Kevin Drum summarized the White House’s principal political problem with the purge scandal extremely well today.
They’ve now had nearly two months to come up with a simple, clear, understandable explanation for why they chose those eight to fire but not the others. So what is it? And why has it taken such an interminable amount of internal chaos to come up with something?
People aren’t stupid. If there were a simple, innocent explanation we would have heard it in January. The fact that the president of the United States held a press conference eight weeks after this issue first hit the media and still didn’t have a plausible story to tell suggests pretty strongly that there is no plausible story to tell.
It’s an important point about this scandal, which is probably helping drive the media’s interest. The White House, and its vaunted communications office, has had eight weeks to come up with a plausible explanation. What have we heard? The Bush gang said a purge like this is normal and routine. It wasn’t. They said Clinton did the same thing. He didn’t. They said the U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, which is true, but doesn’t offer any substantive explanation why these specific U.S. Attorneys had to go.
They couldn’t decide whether (and which) prosecutors were actually bad at their jobs. They can’t explain why Justice Department officials lied to Congress. They can’t explain why White House officials can’t testify under oath. They can’t explain what role the president had in the firings. They can’t explain what role the Attorney General had in the firings. They can’t explain the meaning of the phrase “loyal Bushies.” They can’t explain the 18-day document gap. They can’t explain why they can’t explain.
As Kevin said, if there was a reasonable explanation for this, we would have heard it by now. The fact that we haven’t says a great deal.