The Essential Myth
The shocked reaction to the abrupt dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys points to the essence of our current political problems. The broad based political reaction to the Gonzales firings contains one critical assumption: this is an aberrant act. Something terribly wrong has taken place and the political establishment rises to defend the system.
That’s the set up and that’s the story. The set up is a lie. The firings are normal procedure. The bipartisan reaction is not so much to the injustice of it all. It’s a reaction to the total absence of art and discretion.
The system wasn’t abused so much as exposed.
How did the story emerge? Eight U.S. Attorneys are fired on December 7, 2006. We don’t hear much until early March when one of them, David Iglesias, speaks up and cries foul. After his complaints, the sacked eight speak up to varying degrees and its game on.
The story ignited when the fired attorneys complained. Before that, there was no outcry, little attention, and no Republican demands for the head of Alberto Gonzales. With a bit more skill and a better retirement package in place, there may well have been no complaints and no story.
After all, they only had to take care of eight people. But they didn’t and the controversy arose. Now we have a huge scandal posing as a threat to the system; a scandal that arose as a personnel matter (I didn’t deserve to be fired!). If this is such an outrage, why the lag time to outrage?
Under normal conditions, the story would have a gratifying final act. Gonzales would be censured in some way, retire himself, and then be replaced by someone who would do exactly the same things he’d been doing, but in a more discrete fashion. There’s just one problem. We don’t have business as usual with the Bush-Cheney junta. Their profound arrogance and self-centeredness leads to the sloppy implementation of standard operating procedure which gives the system a lot of bad press.
The Justice Department is just a small fragment of the larger picture of the administration's political strategies that use the federal bureaucracy to advance their goal driven agenda of power and control.
The Hatch Act regulating the political activity of federal employees is clear:
These federal and DC employees may not:
· use official authority or influence to interfere with an election
· engage in political activity while: on duty; in a government office; wearing an official uniform; or using a government vehicle.
Real Evidence of a Real Scandal or Business as Usual?