Thursday, March 04, 2004

Republican philosophy stripped bare

The Republican party can no longer credibly cling to the fiscal conservative label-- Dubya's rapid dismissal of "what should we do with the surplus?" argument has proven that Reagan and Bush I's astronomical deficits were not merely anomalies or the result of a Democratic Congress. Any thinking Libertarian no longer can feel at home in Bushco's party, and any other genuine anti-Big Government type must have considered slitting his wrists by now. What's left to the conventional Republican mythology? Apparently not that "law and order" thing.

GOP Aides Blamed for Leaking Documents
Report: Thousands of Files Were Accessed

The report released yesterday by Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William H. Pickle noted that two former Senate GOP staff members -- including the Republicans' top aide on judicial nomination strategy -- were primarily responsible for accessing and leaking computer memos on Democratic plans for blocking some of President Bush's judicial nominations.

Pickle made no recommendations about whether to pursue criminal prosecutions in the case, but he cited several federal laws that might be considered, including statutes involving false statements and receipt of stolen property.

Pickle and his investigators said forensics analyses indicated that 4,670 files had been downloaded between November 2001 and spring 2003 by one of the aides -- "the majority of which appeared to be from folders belonging to Democratic staff" on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said at least 100 of his computer files were also accessed by the GOP aides.

The report identified the two former staffers as Jason Lundell, a nominations clerk who originally accessed the files, and Manuel Miranda, a more senior staff member and later the top aide to Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) on judicial nominations. Miranda, the report said, advised Lundell and was said by other aides to have been implicated in leaking the documents to friendly journalists or other parties outside the Senate. Miranda had previously denied leaking the materials....

Some Republicans on the committee -- and many conservative groups on the outside -- said the Senate should have probed the contents of the memos, which they contended demonstrated the collusion between Democrats and liberal advocacy groups, rather than how the memos ended up in Republican hands.

Okay, what are we left with? Pro-death penalty, anti-gay, pro-unnecessary war, disrespectful of veterans, ruining the environment, saddling the next generation with debt to pay off wealthy contributors and frat brothers, and a policy making process that is shrouded in secrecy. If the Terry McAuliffe can't beat that collection of positions, I'd like a shot.

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