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 Post subject: NYT: Politics, Pure and Cynical
PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:50 pm 
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Politics, Pure and Cynical


We wish we’d been surprised to learn that the White House was deeply involved in the politically motivated firing of eight United States attorneys, but the news had the unmistakable whiff of inevitability. This disaster is just part of the Bush administration’s sordid history of waving the bloody bullhorn of 9/11 for the basest of motives: the perpetuation of power for power’s sake.

Time and again, President Bush and his team have assured Americans that they needed new powers to prevent another attack by an implacable enemy. Time and again, Americans have discovered that these powers were not being used to make them safer, but in the service of Vice President Dick Cheney’s vision of a presidency so powerful that Congress and the courts are irrelevant, or Karl Rove’s fantasy of a permanent Republican majority.

In firing the prosecutors and replacing them without Senate approval, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales took advantage of a little-noticed provision that the administration and its Republican enablers in Congress had slipped into the 2006 expansion of the Patriot Act. The ostensible purpose was to allow the swift interim replacement of a United States attorney who was, for instance, killed by terrorism.

But these firings had nothing to do with national security ­ or officials’ claims that the attorneys were fired for poor performance. This looks like a political purge, pure and simple, and President Bush and his White House are in the thick of it.

Earlier, the White House insisted that it had approved the list of fired United States attorneys after it was compiled. Now it admits that White House officials helped prepare it. Harriet Miers, the White House counsel whom Mr. Bush tried to elevate to the Supreme Court, originally wanted to replace all 93 attorneys with Republican appointees.



http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/14/opinion/14wed1.html

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