The Other U.S. Attorney Scandal

Christy Hardin Smith of Firedoglake gives us this account of a story that our usual “All Paris, Lindsay, Britney, Nicole, Brangelina and their friends all the time” press seems to have ignored… i.e., 24 out of 93 United States Attorney positions are now vacant, and likely will be for the rest of the 541 or so remaining days of the Bush Administration, as not so much as one proposed replacement has been sent to Congress for action.
Given the quality of personnel that this President has all-too-frequently placed in high positions in the Department of Justice, starting with the two men he has named to head it, I am somewhat less concerned than Christy is at an operational level. Frankly, I’d just as soon have no one at all in a given position than someone with the confidence of George W. Bush… indeed, I would say the same thing about the presidency itself, and I doubt I’d get too much disagreement.
But this particular one speaks volumes… United States Attorneys, or United States District Attorneys as they are occasionally called, are the chief designated federal law enforcement officer of a given federal judicial district, charged with enforcing and administering the nation’s laws. While Justice Department personnel (I used to be one myself) are fully capable of administering their duties with someone in the big office with the title “Acting” in front of their name, there is still some level of frustration and discomfort among career employees under such circumstances, particularly if major or controversial cases are coming down. In any event, it makes perfect sense– indeed, one of the most crystal clear aspects of this Administration– that given its inconceivable disrespect for the laws and Constitution of this nation that it flouts at every opportunity it gets, the Bush Administration would find priorities more compelling than, say, filling over a quarter of the positions responsible for enforcing the nation’s laws in its individual judicial districts.
Christy correctly notes that if the President cannot fill the ranks of officials administering justice with partisan hacks whose first priority is to steal elections (and the twin goal, disenfranchising ethnic minority voters, which also shores up the base)… then he simply doesn’t want to fill them at all.
But let’s remember that we not only have a boot-licking press corps that frankly tells us this as if it were an Alberto Gonzales problem (it evens try to gloss over how unpopular he is…not even Fox News could get anyone to defend him)… because using Alberto as a firewall covers the White House (here we go again).
We also have Democratic candidates and office-holders who by and large ignore the big picture here (there are occasional heroic exceptions). The Big Guns aren’t really telling us about this scandal either (and their own plans to restore honor, integrity, basic competence and not lying to Congress to the Justice Department!)…. or the fact that the underlying scandal is about stealing elections from Democrats. You’d think Democrats would care about that, wouldn’t you?
Instead, as we would expect from past history, Democrats seem far more interested in mau-mau’ing each other than in setting forth their plans for good governance for this country (and as usual, I do mean you, Hillary, i.e., the only Democrat running who can possibly lose the Presidency to the current crop of Republican clowns if nominated next year… and I might just include Kucinich and Gravel in that).
And there you have it. This has been… “the other U.S. Attorney scandal”. The one you won’t be hearing about on the news, or from Democratic candidates.