attacks one of his principal Democratic rivals, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Indeed, the ad’s creator is a mystery, at least for now.

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  12. Hey Chris —
    I’m not so sure Gonzales will leave. I think they will hunker down and hide their heads because if Gonzales goes — who will they be able to push through the confirmation hearings that will have the same unwitting loyalty to White House politics?
    I’m hearing rumors of a Gore-Obama ticket. Now THAT would be interesting! The Denied and the Future seeking revenge in The Now. Delicious!
    I did watch that Obama ad the other day. I thought it would’ve been even better if it were Gore and not Obama at its core. 😀 That would REALLY be breaking a new path from the past.

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  13. Hi David,
    Now that you mention it, it would have been a perfect way for Gore to break from the past. I wonder if we’ll see anything interesting coming from Gore — after all his Current television channel solicits ground breaking video from young contributors every couple of minutes.

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  14. Chris —
    Gore Watch will be ever-fascinating. He’d be smart to just hang around and watch and be available and then if there’s a move to be made in October, he might jump in to see what happens.
    Gore/Hagel would also make a tempting duo. 😀

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  15. UPDATE:
    Gonzales replacements are sought:

    Republican officials operating at the behest of the White House have begun seeking a possible successor to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose support among GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has collapsed, according to party sources familiar with the discussions.
    Among the names floated Monday by administration officials are Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and White House anti-terrorism coordinator Frances Townsend. Former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson is a White House prospect. So is former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson, but sources were unsure whether he would want the job.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0307/3202.html

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  16. From The Washington Post:

    U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald was ranked among prosecutors who had “not distinguished themselves” on a Justice Department chart sent to the White House in March 2005, when he was in the midst of leading the CIA leak investigation that resulted in the perjury conviction of a vice presidential aide, administration officials said yesterday.
    The ranking placed Fitzgerald below “strong U.S. Attorneys . . . who exhibited loyalty” to the administration but above “weak U.S. Attorneys who . . . chafed against Administration initiatives, etc.,” according to Justice documents.
    The chart was the first step in an effort to identify U.S. attorneys who should be removed. Two prosecutors who received the same ranking as Fitzgerald were later fired, documents show.
    Fitzgerald’s ranking adds another dimension to the prosecutor firings, which began as a White House proposal to remove all 93 U.S. attorneys after the 2004 elections and evolved into the coordinated dismissal of eight last year, a move that has infuriated lawmakers and led to calls for Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to resign.

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