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Like The Musicians On The Titanic, Some Republicans Going Down With Ship In US Attorney Scandal

March 14th, 2007 | by Ken Grandlund |

Okay- it’s probably not fair to the musicians of the Titanic to compare them to the sleaze that is today’s Republican party, but the analogy seemed to work for me. In the scandal that is the US Attorney political purge, some elected Republican officials and their civilian counterparts (posing as American citizens) seem ever more intent on rallying around an AG and president who have shown that medieval-like fealty to the Head Dunce is more valuable than doing what is right by the country and their constituents.

Take California Congressman Darrell Issa, the richest republican congressman, and a man with a shady past all his own. Issa (who happens to be the congressman for my district) repeatedly called over several years for San Diego Us Attorney Carol Lam to be fired. He claimed over and over that Lam wasn’t doing her job, specifically by not focusing enough on immigrant and gun smuggling from Mexico. (Funny that Issa’s early trouble involved gun charges, but hey…)

However, initial responses from the AG’s office didn’t jibe with Issa’s claims, showing that Lam’s office was actually working on more immigration cases (up 33% from 2003 to 2005) and getting longer sentences for those convicted. Prosecutions on other immigration-related crimes doubled between 2004-2005. Oh yea, and she nailed some prominent corrupt Republican officials and donors as well.

But this post isn’t about the rationale behind the firings. We all understand that this is pure politics at play here, combined with a handy little insertion in the latest Patriot Act that changed the method for appointing interim US Attorneys from a 180 day appointment to an indefinite appointment without congressional approval.

What smacks even more is to listen to two-bit politicians like Issa spin their way around this debacle even as they try to portray the White House as doing nothing wrong.

In a quick soundbite this morning on NPR (link not yet available) Issa said that Congress should stay out of the US Attorney firing business. He has said that this is an issue of presidential prerogerative and not a matter for Congress to investigate. According to Issa, the White House “has the right to fire them at will.”

Technically, Issa is right. The White House does have the right to fire any US Attorney it appoints. That the little clause in the Patriot Act is entirely new and was never an option for any other president seems to pass these supposedly learned individuals by completely. It is that factor that significantly makes these firings unprecedented. But when Issa crys foul at congressional investigations into what is clearly an abuse of the public trust (i.e. that elected officials won’t put party above country) he is a two-faced whiner.

If congress should stay out of the firing scandal, because it is an executive matter, as Issa now claims, than they sure as hell shouldn’t have been lobbying the executive branch to remove prosecutors in the first place. If congress should stay “out of it” they shouldn’t have made calls to prosecutors with veiled threats like was done in new Mexico.

I’m sorry Mr. Issa. You put your foot into this mess long before it came back to bite you in the ass. Now you have to deal with it. Issa has claimed that he didn’t really have much to do with Lam’s ousting. I call bullshit. For years, he made the case for her to go. Now he’s saying congress should stay out of it. You can’t have it both ways. And he’s backing up the president all the way. Of course, Issa also backed Duke Cunningham up all the way too. All the way until the Dukestir confessed to being a dirty crook, that is.

Personally, I can’t see what’s in this for politicians like Issa. It’s not like Bush is going to be re-elected. It’s not like the Neo-Con agenda is going to make a comeback. Maybe it’s just an inability to admit mistakes, to come clean, to take your licks for screwing up. Or maybe, just maybe, Issa knows that the ship is sinking and is trying to make sure that he gets a seat in someone’s lifeboat. I wonder how many women and children he’ll push out of the way to save his own ass?

[tag]US+Attorney+Scandal, Darrell+Issa, Carol+Lam, politics[/tag]

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