Ezra And The Harpy
A very nasty GOP operative named Karen Hanratty went after Ezra Klein on Hardball this afternoon with a puerile insult that revealed just about everything you need to know about just how cancerous this Republican movement has become on the body politic. After going on about how Scooter Libby is paying a "huge price" for what he did, Matthews pushed her into admitting that she thinks the president should probably pardon the convicted felon completely, leaving his entire record clean and his law license restored. Huge price, indeed.
Then they started discussing Gonzales and US Attorneys:
Matthews: What did he do wrong?
Klein: aside from the firing of the prosecutors?
Hanratty: that wasn't wrong
Klein: Well, there you go
Matthews: what did he do wrong? what crime did he commit?
Klein: I'm not going to talk about what crime he committed. I'm no a lawyer. But what he did wrong was fire prosecutors for political reasons. I think we can agree that's an ethical violation.
Hanratty: It's not illegal
Matthews: Do you believe US Attorneys are hired because they're pals and they deserve a little political favor or do you think they hire them because they're the best lawyer in town?
Klein: I think that whatever reason you hire them, you can't fire them mid-term for political reasons.
Hanratty: Yes you absolutely can fire someone mid-term for political reasons. It's not against the law.
Klein: That is a wonderful way to run a government
Hanratty: (angry, eye rolling) How old are you and how naive are you that you honestly think that this town isn't built on patronage?
Klein: How cynical are you that you believe you should support that political patronage and excuse anything they do?
Hanratty: Give me a break. That has nothing to do with supporting it..
Klein: You think Scooter Libby should pay no price, that prosecutors should get fired. Is this how we're doing it now? This is sad. How far we've fallen.
Hanratty and Matthews then went on to riff about how Gonzales hasn't done anything illegal because the Democrats haven't been able to arrest him (or something) but I think that exchange is very revealing. There is no such thing as ethics. And hell, even if they do something blatantly illegal, the president ought to pardon them. They admit it. They're proud of it.
Sadly, I'm not sure the old fashioned notion of a non-partisan federal judicial system is going to be able to recover from this. I always knew US Attorney's were "political." But you relied on the fact that most of them had a higher calling to the law and had an interest in keeping the system free from this sort of blatant politicization. The Bush administration and its ethics-free supporters, have quite successfully destroyed that. It's now out in the open any action a Republican takes in any branch of government is nothing more than an exercise of self-serving, raw political power. That's probably a good thing for everyone to finally internalize and learn to deal with.
If anyone wants to know why young people are running away from the GOP in droves, this is it. They are a nasty group of cynical jackasses who make the future look like a dark and hideous prospect.
You go Ezra. It was a sharp, dignified performance in response to the shrill, shrieking harpy who was snidely laughing in your face as she "clarified" exactly what the Republicans mean by "honor and integrity."