Monday, March 19, 2007

Then and now

Following up on right-wing claims that the words "normal & ordinary" describe the U.S. Attorney purge, Glenn Greenwald attempts to clarify the facts and expose the hypocrisy & deceit of the BushCo enablers.

The fundamental difference between (a) a new administration replacing all U.S. attorneys (as multiple Presidents have done -- including Clinton, Reagan and even Bush 41) and (b) cherry-picking ones for firing in the middle of an administration, has been amply documented. Alberto Gonzales' own Chief of Staff recognized the unprecedented nature of what they were planning in an email he wrote to the White House.

Nonetheless, Republicans sought in 1993 to depict the routine and standard replacement of U.S. attorneys by the Clinton administration as some sort of grave scandal which threatened prosecutorial independence and was deeply corrupt. Yet now, people like The Wall St. Journal's Paul Gigot -- one of the most vocal critics of the 1993 U.S. attorneys replacement -- insist that the President has the absolute right to fire any U.S. attorneys at any time and for any reason.


The beginning of the Clinton administration was really the birth of the all-out right-wing filth and noise machine, and -- working with Republican Congressional leaders -- it attempted to convert a completely routine decision by the Clinton administration to replace all U.S. attorneys into some sort of explosive corruption scandal. And yet these are the same people, and the same faction, which now insists that there is absolutely nothing wrong with firing U.S. attorneys at any time and that the President has the unfettered right to do so -- even in the unprecedented circumstance of singling prosecutors out and replacing them in the middle of the President's term.

It's literally the same people who defend President Bush today by saying the exact opposite of what they said in 1993. Yes, that is extremely common for them to do. And yes, there is nothing surprising about it. But it is still worth noting, particularly when the dishonesty is as glaring and inescapable as it is in this case.


And as ArchPundit documents, the practice of replacing all U.S. attorneys at the start was customary even before the Reagan administration. What the Clinton administration did (that provoked such contrived outrage) was what every administration had been doing and is what the Bush 43 administration itself did back in 2001.

What none of those administrations did -- until now -- was cherry-pick a list of prosecutors to be fired in the middle of the administration for clearly political purposes and then lie to Congress (and the country) about what happened. Why -- when journalists hear the "Clinton-did-it-too" claim or the "there-is-nothing-wrong-with-firing-prosecutors" excuse -- are they so incapable of just pointing out these easily discovered facts?


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