Monday, March 26, 2007

Why Is the Purge Scandal Important

All yesterday afternoon and last evening I was wondering how to address the new talking point first announced by Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah and quickly picked up by one of the Republican talking heads on Lou Dobbs Weekend. According to Cannon, US Attorneys are political appointees, the President can fire political appointees. He did. Big deal.

I have been thinking about how to respond because we are dealing with an issue so fundamental to American democracy we are almost dealing with first principles. I want to get it right. Of course, it is a big deal if he fired them for improper or illegal reasons. Wouldn't converting the justice department into a purely partisan tool designed to help one party or another win elections be an improper or maybe even an illegal reason? Wouldn't such a subversion shake the very core of our nation. Anyway that is what has been tumbling around in my head.

This morning I opened Talking Points Memo and read Josh Marshall's comment. It is a little long and rambling for Josh, indicating he really hasn't thought it through completely, but obviously he is trying to address the question with which I have been struggling.

What is shocking about this administration is its utter lack of respect for American institutions. More later. I have to go to work. Read Josh, he is getting to the heart of the issue.

You might also try reading Kevin Drumm's morning piece. It has a link to Robert Novak. I am not sure Kevin is right to suggest that this scandal is all about Republican incompetence, although incompetence plays a role.