Wednesday, 14 March 2007

ALBERTO GONZALEZ AND CHUCK SCHUMER

Ken Berwitz

Let me start by saying that, albeit for very different reasons, I don't have good feelings about either Attorney General Gonzalez or Senator Schumer.

I've always thought of Alberto Gonzalez as a Bush crony who was put into a job he probably should not be in because he is a Bush crony.  He has very little presence and never sounds as if he is anything but a caretaker for the administration.  Of course I've never seen or heard him in a private meeting and don't know what goes on behind the scenes.  But, for what I can judge Mr. Gonzalez on, he doesn't leave a positive impression.

Chuck Schumer, to me, is a vicious hatchet man and publicity hound.  Whenever they need an attack dog to do the party's dirty work, Democrats trot him out in front of the cameras --and nobody loves cameras more than Schumer.

This week, Attorney General Gonzalez is under fire for his involvement (or lack of same) regarding last year's firing of 8 federal prosecutors.  The Democratic argument is that these were political firings, the prosecutors were fully capable of performing properly and that they were dumped because they weren't loyal to President Bush, which Democrats apparently define as meaning they wouldn't adjust their prosecutorial decisions to what he wanted from them.

Much, probably most, of the legwork for these dismissals was performed by Attorney General Gonzalez' chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson.  But Democrats are trying to implicate Gonzalez, and also Karl Rove and President Bush  (what else is new?  About the only thing they haven't tried to implicate Rove and Bush in is the Lindbergh kidnapping --- and they still have almost two years to try, so who knows...).

Sampson has resigned over the heat from these firings.  But that isn't enough for Democrats who, as before they took congress, seem far less interested in legislative accomplishments, than in "getting" people.  Through Chuck Schumer, Democrats are saying that Sampson is just the fall guy for Gonzalez and Gonzalez, who heads the office, has to go.  Remember this well;  you'll see why later in the blog.

Now, here are a few things Democrats have not featured in their attacks on Gonzalez and his people: 

----There is nothing illegal about firing prosecutors, they serve at the pleasure of the President;

----Every administration fires prosecutors for a variety of reasons, obviously including political reasons;

----The last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, fired EVERY prosecutor, all 93 of them.  And one of those prosecutors, Charles Banks, was about to investigate his malodorous whitewater dealings. 

When Janet Reno was asked how it came to be that the entire prosecutorial staff was dismissed, she told the press that it was a joint decision of hers and the White House.  Got that?   She admitted there was direct White House involvement in the firings...which is what Democrats are "accusing" Bush of.  Do you recall any major outcry at that time, or any demands for resignations?  Me neither.

Now let's talk about the chief hit man for this ludicrous political witchunt, Senater Charles "Chuck" Schumer.  Specifically, let's talk about an event that took place less than two years ago, which was orchestrated straight out of Schumer's office.

--------The Democratic party appointed Charles Schumer to head their DNCC (Democratic National Congressional Committee).  Two members of Senator Schumer's staff were Lauren Weiner and Katie Barge;

----Michael Steele, the Black Republican Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, was seriously considering a senate run to replace Democrat Paul Sarbanes.    As a Black Republican, Steele might take a larger segment of the Black vote than Republicans in Maryland (or anywhere else) typically do, thus making him a very dangerous candidate, maybe even a winning candidate who would take a senate seat from the Democratic party.

----So what did Ms. Weiner and Ms. Barge do about this?  They somehow got hold of Mr. Steele's social security number and illegally used it to obtain his credit history - hoping, no doubt, to find incriminating information that could be used to torpedo his senate candidacy.  That is a federal crime.  A felony punishable by jail time.  It is also an absolute outrage.  

----The DNCC -- chaired by Chuck Schumer, let's remember -- found out about their illegal activities (this assumes they didn't ask Weiner and Barge to do it in the first place).   

----So what did the DNCC do?  They shut the hell up about it.  For TWO MONTHS.  The DNCC only admitted it happened when two New York newspapers got wind of the story and wrote articles about it.  (The Post and Newsday.  NOT the Times.  What are you drinking?  This is a Democrat we're talking about.)

---And what did the DNCC do with Ms. Weiner and Ms. Barge?  They suspended them WITH PAY for those two months. 

In other words, Chuck Schumer, who is the lead attack-dog against Alberto Gonzalez, had a situation just a year and a half ago in which staff members from the organization he chaired committed illegal acts for political reasons.   First it was covered up and then the staffers were suspended, with pay.  Not a thing happened to Schumer.

Remember that line Schumer is using, the one I highlighted earlier?  That staffers should never be the fall guys for the one who is in charge?  Notice any difference when the guy in charge was Schumer? 

Now let's compare Gonzalez' chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson and Schumer's staff members, Lauren Weiner and Katie Barge:

----Here's a major similarity:  In both cases, the acts in question were conducted by members of someone's staff.  Schumer is screaming for Gonzalez to resign, because Sampson shouldn't be "the fall guy".   Did Schumer resign for what Weiner and Barge did?

----Here's a major difference:  What D. Kyle Sampson did was not illegal, at least not that we know to this moment.  What Lauren Weiner and Katie Barge did WAS illegal, and both copped pleas to avoid going to jail.   I'll ask again:  should Schumer have resigned?  Or was it ok for him to make these two women his "fall guys"?

----Here's one more major difference for you:  D. Kyle Sampson resigned from Attorney General Gonzalez' staff, thus ending his relationship with the office.  Lauren Weiner and Katie Barge both were suspended WITH PAY.  In other words, the sum total of their punishment (until word got out and it couldn't be done any longer) was to get paid just as much by the DNCC for doing nothing as they had been for working.  They didn't lose a penny...and, as an extra added attraction, they had the DNCC to thank for earning two months of money after their illegal activity.  Frankly, that's what you do for people you want to keep quiet;  you pay them off for doing nothing.

Over the next couple of weeks and probably beyond, you will be hearing a lot of orchestrated outrage by Senator Schumer, coupled with plenty of demands that members of the Bush administration resign.  Every time you do, remember what happened when it was HIS staff and the activities were ILLEGAL.  Then you can decide whether to laugh or pitch a fit.  I wouldn't blame you for either reaction.


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