The firing of eight US attorneys was handled badly the left and right can both agree on this. That said, Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had the right to fire them. There are a few cases where you could make the argument that it was politically motivated. After reading piles and piles of information on this case, I’m still not sure who’s right whether these US attorneys deserved to lose their jobs or whether they didn’t. This is still a lose-lose for the administration. If these were perfectly competent attorneys, then no matter what kind of spin you put on it, there’s definitely a discrepancy between what the AG and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty have said on this matter. Somebody lied, or under the most charitable interpretation, one of the two was misinformed. Either way, it doesn’t make the administration look all that good.
In a Salon article written by Mark Folman, it’s alleged that the firings were politically motivated. It’s interesting to me that the salon article doesn’t put any names to the allegations that the firings were politically motivated except for David Iglesias (one of the former US attorneys who has spoken out), only referencing senior Justice Department officials and so forth. If the allegations came from someone other than McNulty, that’s one thing. But if McNulty has already claimed this, then wouldn’t the anonymity be blown already with his public statements? The only conclusion we can draw from this is that there are others who are not willing to go on the record with their claims. That’s certainly understandable. However, I have a harder time believing unnamed random sources whose stories cannot be verified. The article in Salon also points out that federal appointments are never apolitical. So what exactly is the problem again? It’s not that Gonzales fired the attorneys, it’s that all parties involved in the decision gave different reasons for why these US attorney lost their jobs.
Given that information, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that there might be some kind of cover-up or scandal here. That’s not the case. Both sides don’t trust each other. Congress doesn’t trust the administration to give them the straight story on anything. The Bush administration, likewise, doesn’t trust the Democratic-controlled Congress. There are good reasons for this distrust, especially from the Bush administration. The Democrats, easily distracted from their mission of making America more dependent on government charity and bravely ordering the retreat from Iraq as well as wiping out poverty, have gotten bored with the actual policy-making their job requires, and have decided to investigate the heck out of anyone remotely associated with the President of the United States. Because, ya know…they might eventually find something.
It’s never the seriousness of the offense, but rather the seriousness of the charge. That’s all that matters to the Democrats. Karl Rove must have done something wrong…darned if we know what it is. They couldn’t pin any of the Libby stuff on him, but that’s only because he is such an evil genius and gets away with everything. If he had done even half of what he’s accused of doing, he would be very scary indeed.
I am opposed to fishing expeditions. They were wrong in the past and they are wrong now. That’s a good reason, I think, for the President’s hesitation on allowing Karl Rove to give testimony to Congress. There have been no limits set on what they can ask him, and what’s to prevent Democrats from asking him questions, not only about attorney-gate but about the Scooter Libby trial? These Dems won’t rest until they get a scalp from this administration. Like I said before, I don’t blame Bush for not wanting to offer up Karl Rove to the wolves under those circumstances.
On the other hand, there are legitimate questions about how this whole thing was handled, and Congress deserves answers about that. So if Congress wishes to ask questions about this matter, I don’t see the problem. Talk to the AG. Talk to the Deputy AG. Talk to the folks actually involved in the hiring/ firing decisions at Justice. Somebody needs to be accountable for this, but Im not sure the bulk of the blame rests with Karl Rove. However, if I were the President, I would have to ask that the inquiry be limited to this particular subject. Frankly, theres no way this happens if the Dems get Karl Rove under oath.
The Democrats dont have a legitimate reason to impeach Bush or Cheney. They also dont have much of a case against Karl Rove, even though they may think that they do. There is more of a reason to question Alberto Gonzales, and I think its only right that he answer those questions. But as abhorrent as the idea may be to call for the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, I think its the right thing to do. There is more than one reason why he was never the right guy to be Attorney General, and this incident only serves to illustrate why many Republicans had reservations about him from the beginning. Of course this means the Democrats get their victory, but keeping Alberto Gonzales on as Attorney General at this point will do more harm than good for the administration.