First Digby -
How over-the-top must this have been for staunch Republican John Ashcroft to have risen from his ICU bed to argue against it and the entire top echelon of the DOJ were preparing to resign? These are not ordinary times and the law enforcement community has not been particularly squeamish about stretching the Bill of Rights. None of those people are bleeding heart liberals or candidates for the presidency of the ACLU. For them to be this adamant, it must have been something completely beyond the pale.
My suspicion has always been that there was some part of this program --- or an entirely different program --- that included spying on political opponents. Even spying on peace marchers and Greenpeace types wouldn't seem to me to be of such a substantial departure from the agreed upon post 9/11 framework that it would cause such a reaction from the top brass, nor would it be so important to the president that he would send Gonzales and Card into the ICU to get Ashcroft to sign off on it while he was high on drugs.
Then Marshall -
If you look over the broad scattering of documents thus far released on the Attorney Purge, there's at least an argument to be made that it unfolds something like this. Someone gets the bright idea, very early in 2005 to can all of the US Attorneys or a lot of them. But for one reason or another the idea gets rejected or just dies a slow bureaucratic death. However it happens, by the end of 2005 the idea's basically moribund.
But then in early 2006 some problems come up -- a rising wave of Republican corruption scandals and declining Republican political fortunes. And the US Attorney Purge idea gets revived -- but now with a much more specific focus, with an eye toward the 2006 and 2008 elections. Certain US Attorneys become more of a problem with expanding corruption investigations.
If I'm sure of anything with regards to what the founders intended for this country it's this: the power of the federal government should never be engaged in partisan political activities. The modern Republican party as embodied by the Bush administration seems to care less about this truism.
This is just one of the examples why I consider the Republican/ Democratic party are equivalent argument absurd. The Democrat party has a hell of a lot of problems. But nothing they could do could compare to the sheer un-American evil we've seen out of Bush and his crew in congress this past six years.