Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Don't Believe the Hype

Josh Marshall and his Talking Points Memo empire have been tracking the Purged Prosecutor story with rabid fervor (as per usual), and Josh has a good reminder about the meme that's been floated by Republican operatives (and picked up by TV news journos) saying that Clinton replaced the whole lot of US attorneys after he was elected. Here's Josh:
And Clinton? Every new president appoints new US Attorneys. That always happens. Always. In early 1993, since the Republicans had held the White House for 12 years a few US Attorneys signalled that they might not be tendering their resignations and the new Clinton Justice Department asked for and received the resignations of all 93 US Attorneys. Eager to whip up scandal, Republicans at the time tried to make this into something untoward. Claiming this is a big deal is like grandstanding with the claim that President Bush 'fired' Clinton's cabinet secretaries when he came into office in 2001. At worst, it's the difference between giving them all several weeks to resign and just asking for their resignations on day one.

The whole thing is silly. But a lot of reporters on the news are already falling for it. The issue here is why these US Attorneys were fired -- a) because they weren't pursuing a GOP agenda of indicting Democrats, that's a miscarriage of justice, and b) because they lied to Congress about why it happened.
Josh also gets to the heart of why these prosecutors may have been purged in the first place:
The story emerging is that at least some of these US Attorneys were fired because they weren't aggressive enough in investigating Democratic 'voter fraud'. Like I said last night, I've been reporting on this stuff for years. And this is a horse that shouldn't even be let out of the gate. It's become standard operating procedure for Republican operatives to whip up charges of 'voter fraud'. And some of them even believe it. But the claims are almost universally bogus. And the real intent in most cases is to stymie get out the vote efforts or shut down voter registration drives -- mainly, though not exclusively, in minority voting precincts. Here you can see a list of TPM posts from the 2002 and 2004 cycles on bogus 'voter fraud' stories, mainly from South Dakota. These are made up stories, the main aim of which is to keep real voters from getting to vote. There's no mystery why McKay and Iglesias wouldn't bite: the stories were bogus hash-ups from Republican political operatives and as McKay said this morning, he wasn't going to "drag innocent people in front of a grand jury."


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