In Nixon's second term we were subjected to Watergate. In Reagan's second term we were subjected to Iran-Contra. In the late 1990's we were subjected to a steady diet of Monica & Whitewater. (Yes, the Republican-controlled Congress made it their mission to attack Clinton in every way possible, until they finally nailed him for lying about a blow-job.)
The Bush Administration's second term is no exception when it comes to scandals. In fact, the Bush Administration is nothing but scandal, because they're completely and utterly corrupt. These latest two scandals, the CIA Leak and the US Attorney firings, are a clear indication of how the neo-cons at the top manipulated and cajoled to hold on to power and attack their enemies. Their political enemies, that is. I'm not talking about terrorists... I'm talking about Democrats.
The US Attorney Dismissals
As I write this Alberto Gonzales is still the Attorney General of the United States. However, the US attorney firings scandal is unfolding and it's likely that he will not survive the Bush tenure. Even Republicans are starting to call for his resignation.
The right-wingers are espousing the argument that previous administrations (Clinton) fired all of the US attorneys when THEY were elected. Sure, the US attorneys, along with everyone else in the administration, serve "... at the pleasure of the president". It is true that Clinton, and every other president, made sweeping changes in the Justice Department when they took office. That's their prerogative because, as they say, "to the victor go the spoils". The difference is that Clinton replaced the US attorneys through the appropriate mechanisms. Each nominated attorney went through a vetting and approval process to satisfy Congressional oversight. Each nominated attorney was qualified. And none of the attorneys in Clinton's tenure were fired for not being political attack dogs on Republican operatives. Bush/Rove/Gonzales, on the other hand, are now firing US attorneys that THEY hired in the first place, specifically because they didn't kowtow to Republican demands to attack Democrats. And they're appointing new attorneys without going through the formal approval process, by exploiting a loophole in the USA Patriot Act. Yes, the Bushies are real big on recess appointments - they hate to be subjected to Congressional scrutiny.
So the core issue of the US attorney dismissals scandal is that these attorneys were being pressured by Alberto Gonzales (i.e. the Bush Administration) to go after Democratic candidates in the run up to the 2004 & 2006 elections. There are a lot more sub-plots here, such as Carol Lam's prosecution of Duke Cunningham which earned her a pink slip, but by-and-large what we're seeing is a concentrated effort by the Bush Administration to attack their political enemies to stay in power. While George, Dick, & Karl were the masterminds, Gonzo will take the heat and be the fall guy.
The firings of the 8 attorneys who didn't capitulate to Republican demands is just the tip of the iceberg. I wish some investigative reporter would do some real research about all the rest of them who did.
The CIA Leak Scandal
Yes, the CIA Leak scandal showed us how far the Bush Administration will go. Scooter's trial brought out mounds of evidence depicting Rove & Cheney as The Riddler & The Penguin plotting to take down Batman.. er.. Joseph Wilson, who clearly stood for truth and justice. But in the end, while George, Dick, & Karl were the evil masterminds, Scooter took the heat and ended up the fall guy. This time the price paid was our national security, since Valerie Plame was an undercover agent working on non-proliferation of WMD's in the Middle East. The White House sacrificed her, her front company (Brewster Jennings), and all the intelligence assets who were ever associated with them, in an effort to discredit someone who exposed their lies which led us to war.
The Three Stooges (George, Dick & Karl) continue to lie, cheat, & steal their way into the history books, while their underlings pay the price. Then again, even these underlings aren't paying the ultimate price... They're not in Iraq sacrificing their lives for their boss’ profits.