Would you, anonymous stranger, complain if I were to paint the inside of my house a bright green with pink spots? Of course not, because you’d have no business dictating to me how I can or can’t paint my own place. It’s not your place, nor is it your responsibility to dictate what I do. On the other hand, my landlord could certainly complain, keep my security deposit, or demand that I repaint the walls their original color. He has the right to do this because it is his house. Since he has ownership and its associated responsibility, he can dictate exactly what I can and cannot do to the house. But you have no say because it is not your house and not your responsibility.
Is this clear enough? Apparently, not to Congress.
The current brouhaha in Congress comes over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys by the Justice Department. Congress has its collective panties in a bunch because it could be *drum roll* politically motivated. *gasp* The horror!
Lawmakers requested the documents as part of an investigation into whether the firings were politically motivated. While it is unclear whether the documents will answer Congress’s questions, they show that the White House and other administration officials were more closely involved in the dismissals, and at a much earlier date, than they have previously acknowledged.
Seven U.S. attorneys were fired on Dec. 7, and another was fired months earlier, with little explanation from the Justice Department….
When Congress asked the Justice Department to fork over documents to justify the firings, the Justice Department should have responded with, “Mind your own business, Congress.” The Justice Department is overseen by the Executive Branch, and its hirings and firings are an internal matter. The title of the above report is “Attorney firings had genesis in White House.” And my response is–yeah; so? The U.S. attorneys work under the auspices of the Chief Executive, not the Legislature, so firings are handled by the Executive Branch. Frankly, the President could have fired any of these people on a whim, if he chose.
Would the White House be justified in asking Speaker Pelosi to explain the firing of someone on her staff? Absolutely not! The Executive Branch has nothing to do with Speaker Pelosi’s staffing issues, and Speaker Pelosi and the rest of Congress should butt out of the private staffing issues of the Executive Branch.
Paul Kane of the Washington Post has expressed his barely contained glee at the subpoenas by Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) regarding the firing of the U.S. attorneys. Sanchez asked, “Are these people being removed for doing their job and for doing it too well?” The question is left hanging. Obviously there is something evil going on–or so Kane would have you believe. But his own blog entry has the key quote:
“Today’s hearing was political grandstanding. Every U.S. attorney serves at the pleasure of the president and they know this beforehand. Most of the U.S. attorneys in question served 4 years or longer. Republicans are not going to provide votes for political subpoenas,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the top Republican on the full Judiciary Committee, in a statement.
They serve “at the pleasure of the President,” says Rep. Smith. This sounds very much like “at will” employment. Every job I have had in my professional career to date has been at-will employment. This meant I could be fired for any reason or no reason, and with no prior warning. It also meant I could leave my job for any reason or no reason, and with no prior warning.
So some U.S. attorneys were fired. Big whoop-de-friggin’-doo. Even if these people were fired at the personal request of Pres. Bush, it would still be a non-story. The attorneys worked for him, and he had every right to fire them if he chose to do so, regardless of what meddlesome Democrats in Congress and liberals in the media might say. They have no more say in this event than you have in choosing a paint color for my house.
UPDATE (3/13/2007 2:37:14 PM): Attorney General Alberto Gonzales acknowledges mistakes, successfully pouring oil on the Democrat fire.
“Obviously I am concerned about the fact that information — incomplete information was communicated or may have been communicated to the Congress,” Gonzales said. “I believe very strongly in our obligation to ensure that when we provide information to the Congress, it is accurate and it is complete. And I very dismayed that that may not have occurred here.”
If the Justice Department had told the Congress to butt out of internal affairs, this wouldn’t be the ginned-up scandal it is today.