Thursday, March 29, 2007

conservative governance theory 101

Every Thursday morning I have a blast because I get to chat politics [and law] with a liberal, two conservatives, a moderate democrat, and an independent. It's my Election Law class, and as you have noticed, that means there are 5 people in the class other than myself (yes including the professor).

And my very conservative friend and I always enjoy sparring, this time over the Purge scandal. He seems to be of the Kyle Sampson school of thought: "Sure we did it for purely political reasons, but that's the president's prerogative." My friend claimed that USA's serve, like every other appointee, at the [pure] pleasure of the President and can be terminated for whatever reason. He then added that Clinton fired all 93 USA's in 1993 to get of the one investigating Maj. Leader Dan Rostinkowski (D-IL).

If true, shame on Bill Clinton. Rostinkowski was a man who had become wholly corrupted to the core (I read a book about him in an undergraduate class). Even if true, this was on USA targeted and firing all 93. Here we had 8 targeted mid-term to get rid of 8 meddlesome USA's who failed to mount flimsy cases as Democrats (or failed to indict Democrats quickly enough) or more importantly were investigating corrupt Republicans. Moreover, 7 of the 8 were in swing states for the 2008 race, states were a corruption charge against a Democrat could hurt the top of the ticket.

The 8th? Carol Lam, who nabbed Duke Cunningham and was sniffing up another corrupt California congressmen who were also entwined in Cunningham's scandals: House Appropriations Chair Jerry Lewis, a much, much bigger fish than Duke.

My point is this. The reason this scandal is a scandal and is important is not that DOJ lied to Congress repeatedly, although that doesn't help. The reason you should care is that the wheels of government were being used to help ensure Republican victories and continued control of Legislative and Executive Branches. This gaming of the system is not only bad for democracy, it is criminal. This is what Nixon and his crew were trying to do.

My friend's response might be, "Bill Clinton did it" or "this is a partisan which hunt" or "you guys would do the same if you were in charge." Let me say right now that if Democrats did that, I would not support those Democrats and I would be joining Republicans in calling for their resignation, indictment, or impeachment. Secondly, that is not how Democrats operate.

Government to Democrats is a tool for good: more people get jobs, health insurance, good education, grow the economy, etc. To conservatives, government can never do good it can only mess things up that a free market would better solve. So what to do when in power of said government? Either a) destroy it from within by eliminating agencies via defunding or disempowering or disbembering or b) use it as a tool for patronage and political growth. If your appointees are incompetent, who cares? You wanted to prove that government was worthless right? Now it is. If your appointees are bad at their jobs but good at hurting Democrats/helping Republicans great, keep them in as long as possible.

I am not saying all liberals/Democrats are pure and true while all conservatives/Republicans are evil and corrupt, but that this is where the theory leads you to. If you believe government is only good to keep kids from having sex, but not good for lifting people out of poverty, then you elect and support a George W. Bush. If you believe that government is only good for helping people out when the private sector has failed, but is terrible at regulating morality, you elect and support a Bill Clinton.

And right about now, I think I know who the public would chose if they could do it all over again.

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