Saturday, June 30, 2007

Shocking, I know . . .

The U.S. Attorneys scandal has been on slow simmer for a long time. For people, who care in an idealistic way about the quality of governance, and paying attention, it was always a big deal, an alarming pattern of political expedience gone over the edge.

But, as a political scandal, it has suffered from being, mostly, bad television -- an abstract, circumstantial pattern -- almost all smoke, and very little unmistakeable fire.

You'd have to believe that the Attorney General of the U.S. is in some advanced stage of mad cow disease to wholly credit the Administration denials. But, never mind, a large part of the Republican Party and the Media elite are more than willing to go along.

But, there is some fire, and the world may notice. First, it was a case in Wisconsin, where a low-level State employee was convicted of corruption and jailed in an attempt to create an appearance of scandal around a Democratic governor running for re-election. Now, there's a case in Alabama, of a former Democratic Governor being convicted of corruption, which stinks.

Questions About a Governor’s Fall - New York Times: "It is extremely disturbing that Don Siegelman, the former governor of Alabama, was hauled off to jail this week. There is reason to believe his prosecution may have been a political hit, intended to take out the state’s most prominent Democrat"

The great thing about this case is not that it is as unambiguous an injustice as the Wisconsin case, though it may be sufficiently unambiguous that the injustice can be recognized. It is that there are some almost lurid details, which will make good television, and which give the Democrats the political leverage necessary to overcome Bush attempts to stonewall with claims of executive privilege. It is not perfect as a Media vehicle for scandal -- as far as I know there are no dead blondes involved -- but it has its some details that may help the narrative interest a wider public.

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