April 26, 2007

Dubious NY Times Editorial On "Dubious" Firing

If the Times says there is something improper about the firing, then there must be. After all, they are the New York Times!

Congressman Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican, was locked in a close re-election battle last fall when the local United States attorney, Paul Charlton, was investigating him for corruption. The investigation appears to have been slowed before Election Day, Mr. Renzi retained his seat, and Mr. Charlton ended up out of a job — one of eight prosecutors purged by the White House and the Justice Department.

The Arizona case adds a disturbing new chapter to that scandal. Congress needs to determine whether Mr. Charlton was fired for any reason other than threatening the Republican Party’s hold on a Congressional seat.

* * *

There is reason to be suspicious about these events. Last week, all Attorney General Alberto Gonzales could offer was weak excuses for the firing — that Mr. Charlton had asked Mr. Gonzales to reconsider a decision to seek the death penalty in a murder case and that he’d started recording interviews with targets of investigations without asking permission from Justice Department bureaucrats.

Now wait -- you've got a US attorney bucking Justice Department policy and rebelling against top-level decisions coming out of Washington. That isn't a weak excuse -- that is a pretty good one, in my book. The guy was out of step with the priorities of the department. Indeed, that would be sufficient to get you or I fired from our jobs, and is legitimate reason for firing this US Attorney.

Now, if there is ANY ACTUAL EVIDENCE that the firing was improper, bring it on and present it -- I'll gladly support the resignation and prosecution of anyone involved in obstruction of justice. But until there is actual evidence of such activities, the only thing dubious is this NY Times editorial -- and the claims of partisan Democrats looking for a scandal.

|| Greg, 04:24 AM || Permalink || Comments (7) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

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Comments on Dubious NY Times Editorial On "Dubious" Firing

Dubious means doubtful.  How can Gonzalez' miserable performance NOT give rise to doubt?  Heck, he resorted to "I don't remember" 5 dozen times.  That's pretty dubious right there. 

Was similar behavior punished by firing?  I have my doubts - it's dubious.

All the editorial says is that they should investigate - and they should.  You'll notice that they don't jump to the conclusion you find so attractive - they neither call for his resignation of his prosecution. 

America has the right to know whether the US Attorneys office was bent to political ends.  I'm happy that we finally have a Congress that is willing to investigate this administration.

|| Posted by Dan, April 26, 2007 07:05 AM ||

Scroll down, Dan, and notice somebody else with a history of not recalling details before a congressional committee.

Isn't she your party's leading contender for the presidential nomination?

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, April 26, 2007 02:37 PM ||

What's your point, RWR? Are you saying you are NOT dubious about Senator Clinton? Are you saying that she should not have been investigated?

|| Posted by Dan, April 26, 2007 03:47 PM ||

Dan, mind if I take a shot at this one on behalf of RWR?

I believe that, taking both of the posts in context, he is trying to say that any standard that holds Gonzales as being incompetent or dishonest because he did not recall certain events of information must be applied to Senator Clinton as well, with precisely the same judgement being made about her honesty/competence.

I also think that, if you notice, he is trying to say that there is no problem with an investigation, based upon his suggestion that those with such evidence "bring it on", and saying that he would support the prosecution of anyone found to have acted with the intent of obstructing justice.

|| Posted by Jacob, April 26, 2007 04:20 PM ||

Jacob - good job! You're a better RWR than RWR!

So, he's saying that Gonzalez needs to be investigated as fully as the Clintons. I agree.

|| Posted by Dan, April 26, 2007 07:26 PM ||

Dan -- Jacob should have done well on this one, given that he and i talked about this one on the phone for about 20 minutes at lunch time. He is one of my neighbors, after all.

And as for your interpretation, I think you overstate my position in rather dramatic fashion. I believe investigation is warranted -- but I don't believe that there will be a need to go so deep because (unlike Bill Clinton) he won't be lying about actions that are clearly defensible on their face (which Clinton's activities were not).

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, April 26, 2007 08:07 PM ||

Heck, you should have looped me into the call - we could have saved time from commenting. I sincerely don't think we agree about the substance of this, though we are reading the tea leaves very differently. I think that Gonzalez has been lying to Congress and the American people about his efforts to politicize the US Attorney's office, and the the firings were part of an effort to subvert our judicial system by converting it into a Nixonian dirty tricks operation. You think (I believe) that the firings were SOP, and not based on any improper motive beyond wanting to have effective US Attorneys. I'm glad we have an investigation going on, because, right now, both of us have arguments and evidence to support our positions, and it is likely that an investigation will put the truth into a more complete light.

BTW, it's cool that you and Jacob spend 20 minutes on the phone discussing stuff like this. We'd be a whole lot better off if more people had the information and interest to have a 20 minute conversation on a political topic like this one.

|| Posted by Dan, April 27, 2007 05:20 AM ||
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