Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Attorney General Dead-end, Part 2

As I pointed out in yesterday's post, the whole attorney general firing scandal is a dead-end. Simply put, feel free to complain about it, but don't you dare suggest a solution.

Probably the best example of a similar scandal was Bill Clinton's last minute pardons before he left office. The fact is that he took money for his presidential library in order to issue some of those pardons. We can all agree what he did was highly unethical.

But if we look at it as a problem, what would the solution be? We could amend the Constitution to limit or eliminate the presidential pardon power.

If we limit pardons by giving Congress oversight, what do we gain? Congress is not known for its high ethical standards.

If we eliminate the presidential pardon power, what happens when the court system makes a glaring mistake? Sorry, we will just have to live with it.

Again, we come back to a problem without a solution, or where the solutions are worse than the problem itself.

But if you absolutely positively MUST have a solution to the problem, it is really quite simple: Vote for ethical politicians! Our government does not, and should not, run on auto-pilot. Take responsibility for YOUR VOTE! If you vote for unethical politicians, don't blame the government, because YOU made it!

7 comments:

William R. Barker said...

Ed wrote...

"Probably the best example of a similar scandal was Bill Clinton's last minute pardons before he left office. The fact is that he took money for his presidential library in order to issue some of those pardons. We can all agree what he did was highly unethical."

For what it's worth, Ed... I don't see ANY similarity. Is someone alleging that Gonzales or Bush fired those eight U.S. Attorneys because someone BRIBED them to do so???

As for the HIRING aspects... like it or not, that's the system - it's called patronage. (And by the way, as I pointed out long ago - and as many news reports/editorials have noted - when it comes to U.S. Attorneys (and most judges for that matter!) it is the senior STATE elected officials who "advises" the president of their Party WHO to appoint in the first place. For good or ill, that's simply STANDARD PRACTICE. And so logically... if let's say Governor X or Senator Y or Congressman Z had a voice (a KEY voice) in the HIRING in the first place... why would those same elected officials making CRITICISMS of the eventual appointees be a problem???

Back to your Clinton example...

"But if we look at it as a problem, what would the solution be? We could amend the Constitution to limit or eliminate the presidential pardon power."

Yep. They (Congress, state activists) could try to CHANGE the Constitutional powers of the presidency by Constitutional Amendment... but I agree with you - it wouldn't be a good idea. Regardless of how unethical Clinton's actions were... bottom line... he was acting within his Constitutional authority and since he did it on the WAY OUT OF OFFICE... there was simply nothing to be done.

BILL

William R. Barker said...

Hey... I just found a GREAT example of the MSM in action:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/29/washington/29gonzales.html?ei=5090&en=a8b24781c5924096&ex=1332820800&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print (NYT - 3/29 - Prosecutors Assail Gonzales During Meeting - by Johnston and Lewis)
"
QUOTES:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales endured blunt criticism Tuesday from federal prosecutors..."

* None identified by name of course.

"About a half-dozen United States attorneys voiced their concerns..."

* Ditto.

"Several of the prosecutors said..."

* Ditto.

"Others asked Mr. Gonzales about..."

* Ditto.

"In Chicago, some prosecutors accused Mr. Gonzales’s subordinates..."

* Ditto. (Not to mention the ALSO unidentified "subordinates.") (*SMIRK*)

"At least one prosecutor complained..."

* Ditto.

"...a person familiar with the discussions said."

(*SMIRK*) (Ya can't make this stuff up!!! And this is the frigg'n NEW YORK TIMES!!! An entire house of cards "news" story based upon SUPPOSED quotes from UNIDENTIFIED sources.) (What was that guy's name... BLAIR...??? Jayson Blair - right?)

Ed... I'm not even halfway through the "article." (*SNORT*) My point? This is the sort of "reporting" and "facts" that far too many Americans - including journalists and bloggers - rely up for their "information."

BILL

EdMcGon said...

Bill,
The comparison was about ethics, not bribery. There are other types of unethical actions besides bribery.

William R. Barker said...

Fine, Ed. We AGREE that the term "unethical" can be used in all sorts of contexts outside and beyond bribery. But ***WHAT*** exactly are you calling "unethical" behavior on the part of Gonzales and ***HOW*** is BRIBERY an apt comparison to this behavior???

The only "unethical" thing Gonzales has done that I'm aware of is dissemble (NOT PERJURE) in public.

Now, Ed... you know me... and I've made clear... this pisses me off!!! Gonzales is a putz. (How many times have I written that or words to that effect over the life of this "scandal???")

But going back to "unethical" behavior... granted Gonzales was all over the map during the early days of the scandal and granted he was less than forthright. Is this "unethical?" YES, ED!!! I AGREE WITH YOU!!! I'VE ALWAYS AGREED WITH YOU!!! (*SMILE*)

But com'on... can you name ANY politician who hasn't "spun" the truth? (In public... NOT under oath in a courtroom or in an official FBI investigation or something like that.)

Look at this so-called "emergency" Iraq funding bill. Look at the budget in general. The Dems are in mass claiming they're not increasing the size of government and also claiming they're not raising taxes. Is that accurate? Of course not. So is such behavior "unethical...???" Yeah, I suppose so. Therefore it's pretty much a rule of thumb that all (or perhaps "only" 99.9%?) of politicians are "unethical" - right?

In other words, Ed... in the CONTEXT of politics... Gonzales' "misstatements" (and he has in fact "corrected" his early remarks) may be "unethical," but comparing misstatements to SELLING PRESIDENTIAL PARDONS??? That's not an apt comparison.

Anyway... I'm guessing we're not so far apart in what we expect of our elected officials and certainly while Gonzales - and Bush!!! - are a couple putzes... the idea of CONGRESS being the ethical cleaning crew... (*SNORT*) (*CHUCKLE*)... strikes us both as ludicrous.

BILL

EdMcGon said...

But ***WHAT*** exactly are you calling "unethical" behavior on the part of Gonzales and ***HOW*** is BRIBERY an apt comparison to this behavior???

Bill,
I am NOT pointing to Gonzales specifically, although it is safe to assume he was either inept for allowing the White House to fire the attorneys for strictly political reasons, or complicit. Either way is not particularly good for him.

But com'on... can you name ANY politician who hasn't "spun" the truth?

Does that make it ok? No, it doesn't, and they should be called out every time they do it.

Gonzales' "misstatements" (and he has in fact "corrected" his early remarks) may be "unethical," but comparing misstatements to SELLING PRESIDENTIAL PARDONS??? That's not an apt comparison.

You're right. It's not an apt comparison, but that wasn't the comparison I was making.

William R. Barker said...

Great! So we agree I was right all along! (*WINK*)

(*HUGE FRIGG'N GRIN*)

Hey... seriously... the reason I'm responding isn't to get the last word on this, because YOUR last word is right on target.

(Yes... to repeat... I'm AGREEING with you, Ed!)

No... I'm adding this post simply to ask if you happened to catch that Fox News Special Report on the Berger Affair that ran this weekend? I don't know if Fox has posted the video on their website or not, but it's worth watching if they have or if (when!) (*GRIN*) they repeat it on the network.

As I've said all along - and as this Fox News Special Report reinforces - there was something REALLY OFF with the way BUSH'S Justice Department - both under Ashcroft and under Gonzales - seemed to do everything within their power to PROTECT Berger rather than go after him.

I tell ya... in my most "Rob-like" moments of dispair... when the conspiracy theories are flying left and right... a teensy-weenie itsy-bitsy part of me wonders... if Bush truly the Manchurian candidate?

Bottom line... no Democrat could have destroyed the GOP as effectively as Bush has.

BILL

EdMcGon said...

I can't argue with you there Bill. Frankly, Bush has completely turned me off to socially conservative politicians.