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Tilting at Windmills

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March 11, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

PURGE-GATE WATCH....The LA Times has a decent rundown today of Purge-gate. Here's their take on what happened to John McKay:

McKay, the U.S. attorney in Seattle, found himself in the midst of the contested 2004 governor's race between Republican Dino Rossi and Democrat Chris Gregoire.

While the voting dispute was still in progress, McKay took a phone call from Ed Cassidy, chief of staff for Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), then the head of the House Ethics Committee.

McKay said Cassidy started to ask about what federal prosecutors were doing in the election dispute, but McKay cut him off, saying that going further could constitute obstruction of justice. Later, when McKay was interviewed by then-White House Counsel Harriet E. Miers and her deputy, William Kelly, for a possible judgeship, he said they criticized him for "mishandling" things during the recount.

He never got the judicial robes, and he lost his job as prosecutor as well.

But there was nothing political about it!

Anyway, this is really just an excuse to tell everyone to tell all their friends about this. I had dinner with my sister last night and she had never heard about this story. I take this as a sort of bellwether that it hasn't really broken into the public consciousness yet, so it could use some help.

Kevin Drum 12:12 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (51)

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Comments

Taking a huge dump on the Constitution is fun.

Y'all should try it sometime!

Posted by: George W. Bush on March 11, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

McKay Iglesias forgot that all the organs of the State, including the office of People's Attorney, are tasked with protecting and promoting the unique role of the Party as the Vanguard of the Revolution.

Sailing the seas depends on the Helmsman, and Mr. Rove correctly detected a lack of committment to him in young Mr. McKay, as evidenced by his failure to complete work norms.

He was fired for failing to have correct orientation towards the greater struggle, and the special role of legal cadres within that struggle.

Posted by: Mao Zhe Dong on March 11, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

We need to find a few fired travel office workers first. If history is any judge, that should really get the media in a feeding frenzy of coverage.

Posted by: Thumb on March 11, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

The desperation of liberals is staggering.

They will cling to any postion so long as theres a small chance that it could tarnish Bush. They must feed their irrational Bush hatred.

When Clinton came into office, he fired 95 US attorneys. You mean all 95 were performance related? Come on, this is plain old politics, and these attorneys service the President's pleasure.

And now were making a big deal about 8 firings. Excuse me if I'm a little underwhelmed.

Step outside the echo chamber sometime, you looney tunes. Get some day light and fresh air. I think all those computer rays are eroding your brains.

Posted by: egbert on March 11, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

egbert,

well put comrade!

Posted by: jm on March 11, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

" . . . it hasn't really broken into the public consciousness yet . . ."

Bad week for it, what with Walter Reed and Libby.
Give it time.

Posted by: penalcolony on March 11, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

EVERY PRESIDENT REPLACES ALL OF THE US ATTORNEYS WHEN HE IS SWORN IN.

Bush did it too. Then, later, he purged those who weren't sufficiently partisan. HUGE DIFFERENCE.

God, you make me sick, you stupid fucking troll.

Posted by: i know you're a troll but on March 11, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Your own sister doesn't read your blog? Ouch.

Posted by: jussumbody on March 11, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

So, he failed to do his duty as a prosecutor, and now he's complaining he didn't get to be a judge? Waaaaaaaaaah.

Posted by: American Hawk on March 11, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Getting people to continue to pay attention to still more scandals is basic to the process of destroying the Republican Party at the national level for decades, perhaps a generation.

While we can hardly imagine how we might bear with having Bush around for another 20 months, it is actually a unique opportunity to emblazon in people's memories just how wretched a Republican/Conservative government truly is. If Bush were much nearer the end of his term, the internal sensation people would experience when thinking of Bush in the future might not be so virulent in its power to disgust.

On a rational level, I think a lot of people already see the Bush administration for what it is, the reductio ad absurdum of the Conservative movement. But we've got to make the emotional case as well.

What we need here is a Pavlovian reaction: "Bush" is immediately followed by violent nausea.

We're getting there, but only constant repetition will drive home the point.

It doesn't always feel like the liberal thing to do, but we've got to kick the fuckers while they're down.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 11, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, get all the stories out on the massive firing of prosecutors by
this mis-administration.

Article by a psychologist at politicalcortex.com, and worth reading:

Beware the Wounded Bear
By Roy Eidelson
03/05/2007 01:46:57 PM EST

"When respondents in a mid-February Pew poll were asked to use one word to describe President Bush, the single adjective offered most often was "incompetent." Meanwhile, a recent Newsweek poll revealed not only that Bush's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low, but also that a majority of respondents simply wish his presidency was already over. These rebukes cannot sit well with someone who has proclaimed himself "The Decider," who has become infatuated with the title "Commander-in-Chief," and who once told Bob Woodward "That's the interesting thing about being the President...I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

In short, the president and his conservative allies find themselves on very uncomfortable and increasingly shaky ground. They are beleaguered by transparent policy failures and by growing public and media scrutiny of their actions and motives...."

Keep up the publicizing and scrutinizing of their actions/motives. And I am impressed the congressional hearings keep coming

Posted by: consider wisely on March 11, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert sez:

...these attorneys service the President's pleasure

Now that would be a scandal the public could really get sink its teeth into!

Posted by: PJ on March 11, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk,

Well put comrade!

Every Party official's duty is to further the aims of the Party as defined by the Glorious Leader. Clearly the USA's in question failed in this duty and thus needed to be terminated. (Remember the good old days when termination was of a more permanent nature, sigh.)

Hail the Glorious Leader!

Posted by: jm on March 11, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

gee hawk, i never knew that the job description for a u.s. attorney included being used as a political tool! maybe when the dems capture the white house, they can appoint a u.s. attorney who will go after you!

Posted by: mudwall jackson on March 11, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

And just how is this like the Wilson and Plame career ruining episode?

But its more that just the federal attorneys.

Bush, like Al Capone, ruined people lives, bought people, and he bought a national press.

Bush and Cheney played loyalist games with the US justice, as well as the intelligence department. ruining peoples lives in is very un-democratic way of government. Wouldn't we call it tyranny in any other country, like for instance, in Saudi Araba it is necessary to find favor with the king in order to get ahead. That is a dictoratship, when the interest of the people have no importance and only the interest of Bush and Cheney have been pursued.

Unbid contracts, wars for oil companies in the pay to play areana. The Bush administration was never been about democracy, NEVER about upholding the oath of office, never about uphold and protect the US Constitution.

Can we start talking impeachment yet?

How nasty is Bush and Cheney allowed to get over and over again? Bush and Cheney have their own agenda and it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the will of the American people. What they do is treason.

Posted by: Cheryl on March 11, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

...these attorneys service the President's pleasure

And Jeff Gannon is pissed!!!

he was last seen driving cross-country with a rollof garbage bags and a can of mace, wearing a diaper...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on March 11, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Anyway, this is really just an excuse to tell everyone to tell all their friends about this. I had dinner with my sister last night and she had never heard about this story.

Well, if your sister actually listened to you, be thankful. My family gets maxed out pretty quickly with anything that resembles politics. My Mom is quite worried that I spend too much time keeping up with politics and not enough time in prayer. Her logic is “how could you possibly know so much about Iraq if you are devoting enough time to daily prayer?”.

Thus, my grand dilemma: stress out poor ole Mom or put up the good fight for a few political causes such as trying to cut the waste of lives and resources in Iraq.

Ok, I admit it’s not such a grand dilemma. Mom will have to live with the stress.

As far as purge-gate goes, it's what I expected from a guy who hired Karl Rove (and/or was made by Karl Rove) in the first place. I knew his Dad had gone to the dogs the minute he hired Lee Atwater.


Posted by: little ole jim from red country on March 11, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously - an attorney who frequently comments here has been posting regularly about this at Watching Those We Chose and has been doing his part to inform and spread the word. Go check out some of the posts by Corpus Juris on that blog.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on March 11, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin - just a thought - maybe you should have a conversation with your sister about her life, and leave Bush out of the conversation.

Is it so hard for Dems to leave normal people alone?

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on March 11, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Probably one of the most constructive things we can do is push our elected Senators and Representatives to get after the Bushies. We want action and the more empowered they become and the feel, to more likely we are to get it.

It’s a bit of trouble, but not much more so that commenting on this blog. Communicate your strong views in an adult manner, as many do here, and it may have an effect. After all, I don’t even think it's legal punch the President or even challenge him to a fistfight. Otherwise, Webb would have gotten him.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on March 11, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

I dunno, sock-puppet boy. Would it be so hard for your and your host of personalities to leave us alone?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on March 11, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

With regard to this not being in the public consciousness yet: I had a conversation with my mother (who is in CA right now but normally is in DC as was a civil servant her whole working life) about this. Her comment: I'm so glad I'm not home so I don't have to read about this. By which she meant: its too damn upsetting and ugly.

Posted by: lisainvan on March 11, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Is it so hard for Dems to leave normal people alone?

Did you mean to say,

"Is is so hard for Dems to leave Constitution-shredding, self-dealing kleptocrats alone?"

Posted by: Alfred E. Newman on March 11, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

My parents, who do little outside watching cnn and c-span and reading the paper, have never heard of this story, either.

Posted by: cld on March 11, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

You're right about this not hitting the MSM--nothing on Sunday talk as latest example.

But the story has legs. I watched the USAs testify. They are straightforward, articulate (when did articulate become a dirty word?), powerful. I even suspended lawyer jokes for 24 hours after listening to them.

Hearings will keep it in the news. Also, since it involves Rs eating some of their finest, the still-responsible few remaining in the R party will make sure it doesn't go away. Rove's intimate entwinement & possibility he'll be called to testify will juice up the publicity.

And with any luck, we can get some of the better canned USAs to switch parties. It would be more than a fair trade for Zell Miller, who wants abortees to serve in the military.

Posted by: eCAHNomics on March 11, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

This administration kills careers of qualified, productive independent prosecutors and classified CIA agents, sends our country's kids (but not their own) to kill and be killed in the immoral war in the middle east, pushes prosecutors to ensure the death penalty, not to mention the current president had a huge number of death penalty cases he ensured as governor of Texas(no pardons, if any ), but gees--they sure want to protect the fetus. How absurdly inconsistent.
Culture of life, my ass.
NPR had something on this last week.

Posted by: consider wisely on March 11, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. At the hearings on conditions at Walter Reed this past Monday, Representative Peter Welch said there is a "culture of disregard." Well said.

Posted by: consider wisely always on March 11, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

For the latest news, hearings, legal filings and other essential documents on the politically motivated prosecutor firings, see:
"The Bush DOJ U.S. Attorney Scandal Documents."

Posted by: AngryOne on March 11, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, well. (sigh) Another beautiful Sunday afternoon spent monitoring the RSS feed. I truly am a loser.

Posted by: American Hawk on March 11, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Egfart: "Step outside the echo chamber sometime, you looney tunes. Get some day light and fresh air. I think all those computer rays are eroding your brains."

This from the nitwit who sits by the keyboard all day, waiting for chances to unload his wisdom at an "enemy" that thinks he was put here to prove that Doug Feith was NOT the stupidest fucking guy on the planet.

Posted by: Kenji on March 11, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Chickenshit: "So, he failed to do his duty as a prosecutor, and now he's complaining he didn't get to be a judge?"

In this country, we have (or had) something called due process, with prosecution intended to be undertaken at least somehwat apart from political influence. Hinging a judgeship, or a particular prosecution, on partisan performance is, well, unAmerican, among other things.

Do you read? Can you think? Do you care? You and egsmell do nothing but react to the supposed weakness of your betters, but you don't even pay close attention to the things you are bitching about.

Posted by: Kenji on March 11, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Quiz: A bomb goes off killing both Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama. The Republicans will investigate,


A) the guy whose fingerprints are found on remains of the bomb who is the head of the Ann Coulter for President Committee

B) Al Gore

Posted by: cld on March 11, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

You left out 'C.) Why do you hate America?'

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on March 11, 2007 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

'Purge gate' -- isn't that like a vomitorium?

Posted by: bart on March 11, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK
he's complaining he didn't get to be a judge American Hawk at 12:48 PM
Obviously, he had too much integrity for Abu Gonzales and Rove
The desperation of liberals is staggering….eggbutt at 12:40 PM
That sounds like typical RepubliConTarian projection. The Bush regime and its lickspittles are sweating bullets about '08.
…all the cute blonds on cable… mhrat 1:25 PM
Nancy Grace, serial exaggerator Posted by: Mike on March 11, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

The bottom line: The first administration response to the firing of the Fed Prosecutors was it was due to performance reasons. Yet all were given positive performance reviews prior to their firing from the very agency that fired them.

Then with their backs against the wall, they changed their tune.

Why is that Hawk, egbert? They lied. Plain & simple. Case closed. Bring on the investigation.

Posted by: bob in fl on March 11, 2007 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, they should be cast into Purge-atory. Just indulge me this once.

Posted by: PrahaPartizan on March 11, 2007 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Purge-gate made the local news here in Chicago the evening of the hearings last week.

Posted by: Disputo on March 11, 2007 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

No, Bob—Hawk and Egfart are somehow magically privy to more knowledge of work standards in the various US Attorneys' offices than they have in the justice department itself. If Abu Gonazales says it, it must more than be so, even if the statement changes five times.

The politburo was stacked with hacks just like these losers. If Cheney strangled puppies on the White House lawn, they would be screaming that the little mutts had it coming.

Posted by: Kenji on March 11, 2007 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk: "So, he failed to do his duty as a prosecutor, and now he's complaining he didn't get to be a judge? Waaaaaaaaaah."

Excuse me -- but do you have to sound like some wise-assed fourth grader all the time?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on March 11, 2007 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

these attorneys service the President's pleasure.
Posted by: egbert on March 11, 2007 at 12:40 PM |

Ewwww. Talk about your Freudian slips!

Posted by: keith on March 11, 2007 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Donald to Egbert: "Excuse me -- but do you have to sound like some wise-assed fourth grader all the time?"

Yes, because, that's how third-graders get to look cool.
(Except that third-graders often have a better grasp of American jurisprudence.)

Posted by: Kenji on March 12, 2007 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

The President of the United States has approximately 1,700 patronage positions he can fill by law,
Everyone of these people serve at "the will and pleasure of the President". He can transfer them, demote them, promote them, and do anything else he wants to them and it is legal.
By law he can do this. This is a tempest in a teapot. I have never read one of these before but lord some of you people really need to go and get your meds changed they are not working anymnore. There is nothing there. He is within his legal right to fire them with or without cause anytime he wants.
They are not civl servants. All of the issues out there and you guys are burning up emotions, time and effort on this? Chill people there is nothing there that is why no one is covering it.

Posted by: Jack D Ripper on March 12, 2007 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

It's also within his legal right to find a reason to murder you and your family in your beds. It's all in his signing statements!

Would that still be a tempest in a teapot? Is it similarly underwhelming to relatives of the 100,000 or so Iraqis and 3000 Americans who died since he lied us into war? Is anything ever wrong enough to admit it in public? Or do we only exist at the pleasure of whoever happens to be in charge the machine at the moment? Chill all you want—clearly you have done nothing to halt this disaster. But it is unraveling, the press is slowly waking up, and vacuous fools like you will have to get out of the way.

Posted by: Kenji on March 12, 2007 at 3:02 AM | PERMALINK

"McKay said Cassidy started to ask about what federal prosecutors were doing in the election dispute, but McKay cut him off, saying that going further could constitute obstruction of justice." - drum

So answering a question would constitute "obstruction of justice"?????

"The current governor, Christine Gregoire, won the 2004 election after a third recount and a lengthy court battle,..."

After 3 recounts, a court battle, and a very, very hotly contested race, I would think the Feds could at least define their role, no?

McKay deserves to be unemployed.

Posted by: Jay on March 12, 2007 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Jack,
NO other president has ever fired US attorneys mid=stream without the person being unreservedly incompetent. and they did it almost immediately after that provision was stuck into the Patriot Act that allows the AG to appoint attorneys without consent of the Senate.
when something smells rotten, it usually is.

Posted by: lou on March 12, 2007 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Lou you are wrong FDR did it several times and the last time in 1943. He is not the only one. If you are going to debate please get your facts straight. Be honest when you debate. If someone told you that then tell them to get their facts straight. Shaking head in bewilderment.

Posted by: Jack D Ripper on March 12, 2007 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, they should be cast into Purge-atory. Just indulge me this once.
Posted by: PrahaPartizan

Laughing. Okay, 3rdP the gauntlet has been thrown down...


the Red Queen says to Alice: "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 12, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

"majority of respondents simply wish his presidency was already over."

That is the biggest ugliest truth I have heard this year.
Far too many people in this nation have simply sat back to wait for just that, waiting (aka doing nothing) is far less risky than taking necessary decisive action, such as starting impeachment proceedings, which could place an indelible mark on one's resume that can't be wriggled out of later for election purposes.

I call Democrats on that and the MSM who has turned a blind eye for 7 years and the part of the US constituency that doesn't worship Limbaugh. We have all waited. Too long.
At this point in the waiting game, America is getting exactly what it has allowed itself to recieve.

What. Are. We. Scared. Of?
Our cushy lives being disrupted? Sacrifice? Have we gotten that soft, lulled by luxury cars and 3/2 houses, and trimmed hedges? Are those things more important than what is being denegrated by this administration?
There is really no acceptable excuse for allowing this administration to advance as far as it has. No Democrat would have ever gotten this far. The GOP knows how to square its own away and take down the enemy. And anyone not toeing the GOP line is its enemy.
Bush and Co run rampant over this country and the globe because it has been allowed to, and the responsibility rests with the owners at the other end of this administrations long leash. We the People.

sigh.......

Posted by: Caution: Rant Ahead on March 12, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: So answering a question would constitute "obstruction of justice"?????

No, it's asking the question.

That you can't even get a little idea like this straight and put it backwards, pretty much shows the high level of intellectual dishonesty (or stupidity) that infects your mind.

Sorta like how you don't really understand (or deliberately lie about) what the term "racism" means.

Posted by: Google_This on March 12, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Washington, where they kept counting until they won, then swept all the plural votes, the hidden absentee ballots and the invalidated soldier votes under the rug.

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis on March 12, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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