Showdown in the Capitol

Yesterday I was stuck in Cincinnati between flights. While waiting I was afforded the opportunity to watch George Bush’s press conference on the current federal prosecutor scandal that currently has the attention of the Senate. It was quite a showing. I still get a kick out of him attempting to grasp English, but not the point I am planning to make.

Ever since George Bush became President, he has been less than forthcoming regarding the inner workings of the White House. Whether it be Halliburton, the Valerie Plame incident, the lead up to the Iraq War and the search for WMD, or the current situation – George Bush and his gang of cronies operate like the mob. They say nothing, and if caught, smile and still say nothing. No, this President won’t rat on his rats, err, I mean people. Never mind that one of the people he should be ratting on right now, is the nation’s chief law enforcement official, the person charged with creating a law and order atmosphere.

Whether or not Alberto Gonzalez conspired with Bush and Karl Rove to fire eight prosecutors that dared investigate corruption in the government is not wholly the issue. The President said yesterday that these men and women serve at the will of the President. What he doesn’t seem to realize is that they are also charged with investigating crimes – even if the criminals are their bosses. By firing these lawyers for doing this, and then trashing their reputations by saying they were fired for performance issues (one has rightly asked for a public apology), the President has made an example of what happens to those that dare cross him. How does this serve justice?

So now the President has been caught. Months after his Republicans were handed a devistating loss in a midterm election, at a point where you would think he would bend over backwards to show that the goings on in the White House are all above board, he tells the country that his staff will not be allowed to testify under oath and in public. He’s worried about what precedent this would set for the Executive Branch. Well I am worried about the precedent that his entire presidency sets.

All that Congress should be looking for is illegal activity. If all the dealings were above board, why should there be any issue? Does he realize that by essentially “pleading the fifth” he is making his staff seem even more guilty and increases the likelihood of a spectical? No body is looking for state secrets, just the truth, and I think the American public deserves to see and hear it.

It’s been a long time since I’ve expected the President to act Presidential and that’s a shame. We should expect that our President would hold his staff to a higher standard but instead it seems that we are being governed by the legal equivalent of La Cosa Nostra.

Such a sad spectacle to see a sitting President essentially plead the fifth.