Monday, March 26, 2007
Not All Politics Are The Same
I've been reluctant to do much posting on the US Attorneys scandal, mainly because there's already so much quality coverage elsewhere (TPM and McClatchy in particular stand out.) But in her New Yorker article about the firings, Dorothy Wickendon offers a simple, one-sentence summary of just what the big deal is:
Assembling a compatible legal team is one thing; expecting its members to tailor individual investigations to partisan demands is another.
Republicans are trying to confuse the issue by blurring the various meanings of "politics". It is normal for Presidential appointees, including US Attorneys, to toe a political line when "political" refers to policy (ie. prosecutorial priorities). That's why this was the DoJ's first line of defense for the firings.
This isn't what happened, GOP claims to the contrary. Most of the eight US Attorneys were fired for not bowing to pressure that was political in the partisan sense of the word, intended to influence elections: by smearing local Democrats in certain cases, and to deflect negative publicity from the GOP in others. That's the distinction that needs to be made.