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Tilting at Windmills

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March 28, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

"OPEN WARFARE"....Steve Benen on Purgegate:

It seems part of the administration's problem with this fiasco is an inability to find a convenient scapegoat. Gonzales blames Sampson, McNulty blames Goodling, the White House blames McNulty, Republicans on the Hill blame Gonzales, and no one on the right has figured out a way to blame Dems, the media, or MoveOn.org. It's a wild west, every-man-for-himself environment ... and these guys are yet to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

According to the New York Daily News, it's "open warfare" over at the Justice Department. And the hearings haven't even started yet.

Kevin Drum 1:03 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (46)

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No..., the "open warfare" are where carbombs go off every day.

These folks are just arguing a lot.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on March 28, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk, how many "disgruntled ex-employees" have to be left in the wake of the administration before you realize that maybe the administration is making wrong-headed, dunder-pated decisions?

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on March 28, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Proves once again that liberals are fascists. They cannot even create a convenient scapegoat for our dear leader's malfeasance.

(ht Jonah Lucianne)

Posted by: gregor on March 28, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Only take a story seriously if all the sources are made.

Uh, huh.

Well..., at least we know that Cheney and Bush are unimpeachable sources.

Posted by: Darryl Pearce on March 28, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

"The AG's ex-chief of staff Kyle Sampson will testify in the Senate tomorrow, and Gonzales' ex-counsel Monica Goodling pleaded the fifth and refused to talk."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I read everywhere that Goodling has refused to talk. Doesn't she still have to go before a committee and actually plead the fifth? Actually be asked a question and refuse to answer it, invoking the fifth? The press presents the narrative as if she can just skip the hearings. I suppose she can refuse to show up, but is that the same thing as invoking the fifth? Can her lawyer just submit the previously publicized letter and she's excused from actually mouthing the words in public? Anyone? Answers?

Posted by: steve duncan on March 28, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Another big part of their problem is, if Bush fires Gonzales, who replaces him?

A stooge wouldn't pass muster with the Senate, and an AG with any integrity might start investigating his predecessor's actions and related matters.

So the Bushies lose either way, and that's why Gonzo is still the AG.

Posted by: RT on March 28, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

I love the smell of fight-or-flight hormones in the morning.

Posted by: anandine on March 28, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Armitage.

Posted by: Orwell on March 28, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk is correct. All signs point to brotherhood of man interacting in nothing but harmony and serenity over at Justice. The strains of "Peace Train" waft through those august halls.

Posted by: shortstop on March 28, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

"I read everywhere that Goodling has refused to talk. Doesn't she still have to go before a committee and actually plead the fifth? Actually be asked a question and refuse to answer it, invoking the fifth? The press presents the narrative as if she can just skip the hearings. I suppose she can refuse to show up, but is that the same thing as invoking the fifth? Can her lawyer just submit the previously publicized letter and she's excused from actually mouthing the words in public? Anyone? Answers?"

That is my understanding. She may have to be subpeoneaed and brought before the committee. She may be advised of her rights. She sits with her attorney and the Senators ask questions. She confers with her attorney and answers or formally recites that she is taking the fifth.

Posted by: j swift on March 28, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Thieves fall out.

Posted by: The Fool on March 28, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Somebody lost their job and is spreading rumors to try and hurt the dedicated public servants at the Justice Department. Disgusting. Posted by: American Hawk

The only problem with this explanation is that most of the "dedicated public servants" in most branches of the government, EPA, State, Interior, and Justice were forced out of their jobs five or six years ago. Now it's just the rats trying to torch the ship before leaving because it's always more spectacular when it's burning while it's going down.

Posted by: JeffII on March 28, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

j swift, that's what it thought too. However every article I read uses the past tense "refused" as if she's already gone before some committee and invoked. Very sloppy and misleading journalism.

Posted by: steve duncan on March 28, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

And millions of dollars go to waste over investigation after investigation.

If only Democrats would be this driven to go after terrorists and finish what we started in Iraq the country would be united.

Instead they run away from a real fight, destroy the moral of every fighting man and woman, and fight for their own place in the political power structure.

The Democratic party has suckered the leftwing once again.

Posted by: Orwell on March 28, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with American Hawk to a point. If the anonymous speaker is identified as a "Senior Administration Official" and the subject is Iraqi WMD capability or Iran's arming of insurgent militias, then we can be satisfied with the truth of those statements and that these are not "idealogues engaging in confirmation bias."

Posted by: benjamin on March 28, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

No, there's no "warfare" at the Justice Department. There may be squabbling and blank stares and confused puns going around, but they are not plunging bayonets into each other and screaming bloody murder.

NEWSFLASH!

They are showing footage of the female British Marine taken by the Iranians...and they have her in...in...

It looks like an abaya! A full body abaya or some covering of some kind! They have her done up like a peasant girl and they may have cut off her hair! Vile! Disgusting!

This is WAR! WAR IS DECLARED! This aggression must not stand!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

If only Democrats would be this driven to go after terrorists and finish what we started in Iraq....

Why should the Democrats want to create even more terrorists and further expand Iran's influence?

Instead they ... destroy the moral of every fighting man and woman....

I don't know of any American soldier who has just one moral.

Posted by: otherpaul on March 28, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

They have her done up like a peasant girl

Looks like the Iranians have crossed the line into committing the ultimate sin-- CLASS WARFARE!

Posted by: Tyro on March 28, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/3/28/11581/0857

Hey American Hawk, look at this...New Mexico GOP is running Swiftlie radio ads against...former US Attorney Iglesias?!?

Happy now?

Posted by: bambambam on March 28, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Orwell, name one funding bill for the military operations in Iraq that has been defeated, withdrawn or significantly reduced or altered due to the efforts of a Democrat. Name one funding bill that hasn't passed because Democrats scuttled it. Give me the name of one Marine whose sensibilities are so tender, his psyche so fragile, his will to fight so damaged by a Democrat he wants to throw in the towel and lay the nation open to the feared Muslim peril that has all you wingnuts tossing and turning through sleepless nights of torment. Last I checked manpower and monies and flow of material to the Middle East were at an all time high. How is it exactly the dastardly Democrats are executing this craven plot you accuse them of? Pretty damned covert if that's what their up to. "I know, we'll deprive the troops of arms and money and short them on manpower by sending more and more of all three!!!" Ingenious!

Posted by: steve duncan on March 28, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK
If only Democrats would be this driven to go after terrorists and finish what we started in Iraq the country would be united. … Orwell at 1:41 PM
Nice to see you admit that Bush is failing to go after terrorists and is unable to finish the war he started, but that is exactly what the 9-08 deadline will accomplish.
This is WAR! WAR IS DECLARED! This aggression must not stand! Norman Rogers at 1:46 PM
Hark! What is that noise? Why tis the hoot of the loon. It must be off its meds.

The sound consists of noise galore,
Sadly, too loud to ignore.
What's the basis of its daftness?
The Poor thing's love of its precious
Keep the lights out in its boudoir.

Posted by: Mike on March 28, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

What, vipers cannibalize each other when they get caught? Who'd a thunk? They didn't need a Senior Administration Official to point out the obvious. I mean just look at the public statements of these clowns. They openly contradict one another (and sometimes, themselves) in almost every utterance. McNulty (who's fucking delusional if he thinks he can step in to Gonzo's shoes when Abu goes down -- he'll be lucky to stay out of jail) certainly did throw Goodling under the bus, who is afraid that her testimony would be self-incriminating, while that oily fuck Sampson has been openly covering for his mancrush Gonzalez, who has been caught in public lies.

But hell, this is just another day in the worst administration in American History. Look at the pathetic ineptitude of the GSA "chief", some rich cheerleader who got caught with the GOP political plans for 2008 -- the procurement arm of the US Government as a political arm of the White House. And she's perjured herself over and over again in testimony in front of Waxman's committee.

You could literally pick any department and the Mayberry Machiavellis have peverted its mission and corrputed its intent. The sheer number of people who should go to prison after this abortion of an administration finally ends will number in the thousands.

Posted by: noltf on March 28, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, where's that notorious on-message, singing the same song discipline of the Repubs? I guess they're fighting over who will twist slowly in the wind.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 28, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Count on an attack on Iran in the next couple of weeks and little Alberto will quietly slip out the side door in the fog of war. I'm certain that Bush's Minister of Propaganda, Karl Rove, is coordinating everything while Bush goes for a bike ride and then plays Super Maro Bros in the Oval Office. Business as usual...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on March 28, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
You forgot Soros...it must be his fault.

Posted by: Mark Close on March 28, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, where's that notorious on-message, singing the same song discipline of the Repubs? I guess they're fighting over who will twist slowly in the wind.

It would do my heart good if you would stop paying attention to the Justice Department and start paying attention to the fact that a plucky young blonde female has been trotted out in front of the cameras wearing a bedsheet.

Those Iranians are mardy bums, I tell you! Mardy bums!

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Norman---are you for real? "mardy bums"? that got a laugh here, whether intentional or not.

Posted by: benjamin on March 28, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, look! Disney is thinking about releasing Song of the South. Now, wouldn't THAT make all of you liberals mad and cause you to forget about other issues that are a few weeks old? I think so!

ORLANDO, Florida (AP) -- Walt Disney Co.'s 1946 film "Song of the South" was historic. It was Disney's first big live-action picture and produced one of the company's most famous songs -- the Oscar-winning "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." It also provided the inspiration for the Splash Mountain rides at Disney's theme parks.

But the movie remains hidden in the Disney archives -- never released on video in the United States and criticized as racist for its depiction of Southern plantation blacks. The film's 60th anniversary passed last year without a whisper of official rerelease, which is unusual for Disney, but President and CEO Bob Iger recently said the company was reconsidering.

Why, the potential for distracting--I mean--causing justified concern is staggering! How about we open up a shiny new thread and spend three days talking about what a "tar baby" this whole thing might turn out to be?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Come on people, when is someone going to blame teh gays?

Posted by: smott on March 28, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, where's that notorious on-message, singing the same song discipline of the Repubs? I guess they're fighting over who will twist slowly in the wind.
Posted by: Apollo 13

Shades of Dick Nixon. Hamlet on the ramparts...

Posted by: MsNThrope on March 28, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

I heard the preznut this morning. Every day he is sounding more like an hysterical girlie. The end of the world will befall us if he doesn't get it his way -- that's worked so remarkably well these last 4 years. Pork! Pork? After signing in everything for the last 6 years with narry a blink, and the major additions here are for the troops, post-Katrina, etc. Wah!

Look US chickenheart, Al, egbert -- Sampson warned the Justice Dept. and the White House there would be blowback on this and they still didn't prepare for it. He resigned. Goodling is pleading the fifth. Gonzales is blaming his staff for being poorly briefed. The fired US Attorneys are up in arms for false accusations about their competence. And this has been dragging on for several weeks and the White House and Justice Department can't get their individual stories straight yet, let alone get on the same page.

And you all think there isn't some disarray and smoke emitting from both places. Pull your head out from where the sun don't shine and try a little honesty for a change instead of mindless devotion to a criminal cause.

Posted by: notthere on March 28, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Norman and AH. One question for you. This is a sanity test. Do you think Bush could be wrong about more than a few things?

Posted by: Gandalf on March 28, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, yes. Disney. The pro-Nazi party Walt Disney I believe.

Posted by: notthere on March 28, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think Bush could be wrong about more than a few things?

Of course he could be wrong. It is highly unlikely that his staff gives him information that is 100% correct 100% of the time.

What a silly question.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

notthere: Pork! Pork? After signing in everything for the last 6 years with narry a blink...

I heard Bush say that, too. What a petulant child, one with a 34% approval rating.

Pollster.com/blogs/ has a new survey posted from Mar. 26-27, 2007, CBS News:

• 59% say the U.S. should set a timetable that would have "most troops out by September 2008;" 37% say it should not.
• 54% of Americans think Iran is a threat that can be contained with diplomacy; 18% think Iran's threat requires military action; 18% think it is not a threat.
• 40% of Americans think Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should resign; 25% think he should stay; 35% don't know.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 28, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Memo to Scooter:

It's getting hot around here.

Can you throw some Hillary/Obama trash on the fire to create a smokescreen?

Posted by: Mumblings from The Bunker on March 28, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

I want my Mommy!

Posted by: President Bush on March 28, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

bambambam: New Mexico GOP is running Swiftlie radio ads against...former US Attorney Iglesias?!?

Oh, they had best stop that before getting hit with a lawsuit. Peruse this "CNN/Lou Dobbs Tonight" transcript from March 26, 2007 - 18:00... interview with Bud Cummins. He alluded to "slander" becoming an issue:

PILGRIM: What do you have to say about the progression of information that's coming out in this case?
CUMMINS: I think it's appalling. The Department of Justice lives on credibility. I mean, that's how, just simply how they get their job done every day. And this has really been damaging.
PILGRIM: You know, I have to take our viewers through some of your credentials. You're a Republican who works as part of the Bush- Cheney election in 2000. You were appointed U.S. attorney for eastern district of Arkansas by President Bush in 2001.
And yet, in a memo written by the attorney general's chief of staff, it suggested in 2005 that they were looking for loyal Bushies. How do you feel about that?
CUMMINS: Well, it's difficult to really give that much credibility. I don't think that the people's names appeared on that list. They didn't really have any way of -- mechanism of knowing what my loyalty was, except for the work we were doing. And the work I was doing and my office was doing was, by all the measures within the department, outstanding.
PILGRIM: And yet, how did you feel when they said it was a performance review? You have said, and you've been quoted as saying, you understood a political act in this -- in this dismissal, but you were quite concerned when the words came up "performance review." How do you feel about that?
CUMMINS: Right. And if you listen to the progression of explanations by the attorney general, I just cannot understand why the attorney general can say he wasn't involved and he didn't know and he doesn't know, because Kyle Sampson's gone and has a lawyer and isn't talking about anything that happened to lead to these decisions.
Yet, he stands by them, and he stands by the assertion that it was some kind of legitimate performance review. No. 1, that's not true.
No. 2, I'm not aware of any person outside the inner circle at the Department of Justice there that believes that.
So they really need to stop this madness and stop saying that right now. And move onto the next one of several important issues that they're going to have to deal with, with the Senate and with the public.
PILGRIM: And what do you believe that is? What would you like to hear come out?
CUMMINS: Well, No. 1, they just need to say, "Look, there was obviously a lack of integrity in the system of decision making. And we back off the assertion that there was any legitimate performance review process. We're not sure what happened. And if it was improper, we want to investigate that and get the truth out. And that will happen in due course."
But every day they continue to stand by this performance assertion, my colleagues are subjected to more and more slander. Because they are -- the department is continuing to try and push out these vague reasons why some of them might have needed to be removed. And that's really not the test. And it certainly hasn't been proved up in all seven cases.
PILGRIM: Let me ask you about something. You gained some publicity when this -- when you were first dismissed, and you were quoted in the paper. And then you say that you received a phone call from someone in Justice, and you say the message in that conversation was that you should keep quiet.
Do you feel that that message was to intimidate you?
CUMMINS: Well, I think the message was to tell us what might happen if the controversy went on, and I'll point out to you, none of us spoke until the Senate challenged the department and the department misrepresented the reasons we were terminated.
But what I thought during that phone call, what I exactly pictured in my mind was what has happened over the last two or three weeks, a dumping of thousands of documents unrelated to anything in some desperate effort to try and color up performance claims against my colleagues.
And it's wrong, and the people at the top of this can stop this right now
. They can say, "We're backing off of that, and we're not going to say that ever again."
I wouldn't want to get these USAs mad enough to file a civil action. And loyal Bushies... what does that mean? Someone willing to lie, cheat, obstruct justice... basically a shit-slinging GOP grifter willing to commit felonies... you know, someone like Scooter Libby.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 28, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

PTP baby, PTP.
(Pass the Popcorn)

Posted by: ckelly on March 28, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

"It's unreal - it's open warfare over there," a former Justice official with close ties to Gonzales' team told the Daily News.

The AG's ex-chief of staff Kyle Sampson will testify in the Senate tomorrow, and Gonzales' ex-counsel Monica Goodling pleaded the fifth and refused to talk. Gonzales has blamed Sampson for mistakes in how the firings were handled.

Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, who privately blames Goodling for misleading him on the matter, may also be jockeying to take over if Gonzales resigns, sources said.

This reads like something from the script of "I, Claudius."

Well, as Claudius might say: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud, hatch out!"

Posted by: Peter Principle on March 28, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

They are showing footage of the female British Marine taken by the Iranians...and they have her in...in...
Posted by: Norman Rogers on March 28, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Did they fix her teeth?

Ba-dum-dum!

Thank you, thank you, I'm here all week. Try the veal.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on March 28, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk is right, things are going just wonderfully well over at Justice. They didn't do anything wrong and they all are united. That is why all the Republican senators are 100% behind Gonzalez

Posted by: bobo the chimp on March 28, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

For those who think co-opting US Attorneys to perform their duties to serve partisan interests, as opposed to presidential policies, consider a Hillary Clinton presidency where the "policy" is to focus IRS resources not simply on high-earning Americans, but only REPUBLICAN high-earning Americans, and fires any IRS agent or manager that doesn't go along, replacing them with individuals with no tax law experience, but an abiding loyalty to Clinton and a willingness to implement reviews of particular taxpayers based on a policy designed to specifically target REPUBLICAN taxpayers, rather than using party-neutral selection criteria.

Or consider a Clinton policy designed to increase the number of prosecutions by US Attorneys for the purpose of showing how tough she is on crime, but also a policy that ignores murderers and rapists in favor of white collar crime involving less than $5000 - again, just to boost raw numbers in order to portray the administration as prosecuting more criminals, even though the worst criminals are being ignored.

The latter is certainly one interpretation of the GOP's immigration prosecution policy, vis-a-vis Lam. They wanted her to boost her raw numbers in immigration prosecutions (while denying her the resources they have admitted she needed), even if it meant prosecuting a large number of very, very minor infractions while ignoring major crimes. This is shown by the single focus on the number of prosecutions, as Josh Marshall has alluded to, without ANY evaluation WHATSOEVER of what TYPES of immigration prosecutions Lam was pursuing.

Republicans would be outraged if a Democratic president was letting rapists and murderers (or corrupt Democratic politicians) go in favor of simply boosting the raw number of prosecutions for show.

Is there a single GOPer who is outraged that, even if we accept Bush's explanation of the firings 100%, the DOJ was pushing Lam to ignore serious crimes in favor of a policy to boost raw prosecution numbers for partisan PR?

I have yet to hear anyone on the right side of the aisle, so to speak, express such outrage.

Beyond the corruptness of the firings for what more and more appears to be partisan reasons, the claimed policy itself speaks volumes about incompetence, an utter lack of civic responsibility, and an abohorent willingness to place Americans in greater danger in return for a little PR to pacify the GOP's fascists.

I know, what other kind of GOPer is there?

Posted by: anonymous on March 28, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

According to the New York Daily News, it's "open warfare" over at the Justice Department.

When hasn't it been open warfare with this administration?

Shinseki ring a bell?

How about Powell?

This administration believes in loyalty and falling on your sword for your boss, no matter how corrupt or dishonest he or she is and no matter how many American soldiers or civilians get hurt as a result, to the point of virulently attacking anyone who doesn't goose-step to the beat of the Bush drum.

Posted by: anonymous on March 28, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

If only Democrats would be this driven to go after terrorists and finish what we started in Iraq the country would be united. --snOrewell

Oh dear, you are confused aren't you. The country, sweets, IS quite united. By the numbers, they're united behind the idea of getting out of the boondoggle your dimwit president started in Iraq.

Instead they run away from a real fight, destroy the moral of every fighting man and woman, and fight for their own place in the political power structure. The Democratic party has suckered the leftwing once again.

Da wha? Eric Arthur Blair strove ever for coherence in writing in order to achieve it in thought. He made a lifelong crusade of the principle that the two were inseparable. You should attempt once in a while to emulate him, unless you're using that moniker just as an homage to the river.

Or maybe you're using it to lable yourself as orwellian. That would fit.

Posted by: DrBB on March 28, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Orwell,

Bush himself and the GOP are not so driven, since they continue to look for terrorists everywhere but where the terrorists are.

Would that Bush and his supporters would actually have gone after the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they were, instead of diverting resources to Iraq, bogging us down in another unwinnable Vietnam, and allowing the Taliban and al Queda to regroup.

Would that Bush and his supporters would have devoted the hundreds of billions of dollars spent in Iraq for NOTHING gained (in terms of US security) to shoring up security at our ports, developing our intelligence resources, and pursuing actual terrorists instead of Iraqi freedom fighters.

Instead, Bush let bin Laden escape, denied our servicemen and servicewomen the resources necessary to even have a chance at winning the war, squandered thousands of American lives in Iraq merely to reach a point where he is asking for additional sacrifice without any promise or hope of success, and reduced America to a nation that embraces torture, unilateralism, and disrespect for sovereignty and international law (sound familiar? -just like Saddam).

Posted by: anonymous on March 28, 2007 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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