The Department of Just Us
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For those of you who enjoyed the devastation that the Bush Administration unloaded on America through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the K Street Project, you're going to love the Extreme Makeover going on over at your new Department of Justice. Where justice stems from the eye of The Decider.
You might think that dragging around an approval rating lower than that of a flatulent weasel crashing a preschool prophylactic pageant, President Bush would be handicapped in accumulating another stash of clueless roommates, obscure toadies and party hacks to fill important government posts, but you my friend, would have another think coming. Even in his position as the lamest of ducks, the Prez remains steadfast in his two term mission to replace experienced professionals with the wretched excesses of party flackery, or more precisely -- a reflection of him.
The story so far: say you're a good Republican afflicted with a problem U.S. Attorney who has not demonstrated proper exuberance whilst prosecuting Democratics near election time or one who refuses to apologize for stepping on a few big contributor toes, well don't you worry your pretty little head, because a single call to the Attorney Weasel, Alberto Gonzalez, and you got yourself a slack jawed partisan lackey waiting to fill the offending prosecutor's shoes. With Kleenex.
Eight U.S. Attorneys have been fired without explanation despite positive internal performance reviews. And most have been or are on track to be replaced with candidates whose major qualifications is knowing the correct response to the Republican Party's "Jump!" command is to inquire "How high?" Head Toady Karl Rove undoubtedly has an basement assembly line stamping out a series of clones learning his sinister brand of myopic kowtowing as we speak.
Apparently the fact that these guys have less experience with the law than your average IHOP early bird shift manager is a good thing. Can't teach an old dog new suck ups. Although many potential replacements must have gained valuable experience from being called as character witnesses for the defense in Scooter Libby's recent trial.
Some of those fired, I'm sorry, let go, or rather, victims of partisan duty management were warned not to talk to the press or risk retaliation such as the further trashing of their reputation. Who knows what diabolical measures these fiendish minds might conceive? Possible links to Joseph Biden? Or having Robert Novack disclose connections to such anti- American movements as law school?
In the old days, before the threat of terrorism loomed over everything in this country like a rain gutter over an ant farm during monsoon season, the administration needed Senate approval for appointing new U.S. attorneys, but snuck a provision into the Patriot Act allowing the Attorney General to appoint new federal prosecutors at his discretion. "Checks and balances? We don't need no stinking checks and balances."
You'd think if anybody, the Department of Justice would be immune from politics. You know -- justice -- moral integrity. Rightness. I'm thinking someone became fixated on the left hand part of that word. Totally forgot about the people's justice. By, for and of the people. But these are the new days. When even an Easter egg hunt can be politicized. And the Department of Justice can become the Department of Just Us. And that us, don't include you or me.
Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability.