Smoking Gun Needed
One of the intriguing stories to come out of the US Attorney firings has been the revelation that the US Attorney for Wisconsin, Steven Biskupic, was originally on the list of USAs to be purged, probably at Karl Rove's personal behest, for failing to do his part against The Most Dangerous Scourge Facing America, namely voter fraud (also known as "voting while black"). On the other hand, he also pursued a very conveniently timed prosecution of Wisconsin's purchasing supervisor, a prosecution so shaky that a three-judge appeals panel overturned the conviction on the spot. And he somehow ended up being taken off the purge list, which suggests that that political witch hunt may very well have saved his job.
The timeline is problematic, however. Biskupic was actually placed on the purge list four months after Georgia Thompson was wrongly convicted. This does not preclude the possibility that someone at DoJ contacted him in 2005 and warned him that his job was on the line and he needed to do something to help the cause, and it doesn't mean that he wasn't spared because someone said, "Hey, I know Karl's pissed about the voter fraud thing, but Steve's shown he's a loyal Bushie. Let's take him off the list." But without any correspondence, it would be difficult to prove that anyone leaned on him, or that a June conviction led to an October/November reversal of Biskupic's purge status.
There's an interesting implication here, though. Assuming TPM's analysis in the second link is correct, Karl pushed hard for Biskupic to be put on the purge list, someone at DoJ successfully lobbied for him to be removed from it, and when the list was sent to "Karl's shop" for approval, Biskupic was not added back. So either Karl did not have the last word on all the USA firings, or someone went to bat for Biskupic and successfully talked Karl down, reminding him what a great help Biskupic was in the 2006 election. Either way, these would also be communications that I would very much like to see.
A couple of additional thoughts on the USA purge:
1) The end of this Carpetbagger post has some great examples of curious USA and DoJ activities which look even more suspicious now, and quotes Bud Cummins:
“[T]he public must perceive that every substantive decision within the department is made in a neutral and non-partisan fashion. Once the public detects partisanship in one important decision, they will follow the natural inclination to question every decision made, whether there is a connection or not.”
Absolutely. Steven Biskupic vigorously denies that his prosecution of Georgia Thompson was politically motivated, but who's going to believe him now? And thinking ahead, who here doesn't think that the Republicans won't make lemonade out of this two years from now when Democratic USAs start investigating them? Kinda like how the Ken Starr witch hunt has inoculated the Bush White House against the threat of impeachment.
2) I don't know about the general public, but I have a feeling that the Republicans will lose the techie vote for the next thirty years.