Democratic leaders have consistently shown that they are no match for their Republican counterparts. Whenever an opportunity presents itself to swoop down for the kill; congressional Democrats start preening for the cameras or bloviating on the floor of the House.
That’s not how you get things done in Washington. If the Democrats are serious about ruling, they ought to bring a sledgehammer to work and start pounding away at the obstacles.
The firing of the “Gonzales 8” is a perfect opportunity to zero-in on the Justice Department and start tossing bodies on the burn pile. But it’ll take someone with enough brains to figure out what’s really going on and big enough cahones to go for the jugular. That’s how a predator brings down the live-game and that’s what it’ll take to rout the mob bosses at the D.O.J. Anyone who gets squeamish over a little political blood-letting should probably get a job in retail–not government.
Gonzales is already on his last legs. He signed his own death warrant by his ham-fisted treatment of the US Attorneys. The firings have turned out to be big trouble for Team Bush. Gonzales has hung a giant Bull’s Eye on the administration’s back and then pushed them in front of the firing squad.All the Democrats have to do is take aim and blast away.
But are they up to it?
The firing of the Attorney’s appears to be one of those careless slip-ups that happen when men are blinded by hubris. Rove and Gonzales knew that their actions would start a political firestorm, but decided to go ahead anyway. Now they’re getting pummeled from all sides and someone will have to be thrown to the wolves. The question is: Who?
There’s no doubt now that the firings were politically motivated. Whether the attorneys failed to investigate voter fraud cases (which would have contested elections where Democrats won) or whether they were just too eager in pursuing corruption charges against Republicans; the cases all bear one striking similarity”the attorneys’ resisted Washington’s meddling and then ended up paying the price. They were all canned. End of story.
The Dems need to find out who was behind the purge? Was it Bush’s buddy Gonzales or the Houston schoolmarm, Harriet Miers?
The problem is that neither Miers nor Gonzales had a motive. They didn’t care how cases were prosecuted in San Diego or Seattle. What difference did it make to them? And why would they want to replace hard working, conservative attorneys with party hacks? They had nothing to gain and everything to lose.
The only one who had a motive was Karl Rove. Rove’s job is to build a permanent Republican majority and smash the Democratic Party in the process. If that means replacing principled conservatives in the US Attorneys Office with Bush loyalists; then, so be it.
The question of “corrupting the justice system” probably never entered Rove’s mind. The Military Commissions Act, the Patriot Act, the repeal of habeas corpus, due process and the presumption of innocence are all grim reminders of the administration’s contempt for justice. They have equal disdain for law enforcement; preferring 9-11-type round ups by federal shock troops rather than the traditional methods of crime prevention.
So why are the Democrats so surprised that the US Attorney’s offices would be turned into a political beehive for Bush loyalists?
Isn’t that the logical extension of the way the administration conducts all of its business? Politics are of paramount importance and everything else is secondary. Rove was just assembling the levers of power so he could destroy his rivals whenever he chose.
Wasn’t that the real objective?
Of the hundreds of articles which have appeared in the mainstream press; only one reveals the real strategy behind firings. Adam Liptak of the New York Times summed it up like this:
“Whatever motivated the recent firings, they are of a piece with the administration’s efforts to centralize power in Washington.A crisis like the Sept. 11 attacks creates the occasion for a monolithic model for law enforcement and national security..It creates a lot of pressure for a top-down model. That includes even traditionally autonomous actors like U.S. attorneys” (Adam Liptak, “For Federal Prosecutors, Politics is Ever-Present” NY Times)
“Centralized power”, “top-down model”, “monolithic model of law enforcement and national security”; these are the basic elements of authoritarian, “one party” rule. In other words–dictatorship.
Whose dream is that; Gonzales? Miers?
The purge of the US Attorneys has Rove’s bloody fingerprints all over it. Justice doesn’t matter. Law enforcement doesn’t matter. All that matters is destroying one’s enemies, rewarding one’s friends, and strengthening the one party system. That’s it. It’s even better if the friends are crooks. That just makes them easier to control.
The Democrats need to realize that the Bush administration’s success relies heavily on key players who are indispensable to the smooth operation of the political machine. Rove is the main gear in the state apparatus. He is the brain-trust for Bush’s oligarchy of racketeers.
Taking down Rove should be the Democrats’ top priority. Ousting Miers or Gonzales achieves nothing. It is a waste of time. If you’re gonna beat Bush, you gotta go after Rove.
That means issuing subpoenas, building a case, marching Rove to the dock, and grilling him until he cracks.
Anything else is bound to fail.
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org