Goodling Trashes McNulty; Mum on Gonzales

Monica Goodling is hours into her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee and if you didn't know the background of the U.S. attorney scandal you would be forgiven for believing that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales runs the Justice Department in absentia from a deserted island through the use of carrier pigeons and haiku. Goodling has barely mentioned her former boss and has barely been asked by lawmakers about the attorney general's involvement in the prosecutor purge or his failed leadership of the department. Maybe that's going to come after lunch -- maybe the committee wants to end with a bang and not a whimper -- but it is a surprise that it has not taken place so far. After all, Gonzales clearly is the most important figure in this story, and someone about whom Goodling ought to be able to talk at great length and with florid detail. So far, though, at least as far as Gonzales is concerned, virtually nothing of note.

Another surprise, perhaps, is that Goodling was so quick to turn on another one of her former bosses, soon-to-be-former Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty. If there is one clear loser following the morning's testimony by Goodling -- if there is one person whose got bigger legal troubles now than he did a few hours ago -- it surely is McNulty, whose honesty and candor before the Congress was directly challenged by Goodling. McNulty failed to disclose to lawmakers, Goodling now alleges, all that he knew about the White House's involvement in the plan to fire the U.S. attorneys and that failure was not Goodling's fault. This testimony is going to now force McNulty to publicly (and privately) defend himself with more vigor than he has shown before and it would not surprise me if he were to be called back to Capitol Hill for another round of questions. Perjury? Based upon Goodling's testimony It's still in play if the lawmakers (or federal prosecutors) believe that McNulty intentionally lied to Congress.

And Goodling also was quick to throw under the bus another one of her former colleagues: Kyle Sampson, the former deputy chief of staff for the attorney general. She talked about the list of prosecutors to be fired as Sampson's list -- as if he had sole ownership in it. Sampson, remember, was not so willing to take the credit for being the author of the final recommendations of U.S. attorneys to be terminated.

I don't know about you. But it is hard for me (or, apparently, any other reasonable person) to believe that such a task would be delegated solely to a deputy chief of staff and not some higher-ranking government official. In any event, Goodling's testimony makes clear that there are now huge gulfs between the stories offered by the various players involved in the scandal and that, to the extent that some of these players are still working in the Justice Department, there can be no doubt but that these discrepancies are causing conflict and chaos within the department. Maybe we should put them all on an island and play "Survivor Justice"?

I watched Goodling's performance carefully. Thankfully, I did not see her cry. Indeed, to her credit, she was sharper and more focused than many of her questioners. I didn't expect committee Republicans to throw her anything but softballs -- this is the House, remember, not the Senate -- but committee Democrats seemed all over the map with their lines of questioning. Maybe that's what you get when you have to limit the questioning to five-minute segments and the politicians use a great deal of that time to make speeches (or Goodling spends a great deal of that time filibustering through her answers).

I expect more this afternoon, and if the committee lets Goodling leave the room without asking her in depth about Gonzales it will be just another travesty upon justice in this saga.

By Andrew Cohen |  May 23, 2007; 12:45 PM ET agag
Previous: Don't Cry for Us, Monica Goodling | Next: Missing Their Chance With Monica

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This chiaramente person has been previously mentioning what she would say, and has said that Mcnulty knows him/her (sounds like a guy to me).

Posted by: Alphonse | May 23, 2007 01:46 PM

Chiaramente--mind of Chiara, Margaret? (aka one of the fired 8). Maybe.

Either way it's a distraction.

I'm curious about a few other questions:

1. Goodling's attorney asserts that his client cannot release documents in her possession without authorization from the DOJ, because the documents belong to the DOJ.

2. But wouldn't the very fact that she is a former employee with documents material to a case being investigated before the congress be a violation of the law? On what legal basis does she even have those papers to begin with?

Posted by: JP2 | May 23, 2007 02:14 PM

There's the "fishing expedition" reference again. I just don't see what's so appealing about that particular phrase -- anyone who has used it does so with a self-satisfied smirk, as if he/she is incredibly clever and has come up with a turn of phrase unparalleled in recorded history. Come up with something new or don't say anything at all, since you clearly haven't the wits to put together a single imaginative, original thought of your own!

Posted by: iammrben | May 23, 2007 02:18 PM

things are getting interesting...

Posted by: iammrben | May 23, 2007 03:15 PM

Great line of questioning here. For the first time all day, Monica has actually had to think, to weigh her responses, to delve into less comfortable and more revealing territory

Posted by: iammrben | May 23, 2007 03:26 PM

JP2, I think you are correct. She is admitting to theft of Government property.

Not much, but it may contribute to the sine qua non of an immunity grant which is bye-bye Bar, bye-bye Law License.

Posted by: GTexas | May 23, 2007 03:32 PM

JP2, good questions. Here are my blind stabs:

As she is gone from DOJ, technically she should not have any DOJ property, and she should have been subjected to an exit interview process in which she would affirm that she isn't taking anything of theirs. But this gets complicated because who knows what sort of e-mail accounts she may have had, whether that stuff resides in a separate hard drive or server, or whether she used "personal" e-mail accounts to conduct dirty business in an effort to shield the material from disclosure. Also, it would not be uncommon for someone to inadvertently retain proprietary material, as odd as that may sound. It's hard to say that someone is in violation of the law because he or she may possess DOJ material after leaving DOJ.

So let's assume she has responsive material that may be "property" of the DOJ. The subpoena commands her to produce the nonprivileged, responsive documents within her possession, custody, or control. That ought to protect her from any claim by DOJ that she is improperly disclosing DOJ property. The right at issue may be any applicable privilege that the DOJ might retain. Theoretically, she doesn't need the DOJ to assert her privilege objections for her, but given the DOJ's interest in not having its own privileged material turned over, the DOJ might want to inspect the materials in question first so that it might assert objections. If this kind of question came before me as a judge, I suppose I'd want to view the materials in camera and give DOJ a very short time frame in which to assert objections to make sure any applicable privilege claims by DOJ may be heard.

Posted by: ExAUSA | May 23, 2007 03:49 PM

"Fishing expedition" means accusing without having PRIOR evidence, but looking for it while accusing. It is VERY IMPORTANT because it violates every prior procedural principle of which
I am aware, just as preemption for deterrence is unprecedented. It is used because even the inherent restraints of reality aren't enough or acceptable to those who predetermine the result they are supposed to establish, independent of the evidence, a complete no-no unless one is as much a fool as iammrben seems to be. Same with "blank check"; normally one wouldn't expect one's educated officials to have the shameless gall to act that way, but this administration, beyond doubt in my opinion,is absolutely revolutionary.

Posted by: Sil | May 23, 2007 03:49 PM

Wasn't chiar.. saying something about the extra time was needed because the DOJ owned the documents? Seemed to know many of the moves of the testimony.

Posted by: Tio | May 23, 2007 03:52 PM

> So let's assume she has responsive material that may be "property" of the DOJ.

This is sort of a side issue, but is it the information or only the actual physical documents that might be considered government property?

I.e., if she took an official document to the local Kinko's, made a copy and returned the original to its appropriate place in a DOJ filing cabinet, would that be considered culpable retention of government property? (Let's assume that the document wasn't classified.)

Posted by: El Gusanito | May 23, 2007 04:01 PM

The Republicans on the HJC are absolutely craven. Have you no shame, Congressmen?

Posted by: psyberdawg | May 23, 2007 04:03 PM

I seem to recall that one Sandy Berger had a little "document retention" problem not long ago. Perhaps Monica will suffer the same fate.

I also wonder to what extent whistle-blower statutes might protect her if she does cough up the docs.

Finally, if the documents belong to the government, why would she need permission to turn them over to the government? Or does the DOJ operate on an alternate plane of reality? (Don't answer...that's a rhetorical question)

Posted by: Nellie | May 23, 2007 04:17 PM

In my earlier life, I taught law school courses in pretrial practice and trial advocacy. I regularly told my students that my primary goal for them in those courses was that they would learn how to ask a question. The syllabi for the courses were a lot more complicated and sophisticated-looking, but what I hoped the students would learn was how to ask a question. The students learned soon enough that asking a question is not as easy as it sounds. The point of asking questions of witnesses is to get useful answers. Sometimes the answers are truthful; sometimes they are untruthful. But the goal is always to get a useful answer and how the question is asked, how the answer is followed up, etc., determines in large measure whether the answer will be useful for any purpose. Most of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee don't know how to ask a question. One practical test of a good question is whether it makes the witness squirm. We had to wait again for a junior member of the Committee, Artur Davis of Alabama, a former assistant US attorney, to really see Ms. Goodling squirm. Kudos to him and kudos to Representative Debbie Wasserman Schulz of Florida for yielding her time to Representative Davis when it was clear he was on a roll. The hearings would be more useful if the rest of the Democrats had yielded their time allotments to Mr. Davis so he could have conducted a coherent focused interrogation of the witness. Interestingly, Mr. Davis was on C-Span's Washington Journal this morning and made the point that the members of the committee needed to listen to the witness' testimony, articulate proper questions, and follow-up. Would that his colleagues on the Committee had been listening.

Posted by: P. Bosley Slogthrop | May 23, 2007 04:57 PM

What a disgusting performance by the house members. This raises the question of their degree of participation in the criminal enterprise. RICO

Posted by: | May 23, 2007 05:24 PM

^ republican house members

Posted by: | May 23, 2007 05:28 PM

Nellie, honey, I don't exactly think that Goodling's issue with documents is like Sandy Berger's okay? (and yes, I'm being sarcastic) Are you a lawyer? Cause if you are, then you're a pretty stupid one.

Tio-it goes like this. This is a high profile matter, where Congress has subpoenaed Goodling to produce all docs. in her possession, which are responsive to the subpoena. However those documents will belong to the DOJ, in most instances, and yes, she probably has quite a few on her computer at home-and Nooooo, it doesn't mean that she's doing anything "illegal" unless there is a document that shouldn't be brought out of the office, because of sensitivity reasons, and that is probably not the case.

However, she is NOT free to simply produce docs. to Congress-no, Congress is NOT the same as the executive branch-which is DOJ, Congress is the legislative branch, so she cannot turn over proprietary docs. to DOJ until DOJ:

1. sees the docs. 2. reviews the docs. for sensitivity and other privileges that may need to be asserted and 3. clears them to be turned over to the legislative branch

Period. end of story. And you know what? That takes time. Believe it or not, lawyers have other deadlines, and other high priority matters to deal with.

Like I said, that is a non-issue-in a high profile case, it's quite common to come upon that catch-22, but DOJ has first dibs on the docs., as the docs. are proprietary to them.

Posted by: chiaramente | May 23, 2007 05:39 PM

Chiarament, you've made interesting alternate points to what is widely heard, your style is provocative and illuminating, and thank you very much for your special knowledge of the subject at hand, but let's
not go around publicly calling people "stupid" for their expressed thoughts. That's beyond the pale.

Posted by: J | May 23, 2007 06:17 PM

The McNulty angel seems like little more than a (perhaps deliberate) distraction. Maybe he too was less than truthful, but so far he doesn't appear central to the major crimes that seem to be gathering shape out of these mists. In fact the transfer of meaningful authority to Goodling & Sampson suggest he was in the way of their realization.

Posted by: wrb | May 23, 2007 06:25 PM

Chia..

when you say above "she cannot turn over proprietary docs to DOJ until .." I assume by DOJ you meant to write Congress, right? If so I get it.

Posted by: Tio | May 23, 2007 06:29 PM

wrb: I'm haven't been able to follow the testimony live today, but hasn't Goodling disclaimed responsibility and said it was directed by Mcnulty?

Posted by: Tom | May 23, 2007 06:32 PM

Tom:

Yes, yet the authority was taken from McNulty and given to her.

To me it appeard that she was actively trying to direct blame to McNulty (for purjury, and bad descisions) but twisting every way possible to deflect it from everyone else. More importantly she was trying to limit attention McNuty and away from Gonzalas and the White House, claiming ignorance of any underlying pattern, planning, agenda or conspiracy. Stuff just happened.

Posted by: wrb | May 23, 2007 06:40 PM

Psyberdawg asks, "Have you no shame,[Republican] Congressmen?" After six years, I think we know the answer to that question. If it weren't for the wisdom of the American people in finally returning the House to Democratic control, we wouldn't be discussing the DOJ/White House scandals, because King George's little GOP lapdogs would have prevented those little "faux pas" from ever coming to light.

Posted by: lydgate | May 23, 2007 09:06 PM

Okay, J, how about "not very bright" is THAT okay with you?

Sorry, maybe fighting off the thugs at DOJ for so long has made me a little battle scarred-it's not for the timid or faint-hearted, I can assure you of that!

And yes, Tio, that was a typo on my part.

Posted by: chiaramente | May 23, 2007 09:55 PM

The DOJ may be located within the Executive branch, but it was created by an act of Congress. So the claims of say "executive privilege" would not hold the same weight as communication that takes place within the White House between the counsel and the president. I do not see how national security, or diplomatic concerns apply to this matter either.

Within the White House on what grounds would political advice be protected? And would conversations within Rove's operation, which does not rise to the level of presidential advice receive the same level of protection? Especially in a case where the conversations had direct bearing on the congressional inquiry?

In light of the document requests the DOJ would also need to provide a list of documents that are being withheld as well as citing the privilege that is involved. This list has not been released publicly, if it has at all. That is my understanding at least.

There is also the issue of the failure to secure documents at the outset of the Congressional investigation, which raises another set of questions.

As far as it relates to Goodling, she clearly had documents that were responsive to the Congressional inquiry--so it seems unlikely that she, Opps, just had the materials on her laptop, or in her possession for who knows what reason and just discovered them. It sounds like she turned documents over to the House Committee this morning based on the transcript; however, her attorney stated that he had turned over the "balance" of documents. "Balance" meaning the documents that had not already been produced? All of the documents responsive to the inquiry that were in her possession? Not entirely clear. I doubt the Congress would pursue this matter, unless documents are still being withheld.

I'm still reading through today's transcript, but on balance it's clear that McNulty and Gonzales will need to provide additional testimony--or written response to questions raised by today's testimony. Gonzales's attempt to tamper with a fact witness as indicated during the last line of questioning is just another item to add to the bill of charges against him.

Posted by: JP2 | May 23, 2007 10:16 PM

>The DOJ may be located within the Executive branch, but it was created by an act of Congress<

Raises:

For real clean up, what are the advantages and disadvantages of abolishing the department and starting afresh?

Perhaps a structural change is justified.

Posted by: wrb | May 23, 2007 10:49 PM

From a voice from beyond the Beltway, a litigator and a local public servant with an anthropological bent:

This entire matter - and the comments on it - have an odd cast to them. They're off-center, largely as a function of the way this is playing out.

It seems to me that the real action - as many have commented - is off-stage, out of the spotlight, over on Pennsylvania Avenue, at about, oh, 1600, if I have the address right.

The administration's done - by and large - an excellent, if imperfect, job of walling itself off from scrutiny behind the elastic executive privilege doctrine. Congress can't pierce this wall unless and until it's willing to impeach and try AGAG or another of the officers in the class covered by the high-crimes-and-misdemeanors Clause. It's not willing to go down that route.

This affair seems likely, therefore, to peter out at some point, much to the dismay of outsiders like me who find this administration odious on its best days.

I just want to note that I empathize with the posters here who are or have been career people inside DOJ, who've seen their home trashed by these vandals. Perhaps there will be justice at Justice one day.

We can only hope.

Posted by: Alan | May 23, 2007 10:56 PM

Chiaramente, I don't know if you have any familiarity with Western Michigan--although I might make that inference based on your blog "handle".

On thing that I've been curious about is whether there was any connection between the nomination, or withdrawal of a nomination of the Western Michigan aUSA, who prosecuted the "Ball Park Franks Fiasco" case (he was up for a U.S. Attorney nomination in the summer of this past year, but the nomination was later withdrawn).

http://www.commondreams.org/views01/0726-04.htm

This is one of those cases that just seems like a bizarre outcome based on the publicly available information; although I suspect there is probably more to it.

I'm still trying to figure out why the Western Michigan U.S. Attorney was removed--and the "retribution" angle seems like a pretty common motivation for this White House. Unlike the Northern District of California case, the management problems issue sounds like a bogus explanation here. Michigan is the battleground so perhaps vote suppression a key policy priority of the White House political office may have been a driving motivation.

But I also wonder if there might have been retribution connected to the failed nomination in 2006.

Of course, this is a mountain of speculation, but this is the one firing that still doesn't have a particular persuasive rationale for the removal in my view (putting aside the legal and ethical questions)--the motivations just don't wash. The Western District attorney had good marks, and it seems a little extreme to remove an Attorney based on giving out bonuses in a public manner that hurts feelings of those in the office who don't receive the bonus (e.g. not smart management, but not something that would seem to be grounds for removal). The failure to pursue the death penalty explanation, which was also dropped on Charlton, also seem more pretext than persuasive explanation. So why was the Western District of Michigan Attorney removed?

Did McNulty/Sampson/Rove just not like her? Or was something else going on with this one?

Posted by: JP2 | May 23, 2007 11:10 PM

wrb, Congress has explicit Constitutional authority to do exactly what you describe. Although, I can see quite a few practical difficulties here.

Alan, excellent post too. I share many of your concerns, and think it's beyond a shadow of a doubt that the White House strategy is to "gum the process up and run out the clock".

Congress does have powers within its authority to leverage this issue outside of impeachment--and there are also other pressures within the Justice system in terms of how damaged morale will play out and the likely heightened judicial scrutiny which have already come into play in a few cases. As long as Gonzales heads up the department, I suspect there will be push back. It also helps if your representatives on Capitol Hill are aware of your concerns.

Posted by: JP2 | May 23, 2007 11:25 PM

Forget the dumping on McNulty and admission of using forbidden political litmus tests in hiring career DOJ employees. From watching West Wing (yes I know it wasn't a documentary), I thought you had to have graduated from a pretty prestigious or at least upper tier law school and have serious credentials to be eligible for a position such as Ms. Goodling's. Her recitation of her extremely flimsy resume in response to a question about her previous experience was perhaps the most jaw-dropping aspect of her testimony. It's possible, with her background, she really was sufficiently clueless as to have no idea that she wasn't supposed to be acting as political operative or that the DOJ wasn't supposed to be just another political arm of the President's party.

Posted by: Felice Sage | May 24, 2007 12:39 AM

I'm with Slog that it's hard to formulate a good question. I was a newspaper reporter for 10 years, so I know the art of asking something to get a subject to say something you suspect they know, but you've got to get them to cough it up and confirm it. Unfortunately, politicians too often want to ask questions that make THEM look good, but do little to illuminate the matter. Happens more often in the Senate, though.

What I hope is that the committee is doing what good police nterrogators do. You have several suspects, and you question them separately. When you find a discrepancy between what two of them say, you use that as a wedge to pry put further facts that will get to the root of the lie. Please, please, please, let it be so that Congress is doing this in a calculated manner, not just stumbling through/ there MUST be some good minds at work there.

Posted by: Bukko in Australia | May 24, 2007 04:14 AM

Chiaramente:

No need to get nasty.

Look, I'm in the business of making sure ex-employees don't keep documents they shouldn't -- protecting trade secrets. And it seems to me that national security secrets and other potentially classified or, as you put it, "sensitive," material ought to be even more important than the customer lists and methods that I protect. If it were me handling the "resignations" of Goodling and Sampson, I would have the hard drives of their home computers in my office. Call me stupid? It is the DOJ that is stupid.

Furthermore, there is little or no caselaw that supports your contention that Congress is not entitled to those documents. Congress IS the government, and unless you subscribe to the "Unitary Executive" theory, which your vitrupitive resonse suggests, there is no legal basis for withholding any of those documents. What you are suggesting is the proper protocol is simply more obstruction of justice. Besides, how long does it take to review documents? You know as well as I do that they are stonewalling. If the DOJ can afford to have all of its highest officials take weeks in seclusion to prepare for testimony, then there surely must be enough personnel to review those documents.

You obviously have an axe to grind. This is as good a place as any to do it, but I suggest that you would find it more productive not to make personal attacks against those of us who are happy to spin the grinding wheel for you.

Posted by: Nellie | May 24, 2007 06:36 AM

And yes, I realize that Berger walking out of the archives with documents stuffed down his pants is different than Goodling working at home. It just struck me as similar enough -- especially with the claim by Goodling that everything had to be cleared with the DOJ -- to bring it up.

I again wonder what whistle-blower protections Goodling would have if she simply coughed them all up. I, unfortunately, don't have the time to research the statutes -- if anyone out there is familiar with them, I'd be interested in your opinion.

Alan: Your comments are insightful. I think part of the game that is playing out is Congress probing for weaknesses in the WH's defenses and the WH running from leak to leak sticking its fingers into the dike. It seems to me that there is more than enough evidence to get into the West Wing, and I would be shocked if there isn't a plan to do so. It is just a matter of time, and it will take a few months to quash the bogus executive privilege claims. Schumer is correct: "All roads lead to the White House."

Posted by: Nellie | May 24, 2007 06:59 AM

uh, sorry, Nellie, you don't understand separation of powers-and no, you are 100 percent incorrect-Congress IS NOT the government, as you put it, for purposes of asserting executive privilege, and other privileges, over documents created by the executive branch.

The problem, which you apparently don't conceptualize, is that members of Congress have been known (shock!) to take very sensitive material that they have been given by the executive branch, and wave it in the public domain where it should NOT be, in order to make a political point-Congress, the legislative branch IS POLITICAL-but the executive branch is not, in the sense that their mission is to serve the people, and there are privileges that are always asserted over documents that are created by any individual agency-in litigation, for example. Congress doesn't get documents unless there are agreements made between the executive and legislative branch to ensure their confidentiality-if the docs. in question fall into that category.

And there is no "unified" government, as you seem to characterize it, Nellie-you don't know very much about the way govt. works, that's for sure-even amongst agencies, a big problem has been intelligence sharing of information-a whole other issue, but illustrative in this context.

Posted by: chiaramente | May 24, 2007 07:51 AM

P.S. And did everyone read what was at the top of Monica Goodling's written testimony? "The Deputy Attorney General's Allegations Were False"

Yeah, that's right. And thanks Monica, for setting it up so nicely. Somebody else is going to come along and make things a little more problematic for McNulty REAL SOON.

Posted by: chiaramente | May 24, 2007 08:02 AM

Ciaramente:

at the risk of a total hijack of this thread, I think your view of of the government is a little too close to David Addington's for my taste. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the "government" in our republic consists of three (count 'em --one-two-three) branches that are co-equal. Congress is one of those branches, and therefore is part of the "government." The DOJ isn't just the lawyers for the President -- he has his own counsel for that. And this very point was a key element of Gonzales's confirmation hearing. Finally, Congress has oversight duties. It is impossible for Congress to fulfill this function while the DOJ is playing hide and seek with the documents.

As indiscrete as members of Congress can be, I think your view of Congress as a bunch of blabbermouths and the Executive branch as a bunch of tight-lipped patriots in the shadow of the Valerie Plame affair is not realistic. This administration has shown no qualms about revealing classified information if the disclosure will either hurt its critics or help its political goals.

I'll admit that I have never seen the machinations of the government from the inside, and perhaps I am somewhat naive for that reason. If you have, then I'll give your observations more credence.

Posted by: Nellie | May 24, 2007 08:49 AM

I second your comments Nellie. Each branch may have separate lines of responsibility, but it's no accident that the Congress was listed as the FIRST set of articles in the Constitution; It's no accident that Congress was given the supreme trump card in political power in impeachment powers; and it's no accident that checks and balances where also put into place in this system as a check on the extreme margins of one branches authority.

And, yes, the Constitution explicitly gives Congress, not the President the power to create and organize departments under the control of the Executive branch. Unitarians argue about the integrity of separation of powers, but they have been awfully silent about the unprecedented structural changes that have taken place under this administration within the DOJ without any direct consultation with the branch whose explicit authorities are taken directly from the Constitution.

Posted by: JP2 | May 24, 2007 12:20 PM

From Goodlings statement

"In truth I can not say with absolute certainty that I know why Kevin Ryan, John McKay, Carol Lam, David Bogden, David Iglesis, and Margaret Chiara were sked to sesign in December 2006. I can describe what I and others discussed as the reasons for their removal, but I cannot guarantee that these reasons are the same as those contemplated by the FINAL DECISIONMAKERS who requested the resignations of these U.S. Attorneys. I am not aware, however, of anyone WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT ever suggesting the replacement of these attorneys in order to interfere with a particular case, or in retaliation for prosecuting or refusing to prosecute a particular case, FOR POLITICAL ADVANTAGE.

Emphasis added. Seems like very careful drafting.

Posted by: wrb | May 24, 2007 02:42 PM

Just for the record,chiarament, "not too bright" wouldn't be nice either. C'mon, there's ample substance to just stick to the material; and when there isn't, the point isn't worth much.
Thanks.

Posted by: J | May 24, 2007 02:44 PM

Chiaramente, this view that there is no "unified" government, implying that the legislative only gets things when the executive chooses to give them, along with a seeming view that government is supposed to act like an "invisible hand" each pursuing its own gains and whims (although you claim that the executive piously "serves the people")with everything somehow working out thereby, contradicts my understanding of the pretty evident intention of what the Con says (as partly indicated by JP2 above) or whatever I know about the framers' ethos and beliefs.

It may even be possible that the current PRACTICE of government is empirically as you describe (perhaps unfortunate), but I'm far from convinced so far that is the conception of the branches as originally intended.

Posted by: Jack | May 24, 2007 03:08 PM

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