Politics and Pleasure

by digby

Watching James Sensenbrenner whine about the cost of this "fishing expedition" (Goodling's testimony)and say "when I was chairman I never issued a subpoena unless I had to" is just too rich coming from one of the rabid impeachment circus managers who promptly went into a coma for the first six years of the Bush administration. Indeed, it's quite a show watching all of those mighty House Managers who were once warriors in defense of the "rule 'o law" when illicit sex was involved now being very, very disturbed by the prospect of this DOJ "witchhunt" against fine upstanding Republicans.

There was a time when they were very concerned, not just with the Rule 'O Law, but even with the appearance of failing to uphold the Rule 'O Law. It was quite inspiring:

Sensenbrenner: This is a direct attack on the rule of law in our country and a very public wrong that goes to the constitutional workings of our government ... I want those parents who ask me the questions, to be able to tell their children that even if you are president of the United States, if you lie when sworn "to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," you will face the consequences of that action, even when you don't accept the responsibility for them.

It makes you want to sing "God Bless America" doesn't it? Today, old Sensi isn't quite so exercized about attacking the rule 'o law. In fact, he thinks this whole thing is a big waste of time.

There is one thing both situations do have in common besides those hideous House Managers --- both situations have to do with the president's "pleasure." As we have heard on an endless, mind destroying loop from Republicans, the US attorneys could legitimately be fired for failing to run their offices as a partisan electoral operation (any reason at all!) because they serve at the presidents pleasure. It's nobody's business why it happened and if the president wants to completely politicize the Justice department for electoral advantage, he has a perfect right to do it. In the impeachment case, Democrats said that the president's private pleasure was nobody's business and the conservative funded and dismissed Paula Jones case, particularly the irrelevant Monica Lewinsky questioning, was a partisan misuse of the justice system for political gain.

Perhaps these two views of "pleasure" actually represent the essential difference between the parties --- conservatives get off on power and believe it should be kept private and unaccountable to the public and liberals get off on sex and believe it should be kept private and unaccountable to the public. You tell me which one upholds the constitution and which one threatens it.

I'll spare the FDL servers and point you instead to Steve Benen's post that runs down the highlights of Christy Hardin Smith's liveblogging. Lil' Monica was out of the loop but she has had no problem pointing her finger at those who were in it.