Clearing out the cobwebs

The Democrats have the power. With a slim majority in the U. S. House of Representatives and the Senate, the Democratic party has the potential to affect a lot of changes in Washington if they work together. Though the left is screaming for a full pull-out of American troops from the quagmire in Iraq, the greatest positive change the Democrats can enact at this point is investigating, questioning and tackling every dubious decision the failing Bush administration has made over the past seven years.

This Wednesday the House of Representatives approved subpoenas for top White House aides, including President George W. Bush’s political advisor Karl Rove. The aides are being asked to speak under oath about the firing of eight federal prosecutors. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had said that the idea of firing all 93 of the prosecutors was bandied about before settling on an evaluation process which led to the dismissal of the weaker performers. Critics of the firings are arguing they were fired for political reasons, not for their alleged poor performance.

Bush is standing behind the firings, threatening to resort to a constitutional showdown to defend his aides, claiming that questioning the affair will “weaken the institution of the Presidency.” After the trial proceedings of former chief-of-staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby revealed some of the inner workings of the current administration, there is little question that something fishy went on. Libby’s trial revealed that after former U.S. ambassador to Niger Joseph Wilson questioned the administration’s claims Iraq had bought nuclear material from Niger in a 2003 New York Times article, U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney wanted to discredit Wilson’s criticisms of the administration. Fast forward a few months and Libby, one of Cheney’s closest advisors at the time, allegedly leaked to the media that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was an active CIA agent.

If nothing shady is going on in the federal prosecutors affair, then it would be in Bush’s best interest to co-operate. His determination to stop the subpoenas speaks volumes. So does the outcry from the turfed prosecutors. In a nation built on varying viewpoints, limiting prosecutors to an exclusive political stripe corrupts and skews the justice system. Having the scales tipped intentionally by the White House is terrible practice.

Exposing these questionable decisions, investigating them and then shining light on the shady administration is the greatest goal the Democratic majority can now accomplish in the remaining months of the Bush presidency. Even though the majority of the nation is against the Iraq war now, a full pull-out is a mistake that the Democrats can’t afford to commit. If the Democrats authorize a troop removal or a combat mission deadline, the horrible downfall of the state of Iraq into chaos and the tens of thousanads of Iraqi lives it could cost would likely be laid at the Democrats’ feet years down the road. Such a political cancer would be hard to remove.

With the 2008 presidential race ramping up in full force, Democratic success in the future lies on the nation being unable to trust the Republicans, and exposing their shady goings-on of the last seven years is the best way to do that.

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