Bush steps in the deep doo-doo

Standing up for the rights of corrupt Congressmen isn’t going to do him any good with the voters.

I can’t believe that President Bush did himself any good with the public by intervening in the Jefferson affair. Standing up for the rights of an obviously crooked Congressman isn’t going to play well in Peoria, even allowing for the benefit to the Republicans of having public attention focused on a corrupt Democrat, and, just as a bonus, a corrupt black Democrat to whose cause other black Democrats, including the man who will be Chair of Ways and Means if we take back the Congress, are now rallying.

On the merits, Bush’s decision is scandalous. Whoever ought to be making this decision, it’s not the man who is both Chief of State and Chief of Party. It ought to have been delegated to an honest, professional, even-handed Attorney General. In the absence of such a figure, it ought to have been delegated to Gonzales.

That said, I’m still very worried about having the FBI conducting raids on Congressional offices. It’s clearly not a big-C Constitutional violation, but it’s potentially an important shift in the balance of political power, and thus a constitutional issue in the broader sense.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

8 thoughts on “Bush steps in the deep doo-doo”

  1. "In his statement, Bush said investigating and prosecuting crime is a crucial executive responsibility he takes seriously," says the penultimate paragraph of the story.
    Say what? He's the President (heaven help us), not the prosecuting attorney.

  2. Lord knows I'm deeply ambivalent about the FBI and Mark is right about the elbow in the ribs shot at Hastert (I'll admit to some ambivalence about that, too.)
    Still, I think the fact that the FBI got a warrant to search Jefferson's office makes a big difference. Judicial review is a treasured protection against unfettered investigative authority. I'd like some of that, too, please.

  3. I disagree with one point in the post. Jefferson is black, but this does not hurt the Democrats. Indeed, it is a mitigant.
    There is a term of art for voters who would consider Jefferson's blackness significant. "Racists." Black corruption is not significant to American racists. The racists view it as part and parcel of the inferiorities of the black race, not as a corruption of the Democratic Party. It is rare that Democrats benefit from American racism, but this is one of those times.

  4. So, the administration was wrong to seize the records, and it is wrong–no, "scandalous"–for them to set them aside to see if those who are claiming it was wrong to seize them have a valid point.
    No matter what, Mark will say they're wrong. Mark, you're not looking good in this.

  5. Mark will say they're wrong. Mark, you're not looking good in this.
    Posted by Thomas at May 25, 2006 09:05 PM
    No, Mark's just confused. The Democrats and Bush are in agreement, so Mark is reflexively bashing his own position because Bush is always wrong.
    Shorter Mark
    "I'm shocked, shocked that Bush would support the position taken by the Democrat party, the public will revolt."

  6. The Nixon Project is just about complete now. We've achieved the country that Ehrlichmann and Haldemann were aiming bor all those years ago.

  7. Let's kill this "upsetting the balance of powers thing" right now.
    They had a warrant. Warrant = Judicial Branch.
    If they didn't have a warrant, that would be an unsettling situation. When two branches of Gub both concur that there's enough reason to search, then by George that's why we have a "balance of powers" instead of "three powers that allow each other to get away with anything".

  8. Since there is a specific exemption for a judicially approved (warrant) felony investigation to the ban on Executive police action in the People's House, let's put this aside as an issue that involves the accused in this particular case. It's stipulated that this was a legal action, okay? Further defense seems to be aiding those who would distract from the "bigger picture". Pick one: timely withdrawal — as late as it sounds, impeachment, criminal prosecution, war crimes, treason, gross incompetence.
    Can we use this discussion, wherever it comes up, to focus immediately on the more serious crimes involving much more grisly evidence about crimes against the nation and humanity which George W. ("The Wuss Factor"), Bush the Disgraced II has committed? Not the least, his direct damage to the further execution of the (capital "C") Constitution under other executives.

Comments are closed.