The Bush/Gonzales Love Affair Soundtrack

This post, written by Christy Harden Smith, originally appeared on FireDogLake

Andrew Cohen of the WaPo's Bench Conference Blog made some excellent points yesterday about the burgeoning mess that is the Gonzales DOJ, and it is well worth repeating:
Were these problems and confrontations avoidable? Absolutely.A strong and independent attorney general never would have let such partisanship seep into the Justice Department from the White House; never would have given creative defense attorneys another argument to make in court against the government. (And the fact that some of these arguments will never succeed is beside the point; that federal prosecutors now have to defend themselves and their political motives drains time and energy and resources away from legitimate business.)Nor would a competent head of the Justice Department have allowed the scandal to mushroom into what it has become today. By failing to give complete and candid answers to the Congress, the attorney general and several of his former colleagues all but guaranteed the looming battle over executive privilege. Someone, after all, came up with and approved and coordinated the compilation of that list of U.S. attorneys who were to be professionally whacked -- and the fact that we still don't know the full story about that is not the fault of Democrats, or the media or anyone other than those in the administration who know the truth but who refuse to tell it. They are the ones who have picked the subpoena fight to come.
And at the bottom of it all -- or at the top of it all, depending upon your view -- is the president of the United States. His failure to fire his buddy Gonzales, and his failure to demand (sincerely and not just for the cameras) that all of his subordinates cooperate with the investigation, has brought us to this unhappy place, where smart lawyers don't want to work at the Justice Department, current prosecutors have to defend their political persuasions in court, and the judicial system has to now gear up for a constitutional showdown that long ago could have been avoided. All of this is the price all of us are paying for one man's blind loyalty to another.
Yet another George Bush failure that we all get to clean up for a long, long time. Friendship over country. Great. Just great.

And beyond that, as Charlie Savage reports this morning in the Boston Globe:
Federal officials have disobeyed at least six new laws that President Bush challenged in his signing statements, a government study disclosed yesterday. The report provides the first evidence that the government may have acted on claims by Bush that he can set aside laws under his executive powers.In a report to Congress, the non partisan Government Accountability Office studied a small sample of the bill provisions that Bush has signed into law but also challenged with signing statements. The GAO found that agencies disobeyed six such laws, while enforcing 10 others as written even though Bush had challenged them.
House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers , Democrat of Michigan, said yesterday that the GAO's findings demonstrated a need for a more "extensive review" of how the government has followed up on hundreds of other laws challenged by Bush.
"The administration is thumbing its nose at the law," said Conyers, one of the lawmakers who commissioned the GAO study....

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