You could write a textbook on how to manufacture a scandal by watching the Democrats make hay over the forced resignations of a number of U.S. Attorneys.
The non-scandal unfolds this way. First, Democrats accuse Republicans of doing something Democrats have always done (only worse) and get their liberal allies in the media to cover it.
After a few days of bad headlines, there is no evidence of wrongdoing but certain weak-kneed Republicans get tired of being slammed and decide to go with the flow. That produces another round of stories that lend new credence to the non-scandal.
Often the story ends with the president making a pragmatic decision to apologize and remove an aide or cabinet member just so he can try to get the story off the front pages and get back to the business of governing.
Everyone knows US Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. They can be removed at any time. And while every US Attorney is required to neutrally enforce the law to the best of his or her ability, these are political appointments and are therefore subject to political concerns in any administration. US Attorneys work for the Attorney General and the Department of Justice, and the Attorney General has the constitutional authority to set prosecutorial priorities for all federal prosecutors.
You can argue that it was a mistake to remove the US Attorneys, including Arizona’s Paul Charlton. But that hardly makes this a scandal.
I was going to ignore this tempest in a teapot until I saw this story, in which Gov. Napolitano says this is “appalling” and a “new low” for the Justice Department.
Here’s the problem with Janet Napolitano criticizing political considerations entering into decisions about who serves as US Attorney — she owes her entire political career to exactly that process.
She was a left-wing trial lawyer in Phoenix until political connections led to her appointment as the chief federal prosecutor in Arizona — when she had zero experience as a prosecutor. In fact, she told New Times that when she was asked about the job she had no idea what the US Attorney did.
That’s a classic political appointment — putting someone into a position they do not deserve and have no qualifications for in order to set them up to run for future political office.
And that’s exactly what happened. Janet Napolitano used that political appointment to re-create herself as a tough prosecutor, and has relied on that image in every campaign since.