Thursday, May 17, 2007

What Will It Take?

(Crossposted from MRD Talk):
It seems there’s nothing this President can do short of aborting babies on national television that will wake some people up.

I’m referring to this James Comey business. This isn’t the usual Bush-league incompetence, this is calculated crookery of “Godfather” proportions.

If you aren’t up to speed, read the transcript of Comey’s testimony as soon as you can.

Basically, this week the former Deputy Attorney General testified about extraordinary pressure placed on the Justice Dept. by President Bush, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzalez (then White House Counsel) to push through the renewal of the warrantless eavesdropping program. The strong-arm tactics are astonishing. In a nutshell, the Justice Dept. said the program was not legal and they would not renew it unless changes were made. A desperate White House tried to take advantage of an ill and sedated John Ashcroft, hospitalized in the ICU for pancreatitis, in an attempt to renew the program.

The Washington Post described the events this way in an Op-Ed:
Mr. Comey's vivid depiction, worthy of a Hollywood script, showed the lengths to which the administration and the man who is now attorney general were willing to go to pursue the surveillance program. First, they tried to coerce a man in intensive care -- a man so sick he had transferred the reins of power to Mr. Comey -- to grant them legal approval. Having failed, they were willing to defy the conclusions of the nation's chief law enforcement officer and pursue the surveillance without Justice's authorization. Only in the face of the prospect of mass resignations -- Mr. Comey, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and most likely Mr. Ashcroft himself -- did the president back down.
. . .
The dramatic details should not obscure the bottom line: the administration's alarming willingness, championed by, among others, Vice President Cheney and his counsel, David Addington, to ignore its own lawyers.

How bad do things have to be in an Administration when even John Ashcroft threatened to resign in protest?

The fallout from this should be huge. Alberto Gonzalez’s resignation should be on President Bush’s desk in less than a week. So should Andrew Card’s. I’m sure if this were a Democratic administration, that’s what we’d be seeing.

Perhaps if the media gets over its current fascination with John Edwards’ haircut and Mitt Romney’s Mormonism and John McCain’s craziness and Anna Nicole’s deadness we’ll finally get somewhere. I’m not holding my breath, though.