Now that no one cares anymore, the Justice Department issued a report Monday that substantiates and details the damage that Alberto Gonzalez and his overzealous, inexperienced, ideologue lackies did to the many worthy missions of this agency.
Because I know folks are fatigued, I won’t list the verifiable violations of federal law, Civil Service rules, and DOJ polices that are in the report. I’ll spare you also the appalling quotations of Monica Goodling, the inexperienced go-getter who was placed as White House liaison for the agency (yes, this sentence was passive voice). But if you are gratefully thinking that this report closes the book on this scandal, you are forgetting something that remains undone.
We need, before we walk away appalled but relieved that the ugly truth finally saw the righteous light of day, to do one more thing. We need to remember the right-wing pundits and how they defended the Bush White House and Alberto Gonzalez on this.
Remember the claims? Any employer has the right to pick their own workers, they said. Or: every administration brings on board its own team. Jay Weber on WISN-AM emphatically stated that this scandal is completely made up by the liberal media and other Bush haters and there is absolutely nothing there. Remember?
That never held water for me, but then I tend to read down deeper into the news stories than most right-wing radio listeners, evidently. What stuck in my craw were the cases – Carol Lam of Southern California and David Iglesias of New Mexico – of federal attorneys who were pushed out in part because they were investigating corrupt Republican politicians. Duke Cunningham, anyone?
Others are incensed that ideology took precedence over fighting terror.
So, before we finish with this matter involving the DOJ* we need me to drag these old talking points out into the harsh light of day. Right-wingers count on the tendency of folks to forget their claims by the time their statements are shown to be lies. We now see that the claims that this was a made-up scandal and that the agency was blameless were b.s.
Ho-hum. What else is new, right?
A similar vindication came late in the Lewis Libby/Valerie Plame scandal, where again we were first told this was a nothing burger. The fact is, when you look back across the wide landscape of the Bush-era scandals, there's a whole lot of fecal fibs drying out there between the sagebrush.
*Except in terms of public attention span, this is far from over. There are more internal reports to come, certain White House workers are defying congressional subpoenas, and the question remains of how to proceed with the knowledge that Alberto Gonzalez lied under oath to Congress.