Sunday, March 18, 2007

"Keep your eye on Karl Rove, people"

Barbara O'Brien warns us to "not lose sight of the fact that Gonzales was only following orders" and the remember that the real story is: whose orders?
Speaking of blarney … Dan Froomkin wrote yesterday,

As far as the White House public-relations machine is concerned, here is all you need to know about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year: The Justice Department made some mistakes in how it communicated that those prosecutors were let go for appropriate reasons. And, oh yes, there is no evidence that White House political guru Karl Rove ever advocated the firing of all 93 U.S. attorneys previously appointed by President Bush.

But from the very beginning of this scandal, the central question has been and remains: Was there a plot hatched in the White House to purge prosecutors who were seen as demonstrating insufficient partisanship in their criminal investigations?

Everything else is deception or distraction.

In other words — blarney.

The key question, that the White House continues to duck: Did Rove approve of — or perhps even conceive of — the idea of firing select attorneys? And if so, on what grounds? The latest e-mails certainly indicate that he was involved very early on.

Right now, Washington is engaged in feverish speculation about whether Gonzales is in his last days, or even moments, as attorney general. But as I wrote in my Wednesday column, Gonzales is a diversion.

There’s rampant speculation that Gonzales will lose his job over this scandal. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that Gonzales was only following orders. He’s a piss-poor attorney general, but until recently he’s been an effective political operative for Karl Rove and George Bush, and that is the job they hired him to do.

That’s why it isn’t terribly surprising that Republicans in Washington want Gonzales to go away. They probably realize that the longer Gonzales stays, the more time people will have to connect dots. But Nico at Think Progress says President Bush doesn’t yet understand this.

President Bush is the main force holding up the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, GOP sources say tonight. CBS News reports:

    Republicans close to the White House tell CBS News chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod that President Bush is in “his usual posture: pugnacious, that no one is going to tell him who to fire.” But sources also said Gonzales’ firing is just a matter of time.

    The White House is bracing for a weekend of criticism and more calls for Gonzales to go. One source tells CBS News he’s never seen the administration in such deep denial, and Republicans are growing increasingly restless for the president to take action.

Froomkin writes that if “the story” becomes centered on Alberto Gonzales and whether he will keep his job, media could lose sight of the real perpetrator. “Keep your eye on Karl Rove, people,” he said.

As was said yesterday, the real reason the U.S. attorney firings are a scandal is that prosecutors were purged because they refused to use their offices for partisan political purposes. They were either prosecuting Republicans too vigorously or not prosecuting Democrats vigorously enough. The purged attorneys failed to understand that evidence didn’t matter; only politics.

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