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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 16, 2007 / 26 Adar, 5767

The latest non-scandal

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ho boy. Washington is all agog over the administration's decision to replace a bunch of U.S. attorneys — eight of them at last count. Therefore the rest of the country is supposed to be all agog over it, too.


Let's hope the usual partisans about to beat this non-scandal into the ground, and the media that dutifully repeat and amplify their accusations, will excuse some of us for not joining the pile-on.


Because it's not as if federal prosecutors held nonpolitical, Civil Service-protected positions. These are all political appointments, and any administration is entitled to un-appoint them. That privilege goes with a political party's winning a presidential election and, with it, getting to distribute the spoils of victory. Or in this case, re-distribute them when it takes a mind to.


This has been going on since the political parties hurling accusations at each other were Federalists and Jeffersonians instead of Democrats and Republicans, but the game is the same. And it will remain much the same after this "scandal" is replaced by the next one, and the sound and -fury begins anew.


Fair enough. The first duty of the opposition, after all, is to oppose.


Partisan criticism is one more check-and-balance in a system that's just crammed to overflowing with them. And it can be a good thing, as any member of the press should know. Every administration ought to be subject to intense scrutiny, even heckling.


But that scarcely means the public needs to take every catcall seriously, or pretend that every non-scandal is Teapot Dome. Much as the party in opposition at the time would like it to be.


If this administration's attorney general — Alberto Gonzales — made a mistake, and he did, it was in talking loosely about how he would never replace a U.S. attorney "for political reasons."


There may indeed have been good, credible nonpartisan reasons for dismissing any or all of these federal prosecutors. For what lawyer cannot find some reason to criticize another lawyer's work?


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Still, the attorney general would have been better off to just stick with the president's clear constitutional authority to appoint and dismiss federal prosecutors as he will, for they all serve at his pleasure. Instead, Alberto Gonzales talked about how above politics the process is. It isn't, it wasn't, and surely never will be.


For there would have been a down side to saying the obvious, which is that politics plays a role in political appointments. It's not done for politicians to admit that they play politics, and that includes handing out patronage.


As a rule pols don't like to be thought of as pols, especially if they are. So they avoid explicit references to their occupation, preferring euphemisms about being in public service, which of course they are. But like any other servants, they have their own interests to look after. And they do so, assiduously. That doesn't make them bad, just human.


By now former U.S. Attorneys even have their own association, sounding board and lobby, to wit, the National Association of Former U.S. Attorneys. Various of its members now have complained loudly about these eight U.S. attorneys having been dismissed like the political appointees they were.


Can these distinguished formers believe they were appointed for life, or at least the life of an administration? Have they confused their posts with that of almost untouchable federal judges? Their sense of entitlement annoys as much as it entertains. Somebody should have told these folks, in the immortal words of Mister Dooley, Finley Peter Dunne's sage Irish barkeep at the turn of another century, that politics ain't bean bag.


This whole overblown fuss in a long succession of them is not without its amusing aspects. These oh-so-indignant partisans are now shocked — shocked! — to discover that a handful of federal prosecutors are being let go for what looks like political reasons. Can anyone recall their having expressed the slightest outrage when a Democratic administration did much the same thing, only across the board, in order to make way for their own appointments?


In March of 1993, Bill Clinton's newly sworn-in attorney general — Janet Reno — fired every single U.S. attorney in the country, all 93 of them, in the opening salvo of the Clinton Years. That administration never hesitated to reward loyal FOBs — Friends of Bill, whether the jobs were in the justice system or the White House travel office.


The clean sweep of U.S. attorneys in '93 may have been the most comprehensive, unmistakable, unprecedented, and politically motivated dismissal of federal prosecutors in American history. For surely they couldn't all have been incompetent. At the time, Bill Clinton tried to make it seem unexceptional: "All those people are routinely replaced," he claimed, "and I have not done anything differently."


Really? But those other presidents were far more gradual about it. They did have some shame. Still, as president and chief executive, Mr. Clinton had every right to fire the federal prosecutors he had inherited, and appoint his own people.


Let this much be said of Bill Clinton's blanket decision to get rid of every sitting U.S. Attorney in the country: It showed a firm grasp of the unitary theory of the executive. All those people he was firing ultimately worked for him and, if he wanted to appoint different ones, that was entirely his prerogative.


But here's the punch line of the story:


More than a decade later, another Clinton — Hillary, at present the junior senator from New York — now has complained about this current president's "politicization of our prosecutorial system."


What a hoot.


In New York, they have a word for Senator Clinton's kind of oh-so-outraged accusation:


Chutzpah.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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