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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Point \ Counterpoint

    U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, and many expect that his performance will determine if he is allowed to keep his job. Democrats are in an uproar over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, while others think Gonzales was merely doing his job. Should Gonzales be fired?

    The blame game in spin city

    Washington loves two things – talk and a good story. Last week gave them something to really talk about.

    The recent dismissal of several U.S. attorneys suggests politics precedes precedent when it comes to serious matters concerning executive authority amidst all the finger-pointing of some elected officials. Regardless of all the name-calling and complaining, the verdict on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the White House reads: not guilty.

    Wanting to rally loyalist supporters for their 2008 campaigns, Democratic Sens. Clinton (N.Y.), Barack Obama (Ill.) and Joseph Biden (Del.) threw red meat to their disciples concerning the case of Gonzales and his decision, through the White House, to dismiss some of the nation’s top lawyers.

    Among the “”completely incompetent,”” “”immediate change in leadership”” and “”no credibility”” mǸlange of comments launched at the attorney general, the investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee into Gonzales’ decision aided by the Bush administration was a way for Democrats to make Gonzales look bad, while he was acting on the executive powers appointed to the president.

    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., with other committee senators, held a hearing last month with the sole focus of determining if the White House’s claim of “”executive privilege”” was putting the cart before the horse.

    As stated in the Constitution, the president has the sole authority to appoint U.S. attorneys, with the consent of the Senate, and the president may remove U.S. attorneys from office at his discretion.

    Article II of the Constitution embodies the duties of the executive branch of government. Section 2 states that the president may appoint attorneys based on their qualifications to fulfill their job with vigor. If the president deems the appointed attorneys as not living up to their important job with potency, the president may appoint other judges to fulfill the agenda the president seeks.

    Being the chief attorney in the nation, Gonzales (and the president) rationally dismissed the eight U.S. attorneys.

    Knowing this to be the case, Leahy and other bloodthirsty Democrats continued to pursue a witch hunt directed at the White House and the Justice Department, wanting to catch Bush and Gonzales off-guard. While their attempts rally media attention, it proves futile nonetheless.

    Let’s hope Leahy, Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy, Russ Feingold and other mouthpieces of the bureaucratic left wing have no more stones to throw – choosing to ignore past scandals like Chappaquiddick, of course.

    Wanting to throw all signs of political precedent clearly stated in the Constitution out the window, Democrats now feel the urge after their siesta time away from Congress, being the majority party, to kick the elephant even harder and pursue another agenda.

    The new bond of bipartisanship pledged by this new “”do-everything Congress”” is off to an upsetting and rocky start when they attack the Justice Department and expect to have a prayer to put the brakes on this runaway train for days ahead.

    Cut out this steeplechase of one-upmanship. Cut out the blame game. Give us something really worthwhile to talk about.

    Conner Lee is a political science sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

    Gonzales flouts the Constitution

    On Monday, the American Freedom Agenda, a well-known conservative group, wrote an open letter to President Bush urging Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign. Uniquely, in today’s degraded and tired political discourse, it was written in a tone that suited the seriousness of the subject.

    Gonzales, the group declared, “”has presided over an unprecedented crippling of the Constitution’s time-honored checks and balances.”” Hyperbolic, perhaps; the Constitution has suffered numerous kicks and blows from would-be tyrants down the years, but it has always popped up again, strong as ever.

    Gonzales, accused of leading – or at least tacitly approving – a planned purge of eight U.S. attorneys who were fired in December, is no constitutional expert. In January, he claimed that the revered document contains no guaranteed right to habeas corpus – protection against arbitrary arrest, perhaps the most precious of freedoms. A slip of the tongue, perhaps, but a very Freudian slip indeed coming from a man accused of standing at the center of a cyclone of crooked partisan scheming.

    The Freedom Agenda’s letter came to its most important point with this line: “”He has brought the rule of law into disrepute, and debased honesty as the coin of the realm.””

    This is what it comes down to: Yes, U.S. attorneys operate at the discretion of the president. But to plot their ouster for strictly political reasons is to degrade and undermine the workings of politics itself.

    It is to violate the Constitution’s careful outlining of the president’s duty “”to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.””

    It’s been a dreadful week, and it’s hard to concentrate on what may seem like a comparatively minor legal kerfluffle after the worst shooting incident in the history of our country.

    But it does matter. The Bush administration has flaunted its contempt for the law of the land. Does anyone any longer believe its brazen lies about losing 5 million e-mails, which the president’s incompetent henchmen pathetically claim to be diligently searching for?

    It is rotten to the core, and every new revelation only drives the point further home. No administration since Nixon’s has rotted in such a swamp of scandal.

    Anyone who still believes that this is only “”partisan”” bickering or bullying by the Democrats should examine the Watergate scandal, which also unfolded when the Democrats controlled Congress. Far from lunging for the president’s throat at the first hint of scandal, they were reluctant to act at all until the polls made it overwhelmingly clear that the people wanted justice.

    When President Nixon fired a succession of high-ranking officials who refused to obey his orders – the famous “”Saturday Night Massacre”” of 1973 – the whole country rose up in indignation. Even died-in-the-wool conservatives were outraged.

    The American Freedom Agenda is right. Gonzales is “”an unsuitable steward of the law,”” and he must resign. It’s not about partisan politics; it’s about the people’s right to expect honesty and forthrightness from their leaders. The integrity of our democracy is at stake.

    Justyn Dillingham is copy chief for the Arizona Daily Wildcat and is a junior majoring in political science and history. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

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