Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Right Wing Hypocrisy on Libby And U.S. Attorneys

Today we look at a couple forms of right wing hypocrisy when it comes to the judicial system.

1. Pardon Me! Libby Hypocrisy.

No sooner is Scooter Libby convicted than the Wall Street Journal begins beating the drums for a presidential pardon in not one, but two, editorial pieces (one an official WSJ editorial, the other an op-ed piece they've obviously been sitting on just waiting for the verdict).

What hypocrisy. This is the same newspaper that went after Bill Clinton and every member of his cabinet with every piece of sleaze and dirt it could dig up, no matter how reliable. They relentlessly promoted books and videos produced by the most virulently paranoid right-wing fanatics and pushed for the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars on questionable special prosecutions. The cheerleaded a silly impeachment proceeding.

But now the WSJ intones that Bush "owes" Libby "a pardon and an apology." Evidently, the WSJ doesn't think it's serious business when Republicans lie to grand juries and obstruct justice.

[Fox News had its own unique take on the Libby trial yesterday, running a banner across the story declaring that Libby had been acquitted, which of course was true as to one count, but not the real story. Fair and balanced, as always.]

To be sure, we do feel sorry here for Libby, who certainly is a scapegoat. But Libby's problem was that he was too loyal to his boss, Dick Cheney. All Libby had to do was tell the truth to the FBI and grand jury. As it turns out, if he had told the truth, there would have been no consequences.

We don't share the WSJ's casual--and partisan--disregard for the legal process.

Partisan Politics With U.S. Attorneys

Another side of right wing hypocrisy is the unfolding scandal over the Bush Administration's dismissal of a number of U.S. Attorneys around the country. (See Washington Post story here.)

Of course the Bushies and their congressional allies are in full-blown spin mode on this one, claiming that no one was dismissed for political reasons.

We hardly need congressional hearings to know that's false. If we've learned anything about this administration over the past six years, it's that EVERYTHING is political. Clearly, when it comes to personnel appointments, loyalty to the White House and the Rove machine is valued over all other traits. That's one reason the administration is so incompetent. They don't care if you can do the job, man--just that you're loyal.

So now we're learning that various federal prosecutors received calls from Republicans in Congress about the status of their investigations into certain political figures. It's not yet clear whether those calls were instigated by Rove's office--we wouldn't be surprised. But you can bet that AFTER those calls, follow-up complaints were made to Rove, who in turn got friendly Justice Department officials in meting out discipline, Rove style.

The most obvious case, so far, is that of New Mexico prosecutor David Iglesias, who received a call one day AT HIS HOME from Sen. Pete Domenici, a Republican. Domenici pointedly asked Iglesias whether charges would be filed against a local Democrat, under investigation, "before November" (i.e., before the election). When Iglesias said no, Domenici reportedly said "I'm sorry to hear that" and hung up.

Domenici claims he didn't ask that Iglesias be fired over the issue. We're sure he didn't put it in exactly those words--Washington is a bit more subtle. But we'd love to put Domenici under oath. We're pretty sure he managed to convey his displeasure to the appropriate officials in the White House and at Justice, and that, as they say, those officials "got his drift."

Of course, none of this is really new. Instead, it's just larger pieces of the political corruption iceberg that's been coming into view over the past two years as we've learned how the Republicans operated in the Capital during their reign.

Have they learned anything since the election? Evidently not--see 1. above!

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