More Injustice at Justice

I had more than a passing interest in the news that at least 26 U.S. attorneys were initially targeted for dismissal by the White House and Justice Department, including a fellow named William Leone, who was then serving as U.S. attorney in Colorado.

I happen to know Bill Leone. I worked against him a long time ago in a complicated case and have stayed in sporadic touch ever since. And I am here to tell you that Bill Leone is no Alberto Gonzales. He is no Paul McNulty. He is no Kyle Sampson or Monica Goodling. Leone has more intelligence, integrity and respect for the rule of law in his little finger than those four pillars of partisanship have in their entire bodies.

Leone is a brilliant lawyer and a good man, and it is truly a sign of how the world of the Justice Department has been turned upside down by its leadership that Leone would be a target for dismissal while the people who truly don't deserve to serve as public officials, like the attorney general, would be praised and nurtured by the president.

I was traveling yesterday so didn't post to Bench Conference. But at least no high-ranking Justice Department official resigned or was forced out while I was gone. And no high-ranking White House officials (so far as we know) tried to cajole any seriously ill public servant into signing off on an extrajudicial policy in my absence? I guess I picked a good day to be away.

This morning I am back with a link to a great piece in the Christian Science Monitor that goes to the essence of the story. Political hullabaloo aside, after nearly a third of a year, the fact is that we still do not know who made up the list of U.S. attorneys who were to be fired. The attorney general says it wasn't him. The deputy attorney general says it wasn't him. Kyle Sampson told the Congress that it wasn't him. And Monica Goodling, who before the spring is out will probably testify on Capitol Hill, hasn't exactly come forward and confessed to authoring the Hit List, either.

All we can garner from the public comments is that the list was compiled by "consensus"-- like the magic words that appear for Harry Potter as he rumbles around Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

This unacceptable dodge -- no judge ever would accept "we came to a consensus" as a defense to a conspiracy charge -- is all the more appalling given how much power Congress typically possesses to squeeze information out of even the most recalcitrant administration official. President Bush long ago should have demanded that his loyal lackey, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, answer that simple question. And the fact that the president has not made such a demand, and that Gonzales has continued to defend the silly "consensus" story even as he now tries to shove blame onto McNulty, tells you all you need to know about how serious these guys are about getting to the truth of the matter.

By Andrew Cohen |  May 16, 2007; 8:52 PM ET agag
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It doesn't matter anymore. Bush's and those in his administration are almost guaranting that a Democrat will be in the White House next time around. Horror of horrors, it just might be the Clinton team again! Forget Rove's statement that the mid-term elections were a "unique expression" from the American people who they say they work so very hard for. Bush and his croonies are out to lunch. The American people, most of which are against him, are hunkering down and waiting for these bafoons to leave.

Posted by: Sarah | May 17, 2007 10:09 AM

"Shove blame" onto McNulty? Are you kidding me? There you go again, Cohen-just like everybody else, you DON'T READ CAREFULLY. The emails from Sampson that have been released show that McNulty was in on those very meetings with Goodling and Sampson that he now professes not to know anything about!

Don't you all get it? McNulty and Comey are working in concert together to get Gonzales out, because McNulty KNOWS that Monica is testifying next week, on May 23, and guess who she is going to burn? MCNULTY! Why? Because he is the DAG, the nuts and bolts of the operation, Gonzales is right about that! She has already filed papers with the Judiciary Committee stating that a "high Justice Department Official" "inaccurately" stated that she gave HIM the wrong information.

Well, we'll see what she says under oath next week, won't we?- and we KNOW McNulty is scared to death-he already perjured himself, blaming HER for his "inaccurate information"-so if she can provide ready documentary evidence that the "fine and upstanding" (yeah, right!) McNulty, the DAG, the nuts and bolts of the DOJ operation, the one who KNEW all the US Attorneys in question, and who had the aggressive political agenda, had both knowledge, and was responsible for the final decision-then I'd say McNulty is in BIG trouble!

He knows that too! That's why he got his fellow Va. based buddy Comey to go public about the Ashcroft bit, in a bit to force public opinion against Gonzales, and shift any blame or the spotlight away from McNulty-remember, McNulty's got to get the cushy legal job to support his family, and it wouldn't do to have a legal and ethical cloud over him while he's searching around for a new job, now would it?

Maybe he's going to go work for Comey too, just like other ethically challenged lawyers Comey likes to take in at Lockheed Martin to work for him!

Talk about karmic payback time! (smile) Yeah, it's happening!

Posted by: chiaramente | May 17, 2007 10:35 AM

When it was only eight, I had been saying "What were the other 85 up to?"

Time for a correction, now it's: What were the other 67 up to?

Posted by: DC | May 17, 2007 10:36 AM

chiaramente- Shove blame seems to fit the circumstances perfectly.

Before McNulty resigns "I don't know who came up with the list; I have the memeory of a leaky sieve, I guess we all did this together" Typical political wagon circling. McNulty is on the inside and they are trying to make sure no one on the inside gets taken down.

After McNulty resigns: "Oh, Mcnulty was the guy who did it all. It was his decision and responsibility. Don't look at me." McNulty is now on the outside and it looks like is no longer part of the wagon circling. It looks more likely he will actually tell what's what. Logically the change in position from Gonzales is related to his desire to not get caught and to discredit any testimony that implicates him. McNulty might be dirty, might have perjured himself. But before he resigned Justice was protecting him. Afterwards he did everything and no one currently at Justice has any responcibility whatsoever. They want him to be the fall guy and let the higher ups get off.

I guess that anyone who has something unflattering to say must be part of a conspiracy to get the spotless AG and not actually telling actual recollections of sleazy behavior. The massive conspiracy works so much better.

Posted by: bluemeanies | May 17, 2007 11:05 AM

Actually, the dodge on who put together the list reeks of a conspiracy to withhold information from the Congress, or, worse, a conspiracy to obstruct justice. It ought to be investigated accordingly.

Posted by: ExAUSA | May 17, 2007 11:12 AM

Congress ought to be worried about Gonzales getting away with possible perjury, while testifying under subpoena, to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. It would establish a bad precedent, and lend further credence that the country is moving to the theory of "unitary executive".

If Gonzales mocks and Congress ignores, future administration will be given a license to overide the checks and balances built into the Constitution. Should'nt some Republican be raising the Impeach word as it is almost certain the next president of the United States will be a Democrat and quite possibly a Clinton? LOL

Posted by: OscarMayer | May 17, 2007 11:33 AM

Chiaramente, your case about Mcnulty sounds logical, but how is Mcnulty the bad guy and everyone else is in the dark and had nothing to do with this matter?

Posted by: Trev | May 17, 2007 11:37 AM

chiaramente-

I'm not buying your conspiracy theory ... yet.

There doesn't seem to be any evidence to back up your claims about Comey, other than he and McNulty knew each other and may have been friends at one time or another. That Comey was willing to coordinate mass resignations at DOJ over the wiretapping leads me to believe that you are speculating and are likely wrong. But I will be among the first to give you credit if the investigation shows he and McNulty are now working together with an ax to grind.

Posted by: Nellie | May 17, 2007 11:48 AM

One area where I think Chiaramente is right: Goodling will dump on McNulty and claim that he was in the loop.

The question here is:
What part of the loop?

Was he directly involved in discussions with Karl Rove's staffers?

And why was Gonzales compelled to revise the SOP at the DOJ concerning the Deputy Attorney General's oversight of personnel decisions under his immediate chain of command?

What constructive purpose did this deviation from long standing precedent serve? And why did Gonzales not disclose this information to McNulty until "later" (perhaps even as recently as a month or two ago?)

Finally, as far as use immunity goes, am I correct in understanding that the grant only holds true if the testimony is in fact truthful?

Posted by: JP2 | May 17, 2007 12:54 PM

ExAUSA - How do you obstruct justice when the act of putting the list together is in support of a political act, not a criminal act?

There seems to be little coordination in the testimony provided to the Congress, because there's no coordinated story. It's all over the place.

This mess reeks of incompetence and pettty politics more than it does of criminality.

Incompetence and petty politics at the highest level of the government may be scary, but not illegal - so far.

Posted by: DC | May 17, 2007 01:00 PM

You said: Leone is a brilliant lawyer and a good man, and it is truly a sign of how the world of the Justice Department has been turned upside down by its leadership that Leone would be a target for dismissal while the people who truly don't deserve to serve as public officials, like the attorney general, would be praised and nurtured by the president.

CAN BE METAPHOR FOR JUST ABOUT ANYTHING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TOUCHES.

Posted by: rp | May 17, 2007 01:20 PM

Bluemeanies-McNulty HASN'T LEFT YET-HE'S STILL THE DAG. But clearly, he's persona non grata at this point-however the term "shoving blame" onto poor McNulty is just about as far off the mark as it can be.

You see, IF McNulty resigned AND LEFT, that would be different. But I go back to what I've repeatedly said-it IS the DAG that makes these types of decisions, and is the nuts and bolts of the operation! And McNulty, like Wolfie, is sticking around for the "graceful exit" -the noble "truth-teller-the straight shooter" time to get my reputation up to snuff (gag, both he and Comey are SLICK, give them many points for that!) He says he's sticking around at DOJ "until summer."

Well, pray tell, when is "summer" in this context? Next week, perhaps? (smile) We'll have to wait and see!

But I can tell you this: McNulty has got some OTHER problems that have NOT been made public-that may well go public in the future-wonder what machinations are presently going on about that...(smirk)

As for Gonzales, I stick with my hapless, incompetent, unqualified, absolutely loyal no-matter-what-my-Prez says-I-go-along with it theory, but not slick Washington prevaricator type. Which is not to say the AG isn't inconsistent, but he's not running in the hyena pack with McNulty, Comey and the long-time insiders. Everyone wants Gonzales out-but my guess is the Prez is going to stick with G. and help dig McNulty's hole...can't say I'm not pleased about that-it's only what the DAG deserves, you see!

Posted by: chiaramente | May 17, 2007 01:26 PM

Mr. Gonzales said Mr. Comey's concerns "dealt with operational capabilities" that were not part of the program Dirty Bush has acknowledged. Mr. Gonzales would not describe those capabilities, of course and he refused to confirm or deny whether President Bush was conducting remote neural rape of children in a secret White House viewing room for his own sinister (evil) entertainment.

The Republican-controlled Congress did a disservice to the nation by refusing to hold Mr. Bush to account for the illegal wiretapping which got them elected. The current Congress should resume a vigorous investigation of this egregious abuse of power.

The United States of America can not rely on the resignation of top law enforcement officials to protect the nation from being hijacked. The military must step in.

Posted by: Coalition | May 17, 2007 01:26 PM

Boy, people sure are excited about all this USA firing stuff. Doesn't anyone besides me & the president have a real life?

Posted by: Orbinalis | May 17, 2007 01:32 PM

DC, I'll be curious to hear ExAUSAs take.

However, the issue as I understand it is that the legality of the firings cannot be establish one way or another absent all available evidence. Therefore, if evidence is missing--as we know it is in reference to "lost emails," or the failure of the DOJ to secure documents at the onset of the congressional inquiry--or if witnesses provide false testimony, then it means the ability of investigators to determine whether or not a criminal act has been committed has been obstructed.

As far as the "political act" goes, it depends on what you mean by "political".

There are circumstances in which these types of removals would be illegal, so it is not enough to simply say that these firings were legal because they were politically motivated.

Posted by: JP2 | May 17, 2007 01:38 PM

Stop trying to place Comey in the same pile as the political hacks. Comey has a reputation for integrity and honesty that even Rove can't smear. The most that's been said is Tony Snowjob's limp comments about 'old news' and confusing Ashcroft's condition with a bad appendix (Hey Tony, I guess you just had a bit of irritable bowel syndrome, right? Jerk.). Note that no one of importance has said Comey has it wrong or is lying. Not even Gonzo or Card.

Posted by: lmb | May 17, 2007 02:23 PM

So you would like President Bush to demand that Alberto Gonzales answer "that simple question"? President Bush can`t even answer the simple question of whether or not he fulfilled his time in the National Guard. Not answering simple questions has a long history with George W.

Posted by: John Giovanni | May 17, 2007 02:54 PM

So you would like President Bush to demand that Alberto Gonzales answer "that simple question"? President Bush can`t even answer the simple question of whether or not he fulfilled his time in the National Guard. Not answering simple questions has a long history with George W.

Posted by: John Giovanni | May 17, 2007 02:54 PM

So you would like President Bush to demand that Alberto Gonzales answer "that simple question"? President Bush can`t even answer the simple question of whether or not he fulfilled his time in the National Guard. Not answering simple questions has a long history with George W.

Posted by: John Giovanni | May 17, 2007 02:54 PM

Lmb-I grant you, if you swallow everything you read about Comey, you'll certainly draw the conclusions you've drawn. But I can tell you for a fact that if you go with the Post or Times articles, you're barking up the wrong tree, because a bigger bunch of kow-towing sycophants, dazzled by their access to high government officials, and other high powered business elite, precludes these reporters from seeing the proverbial forest for the trees-and as for looking deeper at the agendas of these folks? What are you kidding me? Post reporters actually using their brains, and doing some real digging on the matter? Na' Ga' happen. Not anymore it doesn't.

That ended with Ben Bradlee's departure. And Exhibit 1 is that incomprehensible editorial that basically soft-pedaled Wolfoitz' "situation" in the Post yesterday-I think they got the searing commentary on that editorial that the Post so richly deserved! It's pathetic, is what it is.

But back to Comey, don't underestimate that "fine upstanding business VP for Lockheed, not for one minute! He's got his secrets too, believe it or not.

Remember, Comey was the DAG under President Bush, so WHATEVER he is saying now, must be conpared with what he said and did THEN-and guess what folks! People have a way of reconsidering and re-remembering things they did back in the day, as opposed to the present, PARTICULARLY when they have a certain agenda to execute! Ecco Comey!

Posted by: lmb | May 17, 2007 03:09 PM

Should Conyers get a hopper full of impeachment resolutions, citing the AG's lying to Congressional Committees, and then lay out an investigation, he could give Goodling limited use immunity to testify in an impeachment investigation. Likewise, Executive Privilege is not all that useful in an impeachment process -- which would get Conyers to Rove-under-oath.

There is also an old process -- I believe the last time it was used was during Teapot Dome, where the House can try a contempt of Congress charge in the well of the House, and use its own "Cell in the deep Basement" to keep custody of one found in contempt until they testify, and void their contempt. Back in the early 1960's a friend was working for Hubert Humphrey, and he got me in on a tour of the never seen bits and pieces of the Capitol, and I vividly remember the little jail, which was built at the time of the Civil War -- and it had no toilets, just Chamber Pots. I don't know whether they would want to revive this old Contempt of Congress process -- but Turdblossem on Chamber Pot gets a giggle from me.

Posted by: PJ Evans | May 17, 2007 03:10 PM

P.S. the above post states it was posted by "lmb" clearly it was moi, Chiaramente. Don't know how that happened

Posted by: chiaramente | May 17, 2007 03:14 PM

Coalition -
The definition of a professional military is one that stays out of politics (At least that's what they taught me in Officer School.)

Posted by: phhtrail | May 17, 2007 04:20 PM

Coalition -
The definition of a professional military is one that stays out of politics (At least that's what they taught me in Officer School.)

Posted by: phhtrail | May 17, 2007 04:20 PM

The AG and White House have continually harped on "didn't do it to influence a particular criminal proceeding, so it's not illegal or improper". But 18 USC 1503(a) says "Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede any ... officer in or of any court of the United States ... in the discharge of his duty ... shall be punished as provided in subsection (b)" [ellipsis mine].

I'd like to see two objective analyses which I haven't see yet - the first a comparison between the White House expression for certain types of prosecution, the prosecution or non-prosecutions for those offenses by each USA, a non-partisan evaluation of whether there were prosecutable offenses in that district, and the current employment status of the USA. The second, an analysis of the types of prosecutions brought by USAs since the firing with particular focus on whether there has been an increase in the crimes of interest being prosecuted and whether there is a basis in fact (per the non-partisan eval) for said prosecutions.

If the actions of firing the USAs (or threats to fire) has lead to other USAs bringing prosecutions that they wouldn't otherwise have pursued and for which there is a weak or no evidentiary/factual basis, I would expect a case could be made for a violation of 18 US 1503.

"pour encouragement les autres"?

Posted by: msj | May 17, 2007 04:40 PM

The one thing that seems obvious to me is that the list originated outside the DOJ. Like it or not, Gonzales had to be directly involved for that to happen. This is the point all the hearing are trying to address, it is the reason all of Rove's emails have been lost, and it is the reason why this attorney scandal still has legs.

If it was so aboveboard and legal (ie "the president can fire any US Attorney he wants to), the White House would not be spending so much energy doing everything it can to slow the investigation down, it would be doing what it needed to do to move on.

Posted by: TEL | May 17, 2007 04:49 PM

This is getting too complicated for this old guy. I'm wondering why Gonzales was so vague in his testimony before the two judiciary committees, basing his decisions on "senior DOJ officials", and so specific the other day, about relying 'at the end of the day' specifically on the deputy attorney general. If Gonzales believes, as widely reported, that he has survived the two hearings and will get to finish out his term as Attorney General, why is he now so clearly inviting trouble by laying the dime on Paul McNulty and inviting retaliatory finger-pointing by a guy who, if not a paragon of virtue, is at least experienced in the ways of Capitol Hill and skilled at deflecting blame onto others, like Gonzales, Goodling, Sampson, etc? Also, doesn't this exercise of the blame game by Gonzales make it impossible for McNulty to continue to serve as DAG till the end of summer, as his resignation letter requested? Why did McNulty think he could continue as Gonzales' deputy for another three months or so (apparently he wasn't going to squeal on Gonzales) and why does Gonzales want him gone pronto? Forcing McNulty out months in advance of his requested resignation date can only make him more antagonistic toward Gonzales and the White House crowd and more inclined to "tell it like it was" to congressional investigators. Is this strategy likely to help the Gonzales-Rove-Bush team? I confess this mess has become entirely too byzantine for me to come close to figuring out. Help!

Posted by: P. Bosley Slogthrop | May 17, 2007 05:08 PM

One should be very careful about ascribing infallability to, and feeling sympathy for, all prosecutors placed on these lists. John Brownlee (see Elston's Nov. 1, 2006 list), USA for the Western District of Virginia, has towed the Bush-Gonzales line to the point of being a sycophant, so maybe he was one USA who was put on the list for what we would all agree is a legitimate reason--most notably what many in the district consider prosecutorial indiscretions and misconduct.

Posted by: Madrid | May 17, 2007 05:55 PM

"Boy, people sure are excited about all this USA firing stuff. Doesn't anyone besides me & the president have a real life?"

Surely not the 3300 Americans sent to fight and die in Iraq under this President's false pretenses and continuing false justifications. That's why everyone gets worked up about this, it is emblematic of the failings of the entire Bush operation, and the more it is pulled on, the more things begin to unravel and the truth becomes exposed- everything in this administration that is supposed to be about policy and administration is really about domestic politics and ensuring Republican victories, be it transforming the Justice Department into a wing of the Republican attack apparatus and investigative fact finders (why else is a staunch Rove ally put forward as the USA for Arkansas, the one place it's been admitted the USA wasn't relieved for any performance issues but to make way for this political hack) and removing obstacles to Republican elections in California and Arizona, or whether it's causing the people to cower in fear over paper tigers abroad in the name of making people believe that Republicans are the only ones who can defend them from these "evil regimes." It's despicable and it's time to bring it to an end. Fredo isn't the objective here, neither is Rove, it's the indictment of the whole administration and the Commander Guy at the top.

Posted by: Michael | May 17, 2007 05:57 PM

Can anyone imagine a captain of infantry in Iraq getting away with the sorry as$ed excuses the AG of the US of A is using in testimony to Congress? Is there no sense of duty left in the representatives and govt officials we now have? Picking nits is fine, and someone has to do it, but where is the sense of justice in our justice system? I am sick at heart for what our country has become. What action shall we take?

Posted by: highplainsjoker | May 17, 2007 06:09 PM

"This unacceptable dodge--no judge ever would accept "we came to a consensus" as a defense to a conspiracy charge-- is all the more appalling given how much power Congress typically possesses to squeeze information out of even the most recalcitrant administration official."

Great piece. I'd be interested in hearing you treat the topic what legal moves Congress might make next.

Clearly, calling for Gonzales' resignation is an effete gesture--especially with nothing of the sort happening. Even if it did, it wouldn't be enough. So Gonzales resigns & retires with no consequences at all--what does that say to future officials who would conduct business in the same way?

In my truly humble opinion, there must be some more severe consequences for the complete disregard Gonzales & the WH have shown for being forthcoming with answers under oath, as well as seeming destruction of relevant evidence.

Seems it's about time in these going-nowhere laughable proceedings for Americans to re-educate themselves on the remedial machinery available to them.

Old enough to remember Watergate (& the media's role in it) as I am, I think the least that can be done now is start investigating procedures & charges that may be brought, against whom, & the consequences.

The country has a right to know the options so the responsible parties' feet can be held to the fire, whether those feet belong to the DOJ officials, the WH, or Congress.

Otherwise, sad to say, the apparent radical neocon agenda to make elected democracy obsolete has succeeded.

Posted by: Liberal Lawyer | May 17, 2007 06:18 PM

how do you squre your McNulty-= devil spawn, & the player at the center/
Gonzalas= poor dumb Texan

argument

with

1) Gonzalas being the guy in the ICU at night (surely there will be others to verify this)

2) The transfer of authority to Monica/Kyle

I have no affection for McNulty, but so far you've only made me think you have some reason to make a distraction of him.

Posted by: wrb | May 17, 2007 06:59 PM

>>There is also an old process -- I believe the last time it was used was during Teapot Dome, where the House can try a contempt of Congress charge in the well of the House, and use its own "Cell in the deep Basement" to keep custody of one found in contempt until they testify, and void their contempt. Back in the early 1960's a friend was working for Hubert Humphrey, and he got me in on a tour of the never seen bits and pieces of the Capitol, and I vividly remember the little jail, which was built at the time of the Civil War -- and it had no toilets, just Chamber Pots. I don't know whether they would want to revive this old Contempt of Congress process -- but Turdblossem on Chamber Pot gets a giggle from me.<<

I remember those too.

A reporter would have an incandescent story if it combined film of those cells with analysis of the more muscular options.

The options can be found here:

http://grassley.senate.gov/releases/2006/071820061.pdf

Posted by: | May 17, 2007 07:15 PM

There will be no rule of law worth mentioning in this country until Dick Cheney is impeached--his office is a repository of hatred towards our Constitutional traditions.

I am hopeful that some among the presidential hopefuls will take time off from raising campaign cash from hedge fund managers to show actual political leadership by addressing reality and ousting Cheney.

If they don't the Straussian VP might just raise the terrorist alert level and cancel the election, making those impressive campaign war-chests irrelevant.

But Cheney is too ethical and congressional Dem leadership too courageous for that scenario to come to pass, right?

Posted by: bjerryberg | May 17, 2007 08:42 PM

bjerryberg: agreed.

Given this administration's long and varied track record of subverting the rule of law, what is it that makes anyone think that they won't take the same approach to the 22nd Amendment?

I can easily imagine a scenario in which some "emergency" arises wherein elections must be suspended for reasons of "public safety" or "national security", allowing (nay, dictating!) that the president remain in office until the crisis has passed (which, like the current War on Terror crisis, may, in fact, be never).

This becomes even more plausible when one considers the extent to which GWBush and his cohorts believe that their policies, and their actions (ANY actions) in support of of those policies, are directed by a supernatural authority (i.e., God) which speaks directly to (and only to, apparently) them. For more information on how GWBush's policies are directed by God, read the 10/04 piece in The New York Times Magazine by Ron Suskind.

Bush/Cheney 2008! After all, when God Himself is directly telling you that you must remain in office to do His work, how important, really, is some piece of paper signed by a bunch of dead guys?

Posted by: hiphoplawyer | May 17, 2007 11:52 PM

Piff & Twaffle!! Thousands of words to obfuscate and confuse!! Do you think that the man at the TOP knew not what his minions were doing? That their actions were pursued without his blessing? If you believe that, than you also believe in the Tooth Fairy!!

Posted by: thomasina | May 18, 2007 12:50 AM

"Leone has more intelligence, integrity and respect for the rule of law in his little finger than those four pillars of partisanship have in their entire bodies."

That's the central issue here. I'm not a Democrat and I'm not a Republican, on some issues I tend Democrat, on others Republican. What I do insist on, however, is that government depends on a core of professionals who can put aside their personal beliefs and function as non-partisan professionals. Without that, government just becomes winner-take-all banditry.

Yes, Democrats have a sordid history of scandals and corruption of their own. However, a Republican is in the White House now, so it's Republicans who are under the microscope just now. When a Democrat is in the White House, I would expect the same standards of honesty and integrity from them.

Posted by: Trev | May 18, 2007 02:43 AM

Trev:

You are right to demand accountability regardless of the majority party. This is why I have far more faith in Democrats than Republicans. The last two times Democrats controlled Congress while a Democrat sat in the White House, Congress still took its oversight responsibilities seriously and investigated percieved wrongdoing -- Zoe Baird's nanny problem; Mike Espy (investigation started by Democrats and concluded by GOP), and Jimmy Carter's administration had a number of investigations conducted by a Democratic Congress.

Unfortunately, we have seen nothing of the kind from the Republican controlled Congress the last 6 years -- in fact the few investigations that were started were conducted in such a way as to give the Administration cover, rather than to get at the truth.

I don't want to paint every Republican with the same broad brush -- surely there are exceptions here and there -- but the GOP as it is now constituted is the Anti-Constitution party.

Posted by: Nellie | May 18, 2007 10:00 AM

bjerryberg and hiphop: Agreed about Cheney but then you irremediably destroy your position by claiming a ridiculous fantasy of suspending the election; I only say this because so frequently important valid points and evidence are dismissed because they are "packaged" along with an impossibly far-fetched claim which only makes it easy to dismiss the spokesperson as some loony nut divorced from reality.

Posted by: Len | May 18, 2007 01:32 PM

I was a pre-teen during the short Kennedy Administration. I only really became "aware" of politics during the Reagan Administration and the effects of his and Nixon's time in office on wages and unions. I was "on alert" during Bush 41 and became intensely interested in politics when Bush overtook the presidency in 2000 despite Gore winning the popular vote.

My question is: does anyone here remember a more corrupt, divisive, and scandal ridden government and administration than what we've had under Bush 43? Because of my lack of interest in my earlier years, I don't really know, except for what Clinton, Nixon and Reagan did, which seem to pale in comparison.

Posted by: Cheryl | May 18, 2007 07:44 PM

Cheryl, I was a pre-schooler during the Kennedy admin, but I got politically aware during Nixon's reign. He was corrupt and venal, and got more people killed than Bush. His moral rot might have corrupted democracy as much as Bush, but the important thing was, Nixon had opposition from Congress and the media. Congress is timidly fighting back against the perversion of democracy, but aside from bloggers (which includes Cohen here) and a few MSM reporters, there's not much pushback to Bush.

Harding was more corrupt from a financial sense, and the presidents after the Civil War were more graft-ridden than Bush. Before that, the presidents who presided over the Mexican-American War and the slaughter campaigns against the Indians were crooked and murderous.

The difference here is that President Cheney's evil actions (I refuse to believe Bush sets the course, no more than Gonzales directs DOJ) have more power to affect the world than prior dishonest American prezzies. Cheney can immolate the world, or at least much things up so badly that the current course of civilIsation is disrupted. If he touches off a massive war in the Middle East, or anything that disrupts the flow of oil and money, the world order will collapse. That will disrupt the lives of billions, spark other wars (a nuclear-armed Taliban in control of Pakistan, anyone?) and potentially bring mega-deaths. That's why Bush is the WORST. PRESIDENT. EVER!

Posted by: Bukko in Australia | May 19, 2007 06:51 AM

Wait though, Bukko, I don't think so many were killed in the Mexican War (pretty short i thought), and wasn't so much directed by the president (Polk?) but settlers moved in to Mexican land (Texas and California)anyway and then started a (very short, just a few battles ) war to avoid leaving; similarly in California with the Gold Rush (the Mexicans weren't much competition either), along with impromptu raids into Mexico to pursue bandits (weird that this period and TR's presidency with the attempt at colonialism after the Spanish-American War, is the period in American history GWB most admires).I don't know the numbers on Native Americans killed, but I thought most (Seminole and Cherokee?)died of disease in the forced migration from Florida to Oklahoma, with some battles in the Plains, but in accuracy many Indians resented (of course understandably)the encroachment and disregard and some attacked on their own.I doubt that the numbers compare at all with the Iraqis and Afghans killed, either directly, or instigated by American backed forces.This is not to diminish one iota the wrongness of any mistreatment of Native Americans

It seems a bit surprising that more died in Nixon's war vs. Bush's: Americans or the other side? I am sure more Americans died during Nixon's tenure (not mentioning LBJ's)than in Iraq,though.

Grant's and Johnson's petty scandals? Peanuts in comparison!

Though Nixon (and let's not forget LBJ, Nixon ended it)may have got on the board, I'm therefore not at all sure if GWB really has much competition on his own merits.

Posted by: Al | May 19, 2007 07:46 PM

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