Friday, July 18, 2008

Blame Feinstein, Bayh, Landrieu, and Schumer

But also Biden, Dodd, Clinton, and Obama. What for? The confirmation of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General to replace Bush henchman Alberto Gonzales. Had Feinstein, Bayh, Landrieu or Schumer (plus Thomas Carper of Delaware and Benjamin Nelson of Nebraska) voted against the confirmation (I wrote Feinstein ahead of the vote urging her to vote "nay" and now wish I'd kept the email), the vote would have been 47-46, not enough to confirm. There were also seven non-voters (the four Dem senators on the campaign trail, plus McCain, Lamar Alexander, and Cornyn), and if this had also broken on party lines, the vote would have been 50-50. Of course, Cheney would have broken the deadlock and Mukasey would still have been in the job. But it would have been the tightest vote for an AG in history. If any Dem senator had threatened a filibuster, they would have kept Mukasey at bay.

Why is this relevant? Mukasey this week refused to turn over to Congress key FBI interviews with Bush and Cheney, conducted during the Valerie Plame investigation. Basically, according to a Newsweek story Wednesday, Mukasey all but invented a new way to claim executive privilege. Calling it "the law-enforcement component," the basic argument is that if White House officials, now or in the future, knew that their interviews with FBI investigators could become public, they might not voluntarily submit to them.

Uh, Yeah Right.

No White House official, ever -- now or later -- would voluntarily submit to an FBI investigation into any matter without some serious coaching by WH counsel and without carefully scripting their answers. This is all part of the typical Bush secrecy and obfuscation that undermines the separation of powers and redefines the way our government works.

To bring this home for me in a more personal way, there's a book I read to my boys every so often, mostly when I catch them lying or cheating at something. It's called How to Behave and Why, written in 1946 by Munro Leaf, who also wrote The Story of Ferdinand. One of my favorite quotes in the book is --
How old we are isn't what counts. The two biggest questions to ask ourselves in life, at any age, are: Are most of the people I know glad that I am here? and Am I glad that I am here myself?

The underlying character issues this quote brings up perfectly illustrate how I want my sons to conduct themselves. It is so black and white and simple, that anyone at any age ought to be able to live by it. Amazing that we find it acceptable for our elected leaders to be so dishonest and so unfair.

No comments: