Last Refuge of a Soundrel

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Bush Administration, Civil Rights, corruption, criminal justice

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” Samuel Johnson said. Maybe ’twas true then, but we’ve stooped a bit lower since. When all else fails, blame incompetence.

At least, that’s what the Wall Street Journal is doing. Check out this editorial about the FBI’s improper use of national security letters:

Just when President Bush seemed to have beaten back the Congressional defeatists on Iraq, along comes his own Justice Department to undermine some hard-won antiterror policy gains. The incompetence at Justice is getting to be expensive for Presidential power.

Remember, WSJ still believes President Bush has a glorious strategy for victory in Iraq. So for them to have gone from denial to excuses in such a short time is something of a miracle.

It’s true that the Justice Department’s internal investigation on the national security letter issue blamed human error and shoddy record keeping for most of the unauthorized wiretapping. But this tells me that the people at the top — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller — have been winking at nodding at gross violations of citizens’ 4th Amendment rights. If these two had made it clear that all surveillance would be conducted lawfully, you can bet there’d have been a whole lot less human error and shoddy record keeping.

Dem Senator Chuck Schumer has called on Alberto Gonzales to resign. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham accused Schumer of interjecting “a little politics here.” I guess some righties are still in denial. I also infer that it’s unseemly for a Senator to speak up on a serious lapse if the lapser is a member of the other party. But if Republicans would take responsibility for their problem children, the Dems wouldn’t have to speak up. But Republicans, in effect, let the kids run all over the restaurant screaming and tripping the waiters and stealing food off plates, and when, finally, some adult says stop that, you little brat, the GOP gets all indignant about it.

(On a related note, see the Carpetbagger — “It’s become a fairly common refrain, hasn’t it? The right does something offensive, the left gets mad when there are no consequences, time elapses, and the right, annoyed by lingering resentment, tells the left to ‘get over it.’”)

Meanwhile, the U.S. attorney purge continues to get attention. What we know so far is that some of the U.S. attorneys were fired after Republican officials in their districts complained to Karl Rove— the bleeping White House political director — about the attorneys’ performance.


Paul Krugman wrote today
,

Sources told Newsweek that the list of prosecutors to be fired was drawn up by Mr. Gonzales’s chief of staff, “with input from the White House.” And Allen Weh, the chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, told McClatchy News that he twice sought Karl Rove’s help — the first time via a liaison, the second time in person — in getting David Iglesias, the state’s U.S. attorney, fired for failing to indict Democrats. “He’s gone,” he claims Mr. Rove said.

After that story hit the wires, Mr. Weh claimed that his conversation with Mr. Rove took place after the decision to fire Mr. Iglesias had already been taken. Even if that’s true, Mr. Rove should have told Mr. Weh that political interference in matters of justice is out of bounds; Mr. Weh’s account of what he said sounds instead like the swaggering of a two-bit thug.

As Digby writes,

The minute I read that the Arkansas replacement was one of Rove’s little minions and that Iglesias had been pressured before the election to indict a Democrat, it was clear that this was Rove deal all around.

The Dems want to question Rove ao I suspect we are going to see some executive privilege claims start flying. Rove seems to have developed a bad case of SMS (Scooter Memory Syndrome) in which he can’t remember a damned thing whenever it becomes clear that he was playing politics in the lowest most obvious way possible. In his case, once the investigations start, the disease will render him braindead so he probably won’t be much use to anyone from this point forward.

And have I mentioned in the last few hours that we are paying this asshat’s salary?

See also Ron at Middle Earth Journal.

Update: Jack Cafferty calls Alberto Gonzales a “weasel.”

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. PoliticalCritic  •  Mar 12, 2007 @4:49 pm

    It’s not just the justice department that’s up to no good. If Congressman are calling U.S. Attorneys at home and then hanging up on them, it is a concerted effort by many in the GOP to purge these people.

  2. justme  •  Mar 12, 2007 @6:14 pm

    Weasels and scoundrels and asshats, oh my!!!!!!

    You know, I have been thinking for some time now that people are angry at the dems now for not cleaning up the mess the GOP has spent 6 years making in the less then three months they have had the majority and I think folks have been pissing up the wrong tree.
    If any republican ever wants to be elected to any office ever again they ought to be the ones feeling the pressure to clean up this friggin mess.The right is always bragging about how they “police their own” meanwhile we have the male escort business making a killing off of the values crowd and the before mentioned scoundrels,weasels and asshats(oh my!).Liberals don’t get some special glasses that help us spot these folks…righties can see the same damn thing we see and I don’t see their upstanding moral asses doing anything but casting a blind eye to the conduct of said Scoundrels,Weasels and asshats.THOSE are the folks we should be all over like stink on a turd blossom.
    I aint even gonna get started on rove…I swear if I look up Anti American roves photo will be there.He has done more damage to this country than any terrorist ever could.If something stinks you can bet your sweet behind rove is at the bottom of it.
    But if the right doesn’t get some nads real fast and relieve this country of the scoundrels and weasels and asshats they might as well not even show up for the 08 elections.If repubicans in congress and the senate don’t side with the American voters voice, spoken loud and clear in the Nov elections, and do something the American voter will not forgive the party in 08.Repubicans need to stand with their country and do what is right now…if they don’t they will be collecting unemployment.
    Where is the media, who has decided to start the race for 08 now asking the candidates what their views of rove and his latest stunt, their views of walter reed .I want to hear the GOP candidates say rendition is grand….why is no one asking them about the wonderful surge?If we are gonna start the 08 race now we have plenty of time to ask the candidates view on every big issue of the day….what is rudys view of how bush is running this war?What does mccain think of the FBI spy scandel?Is tancredo pro gitmo?How do they all feel about Gonzales lying to congress(pick a time)?If any party has some splaining to do it is the GOP…Will anyone even ask?I sure wanna know.

  3. Matt Connolly  •  Mar 12, 2007 @6:47 pm

    Justme – wow – you’re really upset. I don’t understand why you are so agitated. Rove is just following in the tradition of American politics. There have always been political fixers in the background. Rove has to take care of the Bushies while George remains above the fray. It’s his job. It’s the American way.
    It isn’t a Republican thing either. Look at the Democrats. Bill Clinton’s right hand man Sandy Berger goes into the Federal Archives and steals historical records. Oops, I mispoke, he accidentally tucked them into his pants.
    They all do it. The American voter in 08 is up a tree. The Dems can’t summons up enough courage to stop this war; the Republicans have shown themselves absolutely incapable of not raiding the American treasury.
    The FBI is a joke. Do you know why the opposed one of the US Attorney’s who was fired? He wanted them to record on tape any confessions or interviews they conducted. They were so upset that they undermined him. Tell me why the FBI will not record confessions? They have two agents sit there, take notes, and then go back to their office and type them up. They can make up anything they want. And you are surprised they were improperly sending our letters getting private information.

  4. moonbat  •  Mar 12, 2007 @8:21 pm

    …Rove is just following in the tradition of American politics…They all do it.

    Oh, it goes back much further than America, all powerful people need fixers of various kinds. I’m certain fixers existed among the Romans and Greeks, or even the Sumerians.

    But equating Sandy Berger with Karl Rove is a false equivalence, they’re in entirely different leagues. Nobody except wingnuts cared about Berger’s alleged misdeeds with the historical archives. To my knowledge this is the only wrong the guy has ever been accused of. Rove and the people he serves are orders of magnitude worse than anything that came before them, in recent history. It’ll be interesting to see if he and his cohorts can escape jail time.

    Same thing with the upcoming election in 2008. Rs have done a lot more damage to this country than merely stealing the Treasury. And there is still a lot of time left for the Ds to find their spine on the middle east. There’s still some time left for the Rs to hang themselves on their stupid policies, at which time the Ds, if they’re smart/gutsy enough, will move in for the kill.

  5. Matt Connolly  •  Mar 12, 2007 @10:01 pm

    [Deleted. Next time, Matt, if you are going to make claims, provide a link. I don’t know if what you claim is true or not, but it shouldn’t be my reponsibility to reasearch what you write.– maha]

  6. maha  •  Mar 12, 2007 @10:28 pm

    Matt Connolly: Sandy Berger pled builty and paid a hefty fine. That’s as it should be. However, what Berger did was hardly equitable to what the Justice Department is doing now. Alberto and Karl are turning the entire justice system into a machine for fixing elections for Republicans. That, son, is a whopping big deal and unprecedented in American history. It makes Watergate look like a Cub Scout outing.

    I am a long-time American history buff and can fill you in on many juicy details of past scandals. But the Bush Administration beats all of ’em. If you think what they are doing is “normal” you are an ignorant sot.

    Further, I don’t appreciate people coming on my blog and brainlessly repeating right-wing talking points. Grow a brain or get banned.

  7. justme  •  Mar 13, 2007 @12:17 am

    Ever notice the first thing they do is label you”upset” or “unhinged” whenever someone points out an injustice by one of theirs?…
    By matts logic every politician lies so why even bother to have them take oaths to be honest office holders?They all lie so it’s ok if they never tell us the truth.Hell why even ask them questions.It seems a waste of breath of we all expect them to lie anyhow.
    Come on, every president had their dirty deeds guy,so from now on we can expect future presidents to have hit squads(does matt think it will get better rather than worse than what we have now?)..lets just dismantle any legal system when it comes to the president and his men …this is nothing new…IN RUSSIA…putin could give bush some tips on how to do it up right.
    By the way, it seems to me Clinton was not in office when Berger got into trouble.We have an acting political advisor to a sitting president caught in yet another dirty act… to compare the two is pretty weak..rove is not a fixer …he is a destroyer and a criminal matt seems confused about the difference.Hmmm the moral party seems a bit morally challenged..which was exactly the point I made above(Thanks matt)
    As far as dems lacking the spine to stop the war.The dems are not lacking in spine they are lacking in votes.WHY you ask are they lacking?They are lacking the votes because the GOP lacks the spine to carry out the will of the American people and stand up to some in their own party to fix the mess THEY made…I know it is a mad idea , that they grow up and take control of the mess they left with no oversight for the past several years…Even Nixon era reps cared enough about their party and their country to stand up to Nixon..Please don’t mistake “upset” and “logical”…I have a very low BS tolerance level.

  8. bartkid  •  Mar 13, 2007 @9:07 am

    >When all else fails, blame incompetence.

    “Never ascribe to incompetence that which can adequately be explained by malevolence ”. -not Napoleon.

Last Refuge of a Soundrel

-->
Bush Administration

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” Samuel Johnson said. Maybe ’twas true then, but we’ve stooped a bit lower since. When all else fails, blame incompetence.

At least, that’s what the Wall Street Journal is doing. Check out this editorial:

Just when President Bush seemed to have beaten back the Congressional defeatists on Iraq, along comes his own Justice Department to undermine some hard-won antiterror policy gains. The incompetence at Justice is getting to be expensive for Presidential power.

Remember the five stages of grief? The Right goes through something similar whenever the Bush Administration is caught doing something bad.

  • Denial (Of course there were WMDs in Iraq!)
  • Anger (How dare lefties say Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq?)
  • Excuses (Everybody else thought there were WMDs in Iraq. Even Bill Clinton.)
  • Depression (Iraq is boring. Let’s play video games.)
  • Blame (We’re losing Iraq because liberals are defeat-o-crats who hate America.)
  • Remember, WSJ still believes President Bush has a glorious strategy for victory in Iraq. The WSJ s

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