The Non-Scandal Scandal Over The Fired US Attorneys

This silly little, manufactured kerfluffle over these fired US Attorneys has much more to do with the political ineptness of the White House than anything they did wrong.

Here’s the reality: the 93 US Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President. He can hire and fire them as he wishes. In fact, Clinton fired all 93 of them and replaced them when he was in office. Now, obviously if you fire every US Attorney, it HAS TO BE for political reasons since some of them must have been doing good jobs.

But, the Bush Administration? They didn’t do that. Apparently they considered it, decided it would be too disruptive, and picked out 8 that they thought should be fired.

So, what happens? The Democrats decide to pick a fight over it — nothing new about that, that’s what they do. And the Bush Administration? Now they’re on the defensive. They’ve got Alberto Gonzales meekly denying that the firings were politically motivated. D. Kyle Sampson has resigned. The Democrats are demanding that Rove testify….

Over what exactly? Here’s the breakdown from the lawyers at Power Line of who got fired,

“This time, eight prosecutors lost their jobs. It’s not implausible to think that out 93 U.S. Attorneys, eight might be good candidates for replacement. But let’s take a quick look at some of the specifics. According to the Post, three of them had low ratings — Margaret Chiara in Michigan, Carol Lam in San Diego, and Bud Cummins in Little Rock. Cummins was replaced by Tim Griffin, whose career Karl Rove apparently wanted to advance. There’s nothing novel in appointing a rising star with good connections to the job of U.S. Attorney. I’ve seen no evidence that Griffin was unqualified and, as noted, Cummins had received a poor rating.

Two of the fired prosecutors — Kevin Ryan in San Francisco and David Iglesias in Albuquerque — received strong evaluations. But according to the Post, Ryan’s firing “has generated few complaints because of widespread management and morale problems in his office.”

The focus instead is on Iglesias because, in addition to the strong evaluation, he was not on the original list of prosecutors recommended for removal by Gonzales’ aide Kyle Sampson. Rather, he apparently was added as a candidate for removal in response to complaints from New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici and other New Mexico Republicans that he was not prosecuting enough voter-fraud cases.

Is the firing of Iglesias a genuine scandal? As David Frum notes, it depends on the facts: was there a serious problem of voter fraud in the state, was Iglesias sluggish in dealing with it, and did the administration act even-handedly by insisting that its U.S. Attorneys adequately deal with serious allegations of voter fraud lodged by both political parties?”

So basically, this whole non-scandal scandal is over one guy who was dragging his feet in investigating voter fraud. Yet, the White House is taking it on the chin.

What they should be doing is exactly what the Clinton Administration would be doing in a situation like this; relentlessly and savagely attacking the other side, calling it a political witch hunt, and telling the public that this is exactly why we can’t have bipartisanship in Washington, because these jerks keep pulling stunts like this.

This whole thing is a big joke, but because the Bush Administration is still, STILL, for the most part sticking with this “new tone” mush and letting the Democrats use them as punching bags, the joke is on the Bushies.

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