What is it about Republican Administrations and their almost pathological need to gather damning documentation on the opposition via criminal trespass? Now although I opened with a swipe at the Republicans I feel that both sides are covered in shit on this one. I just feel the Republicans are covered to a greater degree. For those of you unfamiliar with this (and since it is a little reported story in the media it would not come as a surprise to me) the general gist is this:

1) Memos were leaked to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Times in November 2003 detailing the Democrats research into judicial nominees and plans to derail certain nominations, pretty much due strictly to partisan philosophy. Oh, and here is my favorite quote from the article:

Is it a bit ironic that the same Republicans now arguing that the details of Vice President Cheney’s energy task force be kept private, in order to avoid chilling zealous policy discussions, are advocating the use of improperly obtained policy discussions to persecute Democrats?

Hoisted by their own petard!

2) How did the Republicans get a hold of the memos? Well, according to said staffers all they did was click on a My Network Places icon on a shared server and there the memos were. That they did this for the last two years and purloined some 5000 documents makes it sound a little less like an accidental discovery.

3) In what has become an increasingly rare move BOTH parties decried this electronic pilferage as reprehensible. Because of this bi partisan display of outrage several Republicans have been subjected to a backlash from their party, apparently the cardinal sin they committed was admitting they were wrong.

4) Of the two staffers identified in this scandal Manuel Miranda has since resigned as legal counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. In defense of his actions Miranda said “I had an obligation to learn everything possible I could learn to defend my clients.” The old ends justifies the means defense.

5) In a bizarre twist (R) Senator Orrin Hatch, one of the most vociferous attack dogs the right has is himself being attacked by ultra conservative activists that think he is too soft and wilting in the face of the “enemy”. If there are nastier, meaner, more partisan conservatives than Orrin Hatch, I do not want to know.

The real issue for my money is the radical split on partisan lines that is crippling government, not just now but at least since Regan was king. The losers in these fights are the citizens those asshats are SUPPOSED to be working for. If Bush would actually try appointing a judicial nominee that was somewhat centrist and the Democrats would confirm someone a little less left than Woody Harrelson maybe such trench warfare could be averted. I personally feel that the perfect Judicial nominee should have NO strong leanings one way or the other when it comes to politics or religion, the tooth and nail fights break out when hardcore ideologues begin interpreting laws to the benefit of one particular political party and/or religious community.

In this case I feel that what the Democrats did was pretty much what we expect that ALL politicians do and maybe it is time that we demand them held to a higher standard. The Republicans took what they knew they had no right to take then leaked it in an effort to embarrass the Democrats, again no big surprise, but of the two I feel the Republicans have committed the greater transgression and while it might not technically be theft (if we have been told the truth) it was incredibly dishonest and deceitful.

2 thoughts on “Memo-Gate

  1. As far as I know, the Democrats are using just the same filibuster-procedure to stop Bush judges from being appointed as the Republicans did during Clinton days. But look who’s crying foul now?


  2. Actually the Republican’s aren’t using the same procedure, when you are in the majority a filibuster isn’t necessary. The Democrats were using the same methods as the Republicans until they lost the majority in the Senate after the 2002 election.

    I am less willing to say the Republicans were worse in this case. If you think the accessing of the memos was wrong, well both sides did that (the network access was a two way street). The only difference was the Democrats didn’t leak anything to the press, but I am not sure whether that was due to honesty, or they just didn’t find anything as juicy as the Republicans found.

    Both sides have shit on their hands, and they both need to be exposed for what they did.

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