via Crooks and Liars
I am as impatient as the rest of you about the lack of progress our newly Democratic Congress has made on ending our bloodletting in Iraq. But I have to say that I think they are doing a pretty good job so far with how they are approaching the investigative part of the their job.
Executive privilege is a legitimate if overused theory. I'd like to clip its wings, but it should not be made extinct. And I think everyone expects a showdown between Bush/Cheney and Congress at some point. But how we get from here to there matters.
If Waxman and Leahy and Conyers had gone in with guns blazing in January, the Administration would have manned the barricades and refused to turn over a single document or let anyone testify. I'm sure the new committee chairs knew that. So they followed a very smart approach -- they followed the favored apocryphal recipe for boiled frog: turn up the temperature so slowly the frog never figures out that it needs to jump out of the pot.
The US Attorney firings triggered the emails. The emails led us to the fired USAs. After the emails became public, the Administration could hardly prevent their testimony. The fired U.S. Attorneys only raised the thermometer enough to warrant (pun intended) the testimony of Gonzales and his chief of staff. The scandal has escalated to the point where he cannot really claim privilege. Gonzo's testimony will lead us to Rove. And when the Administration finally notices the steam, they will have a difficult time -- both legally and in terms of public opinion -- trying to use the privilege argument. Voila' -- boiled frog.
(And I am way into guesswork here, but I suspect that the liberal use of non-official email addresses and servers is going to come back to haunt the privilege argument as well.)
Update (3/20): Oops -- spoke too soon. Looks like somebody hit the fast-forward button, and I don't think anyone is going to blink yet. I think in hindsight it will look like they should have turned up the burner more slowly, but here we are.
And how do you claim exec privilege as a way of blocking sworn testimony you were happy to give unsworn?
One bit of nonsense I heard on the tube was a turnabout argument to the effect that "political appointees should not be compelled -- Clinton would never have let James Carville testify." Well, maybe, maybe not. But how involved do you think the Ragin' Cajun was in DOJ personnel decisions? I think the critical point here is that calling Rove a political appointee is a misdirection play -- he has been central to major policy initiatives. There is simply no distinction between policy and politics in this White House.
Pass the popcorn, would ya?