Holy Festering Turdblossoms!
Good heavens. Someone at the NYTimes had their Wheaties this morning:
During the hearing on his nomination as attorney general, Alberto Gonzales said he understood the difference between the job he held — President Bush’s in-house lawyer — and the job he wanted, which was to represent all Americans as their chief law enforcement officer and a key defender of the Constitution. Two years later, it is obvious Mr. Gonzales does not have a clue about the difference.
He has never stopped being consigliere to Mr. Bush’s imperial presidency. If anyone, outside Mr. Bush’s rapidly shrinking circle of enablers, still had doubts about that, the events of last week should have erased them….
Funny how Alberto Gonzales got shifted into the hot seat this week, just as a spotlight began to shine on the White House — and Karl Rove — isn't it? Not that Gonzales doesn't deserve a heaping helping of scorn, but let's step back a moment and contemplate who gives marching orders to whom in the White House pecking order. And who has a history of shifting blame off himself at all costs.
TPM has a series of articles that walk through the hints that have been tossed out the last few days about Rove's involvement in the USAttorney firings. First, from McClatchey:
Presidential advisor Karl Rove and at least one other member of the White House political team were urged by the New Mexico Republican party chairman to fire the state's U.S. attorney because of dissatisfaction in part with his failure to indict Democrats in a voter fraud investigation in the battleground election state.
Then from Newsweek:
But where did the list of particular U.S. attorneys to fire come from? Two senior Justice officials, who didn't want to be named discussing the dismissals, tell NEWSWEEK that Kyle Sampson, Gonzales's chief of staff, developed the list of eight prosecutors to be fired last October — with input from the White House. In a recent statement, the White House said it approved the firings, but didn't sign off on specific names.
And an odd quote from early February in the WaPo, referring to people outside the DoJ who make personnel decisions. (a/k/a The White House political machine run by, you guessed it, Karl Rove — the man has more fingers in more pies than Little Jack Horner.)
All of this — from the USAttorney firings through to the NSA domestic spying and the overreach by the FBI in warrantless information grabs comes straight from the top in terms of lax attitude toward Constitutional and civil rights protections, and the question of individual civil liberties versus the unilateral executive overreach that is the hallmark of the Bush Administration. Jack Cafferty has it absolutely right here (H/T C&L):
Well, there's a climate in Washington, beginning with the passage of the Patriot Act and the NSA spying and the trolling through bank records and the trolling through opening people's mail and all of the other things that have gone on under the guise of the war on terror and keeping us safe that have created, I think, a climate where this kind of thing is — is sort of, you know, it's a wink and a nod and you do it the most expedient way possible, whether it's legal or not, because there's been no oversight of any of this stuff for the last six years.
And so people have learned that there's no accountability. They don't have to worry about it. And, you know, they to pretty much whatever they want to do. It's — it's — it's horrible. But I think there's, you know, there's a climate that exists in Washington — or at least has — that's allowed this kind of stuff to take root and grow.
Glenn has much more on this, and how, once again, the buck stops at the White House, whether they admit it to themselves or not. If I were Gonzales, I'd keep one nostril on the hunt for the festering scent of turdblossom coming up from behind — Gonzales has less-than-clean hands on any of this, but if anyone is covered in political muck in this mess, it is Rove. (Froomkin had much more on this question in Friday's White House Watch, and it is well worth a read.)
It is well past time for some accountability. And this time, let's keep on asking questions until we actually get some thorough and complete answers. And while we're at it — how about standing up for the rule of law and the Constitution and Bill of Rights for a change?