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March 21, 2007

Subpoena Showdown

House panel okays subpoenas to Bush aids; Bush says previous offer of closed-door interviews is off the table.

Dean Barnett thinks this is what Bush wants, and needs.

The president understands that, political obsessives aside, no one really cares about this U.S. Attorney thing. Regardless of the reason for the firings, even if it was a low one like the president didn’t like who the terminees were or weren’t prosecuting, he was within his right to fire them. (Impeding a federal investigation is another matter, but even my rabid friends on the left haven’t accused him of that.) Just as my petulant cleaning lady who’s apparently allergic to dusting serves at my pleasure, they serve at his pleasure. Just like me, he may swing the axe any time he likes. In short, there’s no Constitutional crisis to see here – just move along.

But the president understands something about these Democrats who now sit on Capitol Hill. They were elected with a narrow agenda – Get Bush!!! And if you can’t get Bush, be damn sure to get Rove!

Partisan witch-hunts are to be the order of the day. The president also understands that the American public is predisposed to dislike Congress. What’s more, this Congress, once its true colors show, will be uniquely unpopular. Already, Gallup has Congress’ approval numbers sinking to the level the Republican Congress sat at before the November calamity.

SO WHY NOT PICK A FIGHT WITH CONGRESS? Drag the bloody affair out. Let the battle rage so long that it becomes apparent that the only thing this Congress cares about is partisan warfare. What’s best about this little plan is it involves a freak side show in which the performers are Karl Rove and Harriet Miers. It doesn’t involve matters of real consequence such as the war.

So how will it play out? I hate to say it, but Glenn Greenwald is right. The president’s invocation of executive privilege given this set of circumstances is weak. When the matter goes to court, the administration will likely lose. But big deal. The more protracted the affair is, the more apparent it will become that the Democrats’ entire agenda has been reduced to pursuing Karl Rove.

Glenn Greenwald's analysis is supported by other constitutional scholars such as Rick Ellensberg, Thomas Ellison, and "Wilson."

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posted by Ace at 02:39 PM

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