Its a dirty, dirty business
August 27, 2008 · Updated 8:31 PM
One of the first things I learned when I started writing politics in 1961 was that naming federal prosecutors is part of the political patronage that goes with being elected president. Those are political plum jobs like postmasters and liquor store managers. Every lawyer who got a federal prosecutorial appointment knew that while he had a four-year term, he served at the pleasure of the president and could be let go at any time without being given a reason.
When the administration changed, the incumbent stayed on past the four years, if necessary, while waiting for his successor to be vetted.
It pays to be in with your U.S. senators if you want the job because thats who usually picks them. The president cant know all the lawyers in the country and there are 93 such openings. Bill Clinton, in fact, dumped all 93 when he came into office in 1993 so why the Democrats are making such a fuss over the eight Bush fired in December is beyond me.
It was the way it was done, were told, with Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzalez denying the firings were politically motivated, and implying they were performance related which the eight sacked prosecutors and the Democrats are having kittens over.
One of the eight is John McKay, U.S. Attorney for Western Washington. Rumor has it he got bounced because he did not actively pursue investigation of the governors race in 2004 when Republican Dino Rossi won twice then lost in a recount paid for by a Democratic fund raising organization that turned up voters later proved to be felons or dead. He should have been fired long before this. I suspect he was reluctant to disturb a working relationship with ex-Atty. Gen., now Gov. Christine Gregoire.
As for the firings being politically motivated, some of these people, including McKay, act like they just fell off the turnip truck. Im shocked! Shocked to find out that politics is going on here.
On Fox News Sunday morning talk show, host Chris Wallace was answering email inquiries, one of which was why did they lambaste Bush for the firing of the eight without mentioning Clintons wholesale dismissal in 1993? The answer, said Wallace, is we didnt know about it.
Why didnt they? I knew about it from reading the newspapers.
And on March 18, Sen. Pat Leahy of New Hampshire, the autocratic chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, snarled over the replacement, he said, of John McKay with a technically disbarred attorney.
He was talking about Rick White, the former Republican congressman from Bainbridge Island who the Seattle Times said was one of three attorneys nominated by U.S. Rep.
Dave Reichert, but who admits to not being able to practice law because hes delinquent in his bar dues and hasnt kept up with required classes to stay current. He shouldnt have been nominated because it just gives the Ds more fodder to attack Bush.
Thats what this is all about. You know the old saying, if you cant get the kings get the prime minister. They got Rumsfeld. They got DeLay. They got Scooter Libby. Theyre after Gonzalez, Vice President Cheney and Karl Rove, with the help of Republicans with personal peeves. Is Sen. John Sununu, R-New Hampshire, joining the attack on Gonzalez because he cant forget his father was canned by the then-president for making too many trips in a White House helicopter to golf games, etc? Dont let your kids grown up to be politicians, folks. Its a dirty, dirty business.
Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA, 98340.