Unsurprising Surprise

4 comments March 9th, 2007at 11:06am Posted by Eli

If Krugman’s surprised, then he’s not cynical enough yet.

[I]t’s becoming clear that the politicization of the Justice Department was a key component of the Bush administration’s attempt to create a permanent Republican lock on power….

For now, the nation’s focus is on the eight federal prosecutors fired by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. In January, Mr. Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee, under oath, that he “would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney for political reasons.” But it’s already clear that he did indeed dismiss all eight prosecutors for political reasons — some because they wouldn’t use their offices to provide electoral help to the G.O.P., and the others probably because they refused to soft-pedal investigations of corrupt Republicans.

In the last few days we’ve also learned that Republican members of Congress called prosecutors to pressure them on politically charged cases, even though doing so seems unethical and possibly illegal.

The bigger scandal, however, almost surely involves prosecutors still in office. The Gonzales Eight were fired because they wouldn’t go along with the Bush administration’s politicization of justice. But statistical evidence suggests that many other prosecutors decided to protect their jobs or further their careers by doing what the administration wanted them to do: harass Democrats while turning a blind eye to Republican malfeasance.

Donald Shields and John Cragan, two professors of communication, have compiled a database of investigations and/or indictments of candidates and elected officials by U.S. attorneys since the Bush administration came to power. Of the 375 cases they identified, 10 involved independents, 67 involved Republicans, and 298 involved Democrats. The main source of this partisan tilt was a huge disparity in investigations of local politicians, in which Democrats were seven times as likely as Republicans to face Justice Department scrutiny.


And let’s not forget that Karl Rove’s candidates have a history of benefiting from conveniently timed federal investigations. Last year Molly Ivins reminded her readers of a curious pattern during Mr. Rove’s time in Texas: “In election years, there always seemed to be an F.B.I. investigation of some sitting Democrat either announced or leaked to the press. After the election was over, the allegations often vanished.”

But how could anyone possibly expect it to be otherwise? Bush and the Republicans believe that the sole purpose of government is to satisfy their own shabby and violent desires; it is inconceivable that they would not take maximum advantage of such a powerful tool as the Justice Department (and doesn’t that name sound Orwellian now) for partisan purposes.

Indeed, the only part of this that’s surprising is that they accidentally hired some U.S. Attorneys who took their job responsibilities seriously. How on earth did that happen???

And how did Fitz end up as the Plamegate prosecutor, for that matter? I’ve never understood how BushCo. let a non-crony manage such a potentially dangerous case.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans


  • 1. Glenn  |  March 9th, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    No malfeasance from this administration should surprise anyone. Being from Louisiana I’m used to political crooks and can usually spot ’em a mile away!

  • 2. Eli  |  March 9th, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Malfeasance is the only kind of feasance they know.

    Well, other than the ones Cheney shoots at.

  • 3. Glenn  |  March 9th, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    “Well, other than the ones Cheney shoots at.”

    And he can’t do that without screwing up somebody else’s life. Yep, most feasance are safe when Cheney’s around.

  • 4. Ol'Froth  |  March 11th, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    STarts bringing Mary Beth’s Tommy Chong/Pete DeFazio/Cyril Wecht trifecta into question. BTW, what ever happened to the Cyril case??

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