Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Why the “U.S. Attorneys Eight”?

Unfortunately, President Bush’s news conference yesterday failed to answer the absolute key question for the public: Why did he fire the eight U.S. attorneys?

If you read the transcript, he talked about “new leadership.” He also said, “Neither the Attorney General, nor I approve of how these explanations were handled. We’re determined to correct the problem.”

But people watching Mr. Bush will still be wondering what his explanation is.

Of course, the President has the political and constitutional authority to hire and fire these prosecutors. But why were these eight dumped? Why not the other eighty-five?

It seems to me if you use a press conference event to go over the heads of the mainstream media, and broadcast to the American public, you have to deliver a clear rationale for your actions.

Regrettably, I don’t think Mr. Bush did this.

And that’s one reason why he’s going to stay in hot water on the Hill, and probably remain in that hot water with the electorate.

Here’s my humble suggestion: Mr. Gonzales ought to be replaced by an eminent law school dean or college president—someone with enormous credibility and respect.

What comes to mind is President Gerald Ford’s decision to appoint University of Chicago president and former law school dean Edward Levi in the post-Watergate pardon period. Levi restored credibility for the Justice Department.

Just a thought.