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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

 
Seeding The Future

by digby

I have speculated that Rove was pursuing a phony voter fraud strategy for 2006 and was thwarted by his boy's catastrophic governance and some US Attorneys who refused to file charges.

Here's what one the ousted US Attorney from Washington has to say on that:


Former U.S. Attorney John McKay said Monday night he was "stunned" to hear President Bush told Attorney General Alberto Gonzales last October that Bush had received complaints about U.S. attorneys who were not energetically investigating voter-fraud cases.

McKay doesn't know if Republican unhappiness over his handling of the 2004 election cost him his job as U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, but the new revelations contained in a Washington Post story are sure to reignite questions about McKay's dismissal and whether it was connected to Washington state's hotly contested governor's race.

"Had anyone at the Justice Department or the White House ordered me to pursue any matter criminally in the 2004 governor's election, I would have resigned," McKay said. "There was no evidence, and I am not going to drag innocent people in front of a grand jury."


For those who didn't follow the whole saga in Washington state (like me) this article gives a full rundown of what happened and the Republicans' insistence that the election was stolen by the Democrats despite no proof that any such thing happened. The Justice Department never "ordered" the US Attorney to do anything. Rove isn't that bold. He had local surrogates do it, just as he did in New Mexico. And when Mckay refused to play ball he was first denied a federal judgeship and then fired.

As Josh Marshall noted last night, the GOP cries of voter fraud go back a long way. It's an extension of their old habits of disenfranchising blacks in the south and latinos in the southwest (as Joe Conason outlines here.)

But since the 2000 election the Democrats have been the ones complaining about voter irregularities and I think that Rove recognized that he could deftly twist the public awareness we created and turn it back on us. His problem was that the Democrats won the election by too wide a margin in 2006 for them to cry fraud in any systematic way --- and some US Attorneys refused to play ball.

If Rove had been successful, however, I suspect that he could have pulled off something even more subversive for 2008. He could have had in place pliant US Attorneys who are willing to keep open all of these cases of "voter fraud" and pursue new ones from the 2008 election. If a Republican wins the presidency, no harm no foul, they just keep pressing, suppressing the vote and pushing the new meme about Democrats stealing elections. If a Dem wins, they exert political pressure to keep these US Attorneys in place for reasons of "justice department integrity" and a Democratic president finds him or herself battling their own Justice Department --- which has been salted with Karl Rove's partisan clones who cannot be fired.

The problem for Karl was that a handful of US Attorneys with integrity wouldn't be pressured with the usual inducements and so they had to be forced out. The problem for Democrats, however, is that if they don't handle this carefully, the scenario I outlined above could happen anyway. You can bet that nothing any Republican says now will stop them from screeching like rabid howler monkeys if a Democratic president tries to replace even one Bushh appointed US Attorney in 2009.

Remember, Republicans have retired the concept of hypocrisy. Consistency and intellectual integrity are for losers.

For instance, Marshall notes today:

I'm not sure if it's more a matter of entertainment or just grim confirmation, but it is worth cataloging all the Republicans who are now willing to come forward and spin out arguments about how federal prosecutors always pursue political investigations and are little more than cat's paws for the party apparatus of the president who appointed them. Rule of law. Rule of law. Rule of law. I've said it a number of times in recent months: the rule of law and creeping authoritarianism has to be at the center of any sensible politics today. The degradation is so great and the bar has fallen so low.


No kidding. And keep in mind that these same people were saying just last week that the administration should not have allowed a special prosecutor to handle the Libby matter and should have left it to career prosecutors who can be trusted because they are sworn to uphold the law over all political concerns.

It's surprising they don't get whiplash.


Update: Marshall caught Pat Buchanan saying that there was nothing wrong with the president passing along his concerns about "crimes" being committed to the AG. No word on whether there's any problem with the president asking his AG to pursue completely bogus claims of voter fraud in order to maintain his party's political power, do favors for cronies and punish his enemies.

But then Buchanan was one of Nixon's favorite boys, isn't he? Using the Justice Department to punish your political enemies and cover up your own crimes is SOP to these guys.

And they wonder why we balked when it was revealed that they were doing surveillance on American citizens without any oversight...


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