Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Democrats' Own Stained Blue Dress

Admittedly, I am behind the times here, but I can't just ignore the Department of Justice investigations (witch hunt?) on a blog like this. I promise one day also to write about the detainees (hostages?) in Iran.

My first reaction upon hearing that 8 U.S. Attorneys had been fired was, "must be a slow news day." Then as the story gained momentum and investigations began and subpoenas started flying all over Washington, my eyes started rolling and haven't stopped. My distaste for this whole affair boils down to this: With all there is to criticize this administration about, why are we wasting so much time, energy and money pursuing a "scandal" which is mild at most and fabricated at worst? I certainly understand that Democrats have an impulse to undermine Bush at every possible turn (the same impulse the GOP had with the first, and I hope only, President Clinton). Giving in to such impulses has at least two negative consequences for the Democrats:

1) It's become a big distraction that ultimately will have little political consequence; and
2) It really makes them look petty.

We Republicans know this from experience. Back in Monica-gate, we GOPers got all in a tizzy that Clinton would have an inappropriate relationship with an intern. Then we got even more indignant when Clinton lied about it. So followed a political spectacle that I only hope we are ashamed of now. What were the results? Clinton, already a lame duck, was acquitted. Newt Gingrich lost all credibility with the public. In the next election, Republicans lost 2 seats in both the House and Senate, and Bush won the presidency on a technicality. Like we Republicans (should have) learned, manufactured scandals are not politically useful.

Of course, you can argue that activities within the DOJ have a bit more weight than do activities within Monica Lewinsky. But by and large, a lame duck president's alleged cronyism isn't going to make much difference--especially when an incoming Clinton fired ALL the then sitting U.S. Attorneys (many thanks to theobromophile for finding this link). And let's not forget that lying to a grand jury is no small thing either.

Besides, mightn't we all take a cue from the the film The American President? After a manufactured scandal, President Shepherd (played superbly by my favorite disgustingly liberal actor, Michael Douglas) was able to rise above the dirty politics and get support for his frighteningly broad gun control bill. We wouldn't want something like that to happen, would we?


Jason said...

Yeah... it makes me bang my head against the wall in shame.

I mean... we as Democrats blast the Republicans for being petty, for pursuing such little minute things just to undermine power and cause a scene and make themselves look better and morally superior. The Clinton scandal all over a pointless sexual affair that most people do all the time and many presidents have done in the past. It was such a sad attempt to snatch power through mud slinging.

And then we do the same thing.

It's just... when will either side learn to be different... to take the moral high ground and concentrate on actual issues and not petty little things like this?

It's this kinda stuff that makes me ashamed of both parties and politics in this country. I can only hope one day America will stop falling for such silly tricks.

Matt said...

I don't really know anything about this, but...uhh...I think this is a LOT different from Monica. They fired 8 prosecutors because they weren't being partisan attack dogs. And nobody is suggesting we impeach the president (at least not over this). But the Republicans impeached the president over a blowjob and a lie that any husband would instinctively tell. I'm not saying Clinton was innocent. But Gonzales is a lot less innocent. Maybe Bush's cronyism and corruption is old news because he's a lame duck. But it's important that the country knows that the Republicans aren't the holier-than-thous that they portray themselves to be. It doesn't matter for Bush, but it might matter in 2008.

Pink Elephant said...

I fully agree with you, Matt, that Monica-gate was a ridiculous example of partisan pettiness. There is no defending it, and it is certainly the more egregious example in my little comparison. Similarly, I'm not saying that Gonzales is innocent, and I wouldn't shed too many tears if he were no longer US Attorney General. However, I still don't think that the firing of 8 appointed members of the executive branch warrants the attention it has gotten.

theobromophile said...

Thanks for the shout-out!

I heard yesterday that Clinton did the 93 in '93 sweep so as to avoid indictments over Whitewater.

He then proceeded to fire 30 MORE attorneys during his administration. Bush fired the attorneys for failing to investigate voting rights issues.