Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

GOP 1, USA -1

Posted by Charles II on May 23, 2007

I score the Goodling testimony (of which I heard the first half; Emptywheel and the Firepups have provided a full summary) as largely favorable to Bushco. I don’t fault the Democrats for this, because Goodling was clearly well-prepped for the hearing. Here is what the GOP accomplished:

  • They remedied the seriously bad optics of having Goodling take the 5th (she confessed to possibly breaking civil service rules).
  • They dispelled the image of Goodling as a dumb, easily-manipulated political hack with a fly-by-night degree. She appeared by dress and demeanor, though not by actions, appropriate to a senior position.
  • Goodling came across as reasonably forthright except in the rare case (she said she had no conversation with Rove and had to be reminded that e-mail is included).
  • They systematically blurred the lines between (a) normal logrolling with political appointees, (b) improper pressure on political appointees, and (c) politicized dealings with civil service appointees.
  • No single deed has been identified as wrongful. Indeed, they have provided an alternative explanation for the firing of Carol Lam (Dianne Feinstein complained about her immigration prosecutions a year before the firing).
  • They provided a scapegoat (McNulty).

But reality is not cooperating. The facts on the ground are that morale in DoJ is bad and will impact the functioning. With the election of a scapegoat, more e-mails are likely to surface. The US Attorneys’s belief that they were fired unjustly will outweigh any claims about what was in Monica Goodling’s heart.

In short, the Goodling testimony looks like a battle the Republicans are winning that will cost them the war. As Emptywheel says, Gonzales may have tried to coach testimony and Rove may have been paying remarkably close attention to developments at DoJ.  But more to the point, they have not explained in any believable manner how or by whom the firing list was drawn up. It has an entirely virgin birth.

If you recall the Family Circus, this is a case where Not Me did it.

In racketeering cases, the racketeers very often have reasonable-sounding explanations for their lawbreaking. They may even believe them. It takes painstaking grinding away to expose the lies: witness Enron, where only Skilling ultimately bore legal blame (Lay was convicted, but died while the case was under appeal and therefore retains a presumption of innocence). Without the e-mail record, I don’t know if we’ll ever be 100% certain of the truth.

GOP 1, USA -1.

2 Responses to “GOP 1, USA -1”

  1. babaloo said

    Did she keep up her end of the bargain to talk openly and truthfully about her actions and the actions she observed?
    Doesn’t seem like it.
    Is this another case of a Republican walking away from a hearing able to portray self as “untouched?” During the hearing Republicans were still saying that there is no evidence of wrong doing. Maybe we should have them sworn in to tell the truth, too.

  2. Charles said

    If we swore in the GOP Congressmen, would they tell the truth, Babaloo?

    My guess is that, like Goodling, they would not.

    These people are racketeers. Their business is criminal, so they adopt the habits of the criminal. That includes lying with total conviction.

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