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Don’t Look at the Man Behind that Curtain!


As the march to justice in the Siegelman matter continues, the prosecutors in Montgomery aren’t the only ones suffering from acute anxiety attacks, it seems. Indeed, on the editorial board of the Mobile Press-Register the sweat is already beginning to roll from the brow.
And so the Press-Register emits this morning yet another mighty wail. “Don’t look at the man behind that curtain!” it shouts.

Evidently, the Press-Register is the only paper in the country that considers Alberto Gonzales, the man who perjured himself repeatedly in Congressional testimony, to be a martyr to the sacred Banana Republican cause. They busily lament his passing. And they’re angry that inquiries into the political corruption at the Justice Department won’t stop there. (They haven’t stopped, of course, since almost all of the leadership of the Justice Department has already resigned under a cloud . . . not that this would merit a glance from the esteemed journal which is racing to be the closest thing in print to Fox News.) They complain that there was nothing wrong with firing a bunch of U.S. attorneys—that was the president’s right. Of course, if they were fired in order to direct political prosecutions—as the mounting evidence suggests is the case—that would be a crime. But not in the Banana Republic world of the Mobile Press-Register, where the prosecution of Democrats because they are Democrats is always the right thing.

Indeed, look at their one criticism of Gonzales:

Alberto Gonzales is a decent man who performed capably in the war against terrorism. He defended the president’s constitutional prerogatives as commander in chief, but he made a serious mistake in not forcefully insisting that Congress had no business interfering with the president’s authority to appoint U.S. attorneys.

That’s right. The problem with Fredo is that he didn’t lie and stonewall enough!

But quickly we come to the real focus of the Press-Register’s grief: it’s one particular case.

Career federal prosecutors pressed the case against Mr. Siegelman, and an Alabama jury found him guilty of corruption charges. But congressional inquisitors aren’t satisfied with the verdict because they think they see the mysterious hand of the much-despised (by Democrats) Mr. Rove.

That’s right, the Press-Register is quaking in its boots (and I’m sure they’re alligator boots, just like Governor Riley’s) over the coming Congressional investigation of the Siegelman case. Why might that be? It’s defending itself as usual with lies. It would have us believe that career prosecutors pressed the case. In fact, as we know, it was William Pryor, Troy King, Mrs. William Canary, and very senior figures in Washington—the same ones who are now under a cloud of suspicion of politicizing the prosecutorial process—who pursued it. Maybe the Press-Register editors need to renew their subscriptions to Lagniappe, where they can read all about Troy King and his well established penchant for political prosecutions. Or perhaps they can pick up some back issues of The Atlantic and read all about Bill Canary’s long in-the-trenches association with Karl Rove.

And as for the ”mysterious unseen hand” of Karl Rove, it wouldn’t be “unseen” if the mighty Press Register would just open its eyes. The evidence abounds.

Consider this, for example: On November 2, 2003, Karl Rove accompanied President Bush to Birmingham, where the president gave a speech, scripted by Rove, at a G.O.P. campaign fundraiser. In his speech, Bush talked about the corporate corruption scandal and promised action on it. And the next day, Richard Scrushy was arrested and charged in the HealthSouth corruption inquiry. Coincidence? As President Roosevelt said, there are no coincidences in politics. Karl Rove knew exactly what the U.S. Attorney’s office was doing and he had the timing of the arrest jiggled to get maximum effect for a presidential speech. Again, nothing “mysterious” about it. You just need to look. Karl Rove was managing a prosecution. Indeed, a prosecution which was ultimately very close to the Siegelman case.

But the Press-Register isn’t inobservant. It’s a full-fledged participant in a cover-up. This is a mighty strange newspaper. I’m prepared to venture a prediction: we’ll read all about those strange machinations of Siegelman and Scrushy which gave Mr. Feaga such a fit yesterday, and it will be an exclusive in the pages of the Press-Register, Leura Canary’s newspaper of record.

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