The Attorney General Scandal: Much Ado About Politics

Let's look at the facts.

Under the reign of Alberto Gonzales, we've seen an authorization of torture and the approval of 4th-Amendment defying wiretapping.

We've heard a claim that habeus corpus rights don't exist, in spite of their black-and-white guarantee in the Constitution. And we've heard an assertion that executive rights that have no basis in the print of that document can in fact be found, implied, nebulously, in between the lines written by the founding fathers.

And the Democrats are going after him for firing eight political appointees ... for political reasons?!? An abuse of discretion amid wanton abuses of power.

Listen, I'm as disturbed as the next guy that the administration has perverted the role of U.S. Attorney offices, making them just another Rovian fiefdom. But should this scandal — an esoteric wonkfest, at best — really have emerged as the Democrats' top investigative priority?

I think it's telling to look at the stakes in this battle. Who were the victims, aside from the fired attorneys? The most controversial firings are those of USAs who either were too agressive in investigating Republican scandals (see: Duke Cunningham) or not responsive to Bush administration desires to see Democrats prosecuted (see: New Mexico.)

That is to say that this is not only a scandal about the politicization of political apointees, but over those appointees' work vis a vis politicians.

Fundamentally, this has gotten Democratic politicians' attention — because it affects Democratic politicians.

Through their obsessive focus on this minor scandal, Democrats appear to be a party most committed to protecting their own — instead of emerging as a principled party concerned about protecting the 4th Amendment, Habeus Corpus, or humane-treatment rights of all Americans.

And that's a goddamn shame.