Tuesday :: Mar 20, 2007

It's Time To Draw That Line

by Steve

The Post runs a Page One in Wednesday's paper reflecting the internal disarray within the Justice Department in the firing of the federal prosecutors and the administration response to congressional pressure. The story, culled from the newest batch of emails released yesterday, points out that the White House was directly involved in preparing the testimony this month by Justice that attempted to direct the heat away from the Oval Office. The story makes a flawed assertion however when it states that there is little evidence from these emails that the White House fired these attorneys for political reasons, when in fact these emails are strictly from the Justice Department server; there is nothing in the newest batch that came from the White House.

The truth still remains that a political hit list was drawn up inside the White House to rank these attorneys on their loyalty to Bush and not on their performance; that the rationale for these firings has changed several times as each reason fell apart under scrutiny; that the list of targets changed due to pressure from Republicans around the country on corruption cases and petty personal backbiting inside Justice; that there was an organized effort from the White House to provide misleading testimony to Congress; that the White House wants to avoid at all costs going under oath on this; and that the AG and his senior aides not only mismanaged the department but were willing participants in the White House's efforts to politicize the federal prosecutors. These reasons alone merit subpoenas and yes, a constitutional crisis that once and for all forces a GOP court system to validate the unitary executive if it has the guts to do so, knowing that a President Hillary Clinton may be the next beneficiary of such an endorsement.

The issue of our times, indeed the issue for the modern Democratic Party is whether or not this group of Democratic leaders has the stomach to wage that fight even if they lose. It is not a partisan issue: legislative branch prerogatives hang in the balance here because the Congress will be eviscerated if this fight is not waged now. If the Democrats fail to force this issue now, their entire ability to oversee this administration and provide any kind of check and balance will evaporate. We will never find out what happened with the Cheney Energy Task Force; what happened with the prewar intelligence; what happened with the corruption and mismanagement of the occupation; and what happened on a host of issues where the American taxpayers deserve an accounting. But finally, failure to fight the Bush White House here would simply validate the Cheney approach to lie to Congress without consequence.

And yes, there is another issue here as well. Democrats have watched in horror these last six years as their party leaders inside the Beltway have shrunk from their obligations to their party and country to provide an effective opposition and alternative. We have lost a good deal of our Bill of Rights during this time right underneath the noses of the Congress, and our foreign policy is by decree. The Democratic leadership needs to demonstrate now that it is worthy of the support given to it by not only the party but also millions of independent voters last November.

Failure to say "enough" to this cabal now, even if it risks a loss in the courts down the road, will have severe political consequences. Independents will observe that there really is no difference between the parties after all, but worse, millions of Democrats may decide that the modern party itself has run its course and that it is time for another movement.

Steve :: 10:30 PM :: Comments (20) :: Digg It!