The Bush Administration Plays Limbo With The Law: How Low Can They Go?
When liars testify before Congress, surprise, surprise...THEY LIE. Alberto Gonzales is in hot water because he has repeatedly lied about his involvement in the firing of 9 US Prosecutors so why should we expect that he’d tell the truth under oath? The grilling Gonzales received from both Democrats and Republicans on Thursday did nothing to shed light on the truth, but the AG’s answers to the questions posed to him did highlight the lack of credibility of his current story which boils down to, ‘I fired them, but I don’t know how they made it on the list to be fired, but I can assure you that there were not improper motives for firing them, although I can’t tell you the proper reasons.’ In other words, trust me. Sorry Gonzo, checks written on your credibility account have been bouncing for years.
My favorite moment in the hearing was when Senator Chuck Schumer pointed out that the Attorney General had set the bar unbelievably low as to what constitutes improper behavior. Both Gonzales and his Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson stated multiple times under oath that it would be improper to fire a US Attorney in an effort to interfere with a specific case. No Mr. Gonzales, that would be ILLEGAL. One would think that what is improper would fall well below that egregious offense. But even that charge cannot be fully dismissed considering that Carol Lam was fired just as her investigation into public corruption had moved beyond the Legislative branch and was inching closer to the White House. While the interference in that case may very well be illegal, certainly firing Prosecutors that won’t carry out the political agenda as laid out by Karl Rove, is improper to say the least.
One thing we know about the Bush administration is that they suck at policy but they revel in politics. This administration has shown a willingness hell, an eagerness, to weaken government agencies in an effort to strengthen their political hand. It’s who they are. The fact that they have politicized the Justice Department, while not surprising, is detrimental to the functioning of our government on the most basic level. It recalibrates the dispensing of justice to favor a political party over the people. That is why this investigation matters and why we should care what it reveals. I don’t much care if Alberto Gonzales is nailed for the underlying crime, as long as he’s nailed for a crime and driven far away from our government and barred from dispensing his form of justice (torture and illegal wiretapping to name a few) ever again.
Like Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s obstruction of Justice, Alberto Gonzales’s lying to Congress could result in one more tumor excised from our ailing democracy. It doesn’t much matter how that tumor is discovered, just that it is removed. Now if we could just get Cheney for tax evasion (or war profiteering) and Bush for illegal use of prescription drugs (or reckless incompetence), then we’d really be on our way to a more perfect union.