This morning, Sen. Orrin "Never Met A Bushie I Couldn't Defend" Hatch got his panties in a twist on Meet the Press:
HATCH: "This has been badly handled by people…not by Judge Gonzales, but by others….These are top flight people, doing a terrific job…."
HATCH: "I have never seen him prevaricate. I have never seen him do anything that was wrong." (Vouching for AG Gonzales' credibility.)
HATCH: Boy, I'll tell you, there ought to at least be some evidence that something was really wrong here and uh, and uh, to imply that there was criminal activity…And in the Monica Goodling case. Let's be honest about it. Her attorney…it was one of the most gutsy letter…letters I have ever seen. He's says that the atmosphere is so poisoned on the Judiciary Committee, with no real justification, that he's not going to put her through it because, uh, you never know how they would miscontrue what she has to say.
RUSSERT: Sen. Hatch, let me ask you a simple question, however, if in fact the Preseident decides that Mr. Gonzales should step down…
HATCH (interrupting): Well, now, that's the President's decision. (Read in an unctuous tone.)
RUSSERT: And the President came to you and asked you to be the next AG, would you do it?
Sen. Hatch demurs and says he'd be awfully hard to confirm, all the while scowling about what meanies the Democrats are for asking questions. And then says that Gonzales is incapable of lying. (And says it with a straight face.)
Kudos to Sen. Pat Leahy for maintaining a straight face throughout this whole appearance. I think I would have found myself falling out of my chair laughing at Hatch's blustering, knickers in a twist performance. Leahy did manage to tweak Hatch for "actively campaigning" for the AG position this week (am still not certain if he was kidding, or if he was really tweaking him for it — but either way, it was hilarious.)
From the WaPo this morning:
No other administration in contemporary times has had such a clear pattern of filling chief prosecutors' jobs with its own staff members, said experts on U.S. attorney's offices. Those experts said the emphasis in appointments traditionally has been on local roots and deference to home-state senators, whose support has been crucial to win confirmation of the nominees.
The pattern from Bush's second term suggests that the dismissals were half of a two-pronged approach: While getting rid of prosecutors who did not adhere closely to administration priorities, such as rigorous pursuit of immigration violations and GOP allegations of voter fraud, White House and Justice officials have seeded federal prosecutors' offices with people on whom they can depend to carry out the administration's agenda.
Seems to me that this question is not going away any time soon. Nor should it. Politicizing the rule of law and standards of justice for your own political ends over every other consideration? Now THAT pisses me off. (And you know that the Bush Administration is doing a crap job of damage control when even Weekly Standard stalwarts are calling them incompetent. Heckuva job, Bushie!)
Today's runner-up April Fool: Sen. Mitch "Double Standard" McConnell.
Alternate runners-up: Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham. St. McCain, who continues his "downtown Baghdad is a shopping extravaganza" tour today:
"The American people are not getting the full picture of what's happening here. They're not getting the full picture of the drop in murders, the establishment of security outposts throughout the city, the situation in Anbar province, the deployment of additional Iraqi brigades which are performing well, and other signs of progress having been made," said McCain, of Arizona.
He said the Republican congressional delegation he led to Iraq drove from Baghdad's airport to the center of the city, citing that as proof that security was improving in the capital. Prominent visitors normally make the trip by helicopter.
The delegation was accompanied by heavily armed U.S. troops when they were not in the Green Zone, site of the U.S. Embassy and Iraqi government. They traveled in armored military vehicles under heavy guard….
The delegation, which also included Rep. Mike Pence, a Republican from Indiana, and Rep. Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican, spoke glowingly of an hour they spent in the Bab al-Sharqi market which was hit by a suicide bomber on Jan. 22. At least 88 people died in the attack. (emphasis mine)
Sen. Graham then went on to say during the presser from Baghdad today that he got "five rugs for five bucks." Yes, Senator, it's all about the bargain hunting, and I'm certain that the troops in your heavily armored vehicles were so happy to help you save a buck or two as they risked their lives for your hour-long photo-op, before you scurried back to the Green Zone in your heavily armored vehicles with armed escorts.