WFB on the USAs

Via PoliBlog comes this very interesting column by the godfather of American conservatism, William F. Buckley.

It is obvious that there are Democrats in Congress who want an opportunity to forage for crimes in the matter of the discharged U.S. attorneys. Nobody has come up with a description of exactly what crime might have been committed and should be investigated. What is being conjectured is that an industrious investigating committee armed with subpoena powers could come up with malfeasance of some kind.

On the other hand, the investigative function of the legislative branch is of plenary importance, and should not be aborted by hypothetical immunities of the chief executive. Woodrow Wilson wrote in his classic book "Congressional Government" that Congress' investigative power was more important, even, than its legislative power...

Of one thing Mr. Bush is manifestly guilty. It is the criminal (in the metaphorical sense) mismanagement of the whole business of the U.S. attorneys. The fault is not personal; it was probably the attorney general and other advisers of the president who took so many clumsy steps. But Mr. Bush's stress on his rights invites a coordinate stress on his responsibilities. "These attorneys," he said, "serve at my pleasure." Right. But presidential pleasures have to rest on defensible grounds.

Mr. Buckley chooses his words with great caution and is well aware of how much weight they carry. The President and his staff would be well advised to read carefully. The message is this: Slow down, Mr. President, or you're on your own. Don't expect the Right to rally around you like the Left did for your predecessor.

Meanwhile here is another warning from someone who has been around a long time. Both offer good advice. Will Bush take it? I'm not holding my breath.

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