Josh Marshall’s outfit isn’t the only group doing actual journalism, as opposed to the driving by to check out countertops kind. Scott Horton has covered the politicization of DOJ prosecutions like cheet on Goldberg.
Within the Justice Department itself, the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Inspector General are conducting a joint investigation into the case of the “Gonzales Eight,” namely the firing of eight U.S. attorneys on December 7, 2006. Preliminary inquiries by Congress produced the resignation in disgrace of most of the senior leadership of the Justice Department, including Attorney General Gonzales. Now ee hear that Alberto Gonzales has “lawyered up” — for good reason. The internal probe will, I am told, demonstrate a stunning pattern of management of political prosecutions out of the White House. Karl Rove himself figures at the center of the process. And George W. Bush will put in more than a couple of key appearances in the process before this drama has been played out. The internal probe has already assembled explosive evidence of precisely this sort of abuse in its examination of the dismissal of New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. And the inquiry has barely begun to address the parallel facts in Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, Las Vegas and Little Rock.
We have to assume that Attorney General Mukasey will find a way to get these investigators working on more politically acceptable subjects (there must be a black person committing vote fraud somewhere). Marshall has more, via The Hill:
[A]lthough Fine has never said when the probe will wrap-up, the Hill cites “one source close to the investigation” who “expects the offices to issue a scathing report within the next three months.” We’ll see.
Out of the countless corners of government perverted by the mayberry machiavellis, the most galling wasn’t actually turning the DoJ into the enforcement arm for one political party. That dubious honor would go to the decision to use war, lies about war and terrorism fear as an election strategy. Provoking an unnecessary war that killed more Americans than 9/11 based on motives that at best can be described as tragically mistaken, and then managing every aspect based on partisan politics instead of competence will have to top any list of disgraceful legacies from the Bush years.
On the other hand, screwing up a war counts more as a utilitarian tragedy. Politicizing the government’s law enforcement cost us less in blood and treasure, but from a fundamental constitutional perspective it might be the more catastrophic failure with lasting consequences for the country. The present administration, for example, loves to cite America’s weak moments when Lincoln suspended Habeas corpus, or FDR rounded up American citizens, as useful precedents. Think about the cornucopia of precedent that Rove’s Permanent Majority project will leave behind for the next President with a gaping hole where his moral core ought to be. A leftwing wannabe Stalin could hardly ask for more – surveillance, detention and torture of American citizens without trial, intimidating political enemies through a grossly skewed investigation bias, show trials, it’s all in there.
If nobody sees a day of jail then the seeds will be planted for a president with a similar disregard for the principles of America’s founders, but competent.