Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Stand up for yourselves, already!

Like him or hate him, Dick Morris gets it right on the U.S. Attorney firings "scandal":

Bush, Rove, Gonzales and Co. should explain why the U.S. attorneys were dismissed by emphasizing the importance of the cases they were refusing to prosecute. By doing so, they can turn the Democratic attacks on them into demands to go easy on fraudulent voting. A good sense of public relations -- and some courage -- could turn this issue against the Democrats for blocking Bush's efforts to crack down on the criminals he wanted prosecuted.

In making such a big deal over the routine exercise of a presidential prerogative to fire these prosecutors, the Democrats, led by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) may be biting off more than they can chew. Unless the administration turns and aggressively defends its decision to get rid of these particular appointees, it could be left holding the bag and defending the U.S. attorneys' decision to avoid prosecuting voter-fraud cases.

If the administration continues to follow its run-and-hide policy, it will look terrible asserting claims of executive privilege as it seeks to shield its appointees from Senate interrogation and its documents from committee scrutiny. But if it contextualizes the issue by using the specific failings of the dismissed appointees to prosecute particular cases, it will assume the high ground and its procedural objections will be seen in a more positive light by the American people. If only the administration would show some courage.

The Bush administration came in thinking they could play nice with Democrats. They should have thrown that thought out the window the moment the 2000 election became contested. Their desire to play nice has stuck around, though, and it has hurt them in a political game where the Democrats have been playing for blood. As a result, the Bush administration has been on its political heals for large chunks of it's two terms. It is more than time to fight back.

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