Sunday, March 04, 2007

U.S. Attorneys: scandal or blunder?

Dahlia Lithwick at has a pretty interesting piece on the Bush administration's purge of at least eight (8) U.S. attorneys around the country. I admit that I haven't followed the issue too closely, but it has shown some staying power as an issue, especially with some of the fired officials subpoenaed to testify before congressional committees.

Dahlia (I've enjoyed her writing for several years, although the couple of times I've seen her on news shows I find something -- can't pinpoint what -- offputting about her) suggests that from what we know now it appears it was both scanadalous and a sign of incompetence.

Money quote: "Did they really think nobody would notice? That nobody would care? Does some incredibly cunning long-term objective justify the short-termfallout? Or was this simply a case of bumbling incompetence?

"A little digging on the subject leads me to conclude that it's a bit of both."

The gist, as best I can synopsize it, is that it could well have been done to "qualify" certain favored loyalists for future federal judgeships, a priority for Karl Rove and others. But the Bushies have had a Congress disinclined to conduct serious, critical oversight for six years, and haven't yet adjusted to the fact that the opposition party now controls Congress. So they fumbled the way it was handled -- most notably in initially criticizing the performance of those pushed out when performance was probably not a factor.

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