I recall fondly the wave of euphoria that washed over me as the numbers began rolling in at the close of the November 2006 election. We might not be rid of the nightmare horrors of the Bush administration, but it would certainly be called to task for its commission of its diabolical behaviors by the solidly Democratic House.
Accountability — oh what a deliriously refreshing lyric and beautiful promise — evaporated the moment Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid proclaimed “Impeachment is off the table.”
What? Why? My mind reeled. How? Just look at the evidence. L-l-look . . . I’m no big fan of Bill Clinton. B-b-but just look . . . Look at what the Republicans did to the Clinton administration, all in an open bid, not to chase down some egregious crime, but in a raw pursuit of power! Now we’ve got these gangsters, lying the country into a wholly needless war, this mob that gave break after break after break to their buds (tax cuts and no-bid contracts!), that’s robbing the middle-class, pushing the truly desperate farther down . . . hundreds of billions lost and squandered in the desert, and not a peep of concern from either the administration or the Republicans for six years . . . crapping all over the Constitution . . . my Constitution, the most sacred document ever on Earth . . . just . . . and now, finally, there’s a shot at accountability, and you do what?What ought parents tell their kids? Other than perhaps the veneer of civility, what’s the difference between MS13, the Bloods, the Crips, the Hells Angels and Sonny Barger, and . . . Is it all really BS? Is it all just a charade? Doing the right thing and law are irrelevant if you carry a Bible under your arm and talk the talk. Power is all that really matters. Is that it?
Yeah, that’s exactly what Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have said, and that is why all congress is regarded with contempt today. Today’s NYT editorial calls for the House to make one last stabbing grasp at the rung of accountability, and respectability.
— Ed Tubbs
New York Times
February 14, 2008
Time to Vote Contempt
Alberto Gonzales may be out, but the country is still waiting for a full accounting of how he and his White House patrons cynically politicized the Justice Department. Congress is rightly asking questions about the actions of yet another United States attorney: New Jersey’s Christopher J. Christie.
The House also needs to stop procrastinating and vote to hold witnesses in contempt for refusing to testify in the wider scandal.
Federal prosecutors must be scrupulously nonpartisan. Mr. Christie, a Republican activist who got his job despite a lack of trial and criminal-law experience, has gone up to the line of acceptable behavior — and possibly crossed it. He began an investigation of Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, late in a hard-fought election campaign. The charges now appear baseless, but at the time the news provided a big boost to Mr. Menendez’s Republican opponent.
Mr. Christie went against a long Justice Department presumption against opening investigations or bringing indictments right before an election, to avoid affecting the outcome. There are also questions about Mr. Christie’s decision to award, without competitive bidding, a lucrative contract to monitor a company accused of consumer fraud.
The winner? Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, an influential Republican who was once Mr. Christie’s boss. Senate and House leaders have asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate.
Some of the people who likely know the most about the role politics has played in the Bush Justice Department have defied Congressional subpoenas to testify. Joshua Bolten, the White House chief of staff, and Harriet Miers, the former White House counsel, contend that they are protected from testifying by executive privilege.
That is not enough. They have a legal obligation to appear before Congress and plead that privilege to specific questions. The House Judiciary Committee voted in July to hold Mr. Bolten and Ms. Miers in contempt.