I generally try and stay away from general politics – things that don’t touch issues of compassion, poverty, and faith. It is both because general politics is increasingly uninteresting to me and because if I were to start talking about everything in politics I wouldn’t ever shut up and no one really needs to hear my thoughts on such things. However, I wanted to say two things about the firings of those US Attorneys.
First – Everything about this story sounds and feels consistent with the White House I knew from 2001-2003 – a near-imperial institution that prided itself on controlling the function of, and squelching the feedback of, every single cabinet secretary and every single federal agency. Rare was the day when eyes weren’t being rolled at one secretary or another about “not being in line with the program.” So this revelation about the politiclly-motivated firings of the US attorneys should come as no real surprise. As I wrote about in Tempting Faith, imperial politics controlled everything the White House did from the workings of the faith-based initiative to the seduction of Christian voters.
Some are trying to isolate Attorney General Gonzalez from the scandal – suggesting, as damage control, that he had nothing to do with it, that he knew nothing of it, that it was occurring behind his back. All such efforts are several belly laughs beyond laughable.
Now to my second point. This White House is hardly the first White House to fire US attorneys for questionable reasons. Look back to 1993, for instance. In March of that year President Clinton fired all 93 US Attorneys at the same time. It was an unprecedented move and inarguably a political one.
The White House is a political institution. It is run not only by the nation’s chief executive but also by the head of a political party. That shockingly political things occur there shouldn’t really shock anyone. What would shock the American people, however, is direct and blunt honesty about a scandal. How nice it would be if that occurred here…that is the kind of “shock politics” we really need.