Saturday, April 21, 2007

We Need Special Prosecutor to Babysit Bush His Last Two Years

Almost every day a new scandal breaks out that involves the Bush Administration. I can understand the arguments that impeachment is not politically viable in the current environment but it's clearly time for Congress to appoint a special prosecutor. It's apparent that Alberto Gonzales and the entire Justice Department are so utterly under the thrall of the White House that we can no longer expect an independent Justice Department to investigate wrong-doing by government officials since those same officials are often politically protected by the White House.

On Slate, Dahlia Lithwick points to a revelation at the Alberto Gonzales hearings that makes clear the integrity of the White House is at all-time low:
One of the finest moments comes when Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., busts out a big, big chart. Which happens after almost everyone has gone home. The chart compares the Clinton protocol for appropriate contacts between the White House and the DoJ on pending criminal cases with the Bush protocol. According to Whitehouse, the Clinton protocol authorized just four folks at the White House to chat with three folks at Justice. The chart had four boxes talking to three boxes. Out comes the Bush protocol, and now 417 different people at the White House have contacts about pending criminal cases with 30-some people at Justice. You can just see zillions of small boxes nattering back and forth. It seems that just about everyone in the White House, including the guys in the mailroom, had a vote on ongoing criminal matters.

It's not the job of the Justice Department to do the political bidding of the President; it is the job of the Justice Department to uphold the laws of this nation and to guard those laws with reasonable caution from political interference. The United States became a nation when King George III sought to subvert the law (he, the king, in his own estimation, being the law—or 'the Decider') for his own political ends. We should not forget that Benjamin Franklin threw in with the break from England after being deliberately humiliated by what amounted to a political lynching by the king's ministers and cronies. Respect for the law and putting those laws in writing with a document that outlined what the government could do and not do was what our country was founded on; deciding on a republic was simply part of how those laws were to be implemented, changed from time to time and respected without arbitrary change by those who are the most powerful.

Washington and the media can no longer avoid or make light of the fact that the White House over six years has repeatedly been violating hundreds of laws with impunity, and in some cases, the violations have occurred quite literally millions of times as in the illegal use of e-mails on Republican National Committee accounts as a way of avoiding legal requirements to keep track of government business from the White House—the people's business, mind you.

The New York Times has an editorial on the Alberto Gonzales hearings:
If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had gone to the Senate yesterday to convince the world that he ought to be fired, it’s hard to imagine how he could have done a better job, short of simply admitting the obvious: that the firing of eight United States attorneys was a partisan purge.

Mr. Gonzales came across as a dull-witted apparatchik incapable of running one of the most important departments in the executive branch.

I first used the word 'apparatchik' back in 2003 on the AOL message boards. I was criticized for being shrill which generally was not the case with most of my posts at the time. Since I was trying to reach moderates and perhaps even rational conservatives, I dropped the term though I felt it accurately described the political public relations types that seemed to be orchestrating so many press releases and conferences during that period. When The New York Times starts using such a term, we know, four years later, that there has been a sea change in how President Bush is viewed by a majority of Americans these days.

We have a crisis and the only proper way to deal with that crisis is to hold George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and many of the top Bush Administration advisers accountable. It's time for a special prosecutor—the blatant corruption at the top of the Justice Department makes that evident. Congress needs to appoint a special prosecutor who can begin to restore a sense of integrity where in fact it must exist: among those who are charged with upholding the law. What is apparent is that the US Attorneys who were fired, although they were all Republicans appointed by Bush, were largely fired for not doing the political bidding of an increasingly corrupt White House. It is time to recognize that we have a problem. Our democracy is bleeding. And Congress must act.

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