Of course this all has to do with the confrontation-du-jour between the Executive and Legislative branches of our government - in particular, the scandal involving the dismissals of eight US attorneys. I'm not going to get into the specifics of this scandal, because I've already done that once, and certainly there have been many other bloggers and journalists who've articulated all the points ad nauseum.
My shtick at this juncture is to ask a tough question of the Bush Administration - Why are you insisting on shielding your senior officials from answering questions from Congress UNDER OATH, ON THE RECORD, AND IN PUBLIC? The only possible reason for this is that they have things to hide. Of course they have many things to hide, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. After all, we don't want our enemies finding out things they shouldn't. The Bush Administration has been THE MOST SECRETIVE of any presidential administration ever. The real question we need to answer is - are they hiding some wrongdoing? Or.. Have the Bushies been naughty?
We've gone through this before with Dubya and the 9/11 commission. There's no reason whatsoever that ANYONE should be exempt from being honest when testifying.
On The Record
Here's where I agree with George. I don't believe these hearings should be in public. In fact, I think they should be closed-door hearings so that NO ONE outside of the Congressional committee (and necessary staffers) and the questionee are in attendance.
In this way, each administration official testifying will not have visibility as to what the others testified. Sure, they can try to coordinate their stories, but if they don't know what each of them said, there's a better chance of catching one or more of them in a lie when their stories don't synch. They'll be even more compelled to tell the truth, and there'll be no objections about national security if it's not broadcasted to the public.
At the pleasure of the President
Jon Stewart had a great sketch on how the right-wing talking points espouse presidential prerogative. The Daily Show put together a montage of clips of each neo-con saying essentially the same thing - "... [so-and-so] serves at the pleasure of the President...".