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The Stupid Party

Posted by Richard on April 27, 2007

The Washington Post reported the other day that an aide to Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) called U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton's office just six weeks before Alberto Gonzales terminated Charlton. The aide was seeking information about a federal investigation into a land deal involving the congressman's former business partner, and in accordance with Justice Dept. rules, Charlton notified his superiors of the potentially improper contact from Renzi's office. Captain Ed took a dim view of yet another Gonzales misstep (emphasis added):

First, we should point out that Charlton's removal did not end the investigation. The FBI raided Renzi's home last week, and Renzi stepped down from his committee assignments as a result. If he corrupted his office and sold out his constituents, it does not appear that Charlton's termination has kept that from coming to light.

That being said, this makes the entire process of terminations look even more suspect. At the least, it shows political stupidity on a scale so grand as to be almost unbelievable. Who in their right mind would fire a federal prosecutor who just had improper contact from the Congressman he's investigating — especially in the days after a Democratic takeover of Congress? That call should have alerted anyone with any sort of political antennae that firing Charlton would set off all sorts of red flags if that call came to light.

The Stupid Party has certainly been living up to that disparaging appellation lately, and Alberto Gonzales has worked harder than almost anyone to ensure that it does so. If I were inclined toward conspiracy theories, I'd be very suspicious of people like Gonzales. Could the GOP have been infiltrated with sleeper agents who, like the Manchurian Candidate, can be activated at opportune times to do great harm to the party with their apparent cluelessness, corruption, or ineptitude?

Of course not, I remind myself. Remember Occam's Razor. The facts can be adequately explained by stupidity alone. But, hey, it might make a pretty good novel and movie!  

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