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.