Thursday, October 13, 2005

Scandal or Alleged Smear Campaign?

A letter to the editor in the Collegiate Times today called upon the Republican voters to hold their parties responsible for their corrupt behavior, citing three "scandals." One was, as the Democrats call it, "Plamegate," the exposure of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame by White House staff, culminating in a federal investigation and the subsequent jailing of Judith Miller for refusing to testify. The second is Tom DeLay's indictments, accusing him and two others of fraud by laundering campaign contributions from corporations. The third is Bill Frist's supposed insider trading, the same crime that landed Martha Stewart in prison. Only one, the DeLay incident, has resulted in indictments, though the Democrats are clamoring for all three to be brought to justice. The writer mentions one scandal on the Democrat side, the Steele credit report. The writer claims that the Democrats complied voluntarily and enthusiastically, firing the staff member guilty. Whether this is true or not I personally cannot say, so I decided to look online for recent Democratic scandals (Bush era). I can only assume that a Republican will fire back, trying to find these. I want to see just how valid the response would be.

The first several searches I did took me eventually to the Center For Individual Freedom, where I found the story of a scandal called "Memogate." I have to say that I am personally biased against the CFIF, if only because it is a reactionary group steadfastly opposing the ACLU. They actually support many blanket proposals that would limit personal freedoms, namely those proposed by the "moral majority," which demonstrates they wish to disguise partisan support with a friendly non-partisan name. Regardless, I read the article, and here is my interpretation:
1) FOX News, as well as a handful of columnists, reported that allegedly there were memos distributed between Senate Democrats that conspired to filibuster nominees based on political reasons.
2) The CFIF calls on the Department of Justice for a full investigation into the Democrats refusal to produce the alleged memos as well as the reported "puzzling and disheartening acquiescence of Senate Republicans."
3) The memos refer to several liberal interest groups who have a case present or upcoming in the districts where judges are up for nomination.
4) The memos state that Democrats discussed the possibility of moving circuit judges' confirmation hearings to later dates, hoping that critical cases (the U Mich affirmative action case is one named) will be in favor of the Democrat-supported interest groups.
5) The senators named are the more extreme liberals in the Senate: Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, John Edwards, etc.

As an immediate counter, though, the next search I did led me to yet another Republican scandal. Apparently, in order to get their hands on these memos, Republicans infiltrated the file systems of a Democrat's computer. The Boston Globe said it best:
From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics.
The suspicion was aroused when several top secret memos were printed in conservative columns, notably Robert Novak's (he was also involved with the Plamegate scandal mentioned above).

To me, this "scandal" is mere partisan conflict, and the Republicans actually committed more of an ethical lapse just to raise suspicion about the Democrats' actions. Of course the Democrats are going to discuss blocking judges... the Republicans did the same when Clinton was in office. Also, interest groups have every right to lobby their politicians for a certain judge; in fact, the right-to-lifers are perhaps the most vocal of all interest groups, and they most certainly are not liberal.

After a half hour of searching, I could find no other recent scandal to post. My opinion is this: I don't like the Democratic party right now. They are way too dependent on partisan hackery. Unlike the Republican party, however, they owned up to the one scandal that involved a crime, refusing to even give credibility to the other, non-publicized "scandal." Republicans completely blame partisan media bias and investigators for their woes. Just listen to Tom DeLay's or Bill Frist's next statement to see how they treat the investigations.

Update:: I was too harsh on Frist. His allies are the ones who are attacking the investigators. Frist believes there was legitimate doubt and is cooperating fully with the investigation without complaint. He has every right to contest that he is innocent.


Anonymous halobagger said...

CIA Acquires New US Clandestine Leadership Role
Published: October 13, 2005
Filed at 12:09 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA will lead a new clandestine service designed to coordinate all traditional U.S. spying activities overseas, including those of the FBI and Pentagon, top intelligence officials said on Thursday.

As part of an ambitious strategy to rebuild U.S. human intelligence after debilitating lapses over Iraq and the September 11, 2001, attacks, the new National Clandestine Service, or NCS, will operate out of the spy agency under a director reporting to CIA Director Porter Goss.

After the White House blew an enormous and successful operation out of the water...
They will all be spying on each other.
Valerie | 10.13.05 - 1:57 pm | #

3:56 PM, October 13, 2005  

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