Thursday, January 15, 2009

Careful what you wish for, GOP

Attorney general designate, Eric Holder
Despite the thrashing they have received in two consecutive election cycles, Republicans show no sign of relenting in their audacious displays of hypocrisy.

For Republicans, hypocrisy is instinctual. In much the same way that a skunk raises its tail when surprised or threatened, GOP law-makers leap to positions that stand in stark contrast to all of their previous bloviating if they sense a political advantage in doing so.

Examples abound in this transition period before Obama's inauguration. GOP mucky-mucks have quite suddenly developed a new sense of the importance of senatorial "advice and consent" when it comes to confirming presidential cabinet appointments, have once again recognized the need for fiscal responsibility in the federal budget. Neither of these things were terribly important to them when it was Junior ramming through incompetent cronies or proposing budgets that were soaked in red ink.

Now, Republican Senators like the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter (R-PA) have expressed concern about President-elect Obama's choice for attorney general, Eric Holder.

Senators Specter (left) and Leahy (right)
"Sometimes it is more important for the attorney general to have the stature and courage to say 'no' than to say 'yes,'" said Senator Specter at today's hearings.

At issue is Holder's role in some controversial pardons made in the closing days of the Clinton administration. Holder was the number two official in Janet Reno's Justice Department and his legal advice was instrumental in the controversial Marc Rich pardon.

For Arlen Specter to now express concern about Holder's independence is but another example of Republican hypocrisy. GOP Senators fell all over themselves to confirm Junior Bush's own personal attorney, sleazy Alberto Gonzales, with nary a care for his lack of independence. And there have been exactly zero complaints from Republican Senators about Attorney General Michael Mukasey's stone-walling any investigations into the politicization of the Justice Department.

No surprise. Republicans know that their ignorant base will continue to support them; with the redneck crowd that is today's GOP base, it's not about consistency or integrity or honesty --it's about identity.

But, Republicans should be careful in their headlong rush toward a more assertive legislative branch of government. By insisting on an independent attorney general, they just might get themselves, Junior and Big Dick into real trouble.

When committee chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asked whether the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" authorized by the Bush administration were torture, and therefore illegal, Holder was unequivocal. "Waterboarding is torture," he said. Quite a difference from the pathetic verbal tap-dancing of Mukasey when he sat under the klieg lights.

GOP flunkies Mukasey and Gonzales
In recent days, Obama has made remarks indicating that he is not all that fired up about investigating Bush administration crimes. "My orientation's going to be to move forward," he said on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. (Well, if he does, I'm going to be one pissed off monkey, let me tell you. But that's beside the point.)

So, Obama might be ready to move on. But, if Eric Holder is the attorney general, and if he really is independent, as he uncovers evidence of the abuse of the Constitution, of the Justice Department, and of international law that has been perpetrated by Junior and the gang, maybe Holder will make his own determination about the necessity of investigations, indictments, and prosecutions.

Now, that would be an independent Attorney General.

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