Friday, March 09, 2007

Normal and ordinary

Think Progress tells us that the despicable Karl Rove made the outrageous claim at a speech in Little Rock that "the Bush administration’s purge of federal prosecutors [wa]s "normal and ordinary". It would seem that the only thing "normal and ordinary" about the firings is that it is "normal and ordinary" for BushCo to be unprecedentedly corrupt and purge people who do their jobs properly. In other words, no good deed goes unpunished.
Clinton’s former chief of staff John Podesta told ThinkProgress that Rove’s claim is “pure fiction.” The Clinton administration never fired federal prosecutors as political retribution:

Mr. Rove’s claims today that the Bush administration’s purge of qualified and capable U.S. attorneys is “normal and ordinary” is pure fiction. Replacing most U.S. attorneys when a new administration comes in — as we did in 1993 and the Bush administration did in 2001 — is not unusual. But the Clinton administration never fired federal prosecutors as pure political retribution. These U.S. attorneys received positive performance reviews from the Justice Department and were then given no reason for their firings.

We’re used to this White House distorting the facts to blame the Clinton administration for its failures. Apparently, it’s also willing to distort the facts and invoke the Clinton administration to try to justify its bad behavior.

Earlier this week, Mary Jo White, who was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1993-2002, also stated that the Bush administration’s prosecutor purge is unprecedented in “modern history”:

You serve at the president’s pleasure, no question about that. … However, throughout modern history, my understanding is, you did not change the U.S. attorney during an administration, unless there was some evidence of misconduct or other really quite significant cause to do so. And the expectation was, so long as that was absent, that you would serve out your full four years or eight years as U.S. attorney.

As White noted, attorneys need to serve “without fear or favor and in an absolutely apolitical way.” By firing well-respected federal prosecutors and replacing them with Republican loyalists, the Bush administration has politicized the judicial system.


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