Saturday, March 31


Former prosecutor and Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, who served on the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment proceedings, and attorney Cynthia Cooper present a third plausible hypothesis for the U.S. attorney firings: to influence 2008 election outcomes.

E-mails suggest political strategist Rove’s involvement. Rove’s job is helping his wing of the GOP win future campaigns. What does that have to do with firing judicial appointees?

Consider the districts they served in: Arkansas, site of Hillary Clinton’s first steps into politics as the state’s first lady; San Francisco, Democratic House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s district; Nevada, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s state; New Mexico, presidential candidate Bill Richardson’s state. North Carolina, home of former senator and presidential hopeful John Edwards, was considered but passed over by the Bush administration’s ax.

Arizona, where U.S. Attorney Paul Charleton, with a particular reputation for excellence, was fired, is home to presidential candidate and sometime Bush critic John McCain. Michigan, where the prosecutor was inexplicably fired, is home to chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a staunch Iraq war opponent, Carl Levin (up for re-election in 2008). Arizona and Michigan are both important swing states, where vote suppression or trumped up charges could tip the balance in an election.

I've been so disgusted for so long with the sleazy tactics and motivations of the Rove administration, so reminiscent to an ancient like myself who was actually old enough to know what was going on during the Nixon administration, that I hardly have the energy any longer to swell up with a good case of righteous indignation. I'm more likely these days just to shake my head and take a couple of aspirin. I tried to get through John Dean's Worse Than Watergate, but I just got too depressed, and I knew how the story would end anyway. Nixon got his second term by waving the flag for the Vietnam conflict and labeling anti-war George McGovern as soft on national security. Sound familiar? His administration was littered with political and PR hacks for whom power was the only currency, the single value. Nixon's own Attorney General, John Mitchell, was so overtly politically partisan and so disinterested in the actual dispensing of justice that he left that distinguished post to move over to run Nixon's re-election campaign, and was eventually convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury for his role in the Watergate break-in and cover-up and jailed. Think Al Gonzales is haunted by those shades as he stands accused of politicizing the DOJ to benefit Republican office-holders and -seekers?

So here again, so many years later, at a point in my idealistic youth I would have imagined the American people had learned to recognize mendacity when they see it in their would-be leaders, and to find a new standard of ethics being employed by our leaders, I find that we have, in fact, learned little or nothing.

We who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

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