Why Janet Napolitano Is Right For Attorney General

The election is nigh 24 hours in the bank, and the rumor wires and scuttlebutt are exploding with discussion of the makeup of President-elect Barack Obama’s cabinet and staff to be. Attorney General is a critical post in any administration; but perhaps at no time in the history of the United States as important as at this moment.

The thankless task of recreating the once shining star that was the Department of Justice will take a special skill set from the person chosen to be the next AG. DOJ Main is a festering mess; stocked with Cheney/Bush political lackeys and consiglieri, unqualified and inexperienced Regent plants, and literal criminals that have aided and abetted the evisceration of our Constitution and commission of torture and other war crimes.

A department of expediency over honesty and integrity was grown by the Bushies. From DOJ Main down through the line level career prosecutors in the various District US Attorney Offices, credibility and trust have been felled. The once shining continuity of impartiality, justice and rule of law is in dysfunctional chaos.

Janet Napolitano is the right person, the best qualified and most suited, by far, to meet the daunting challenge ahead at Attorney General.

Napolitano is well versed and experienced with constitutional law and civil rights, having been mentored as the hand picked protege of one of the country’s great Constitutional scholars and authorities, John P. Frank, one of the two legal fathers of the Miranda decision. She has sizable long term experience not only as the Arizona Attorney General (a huge office), but also as chief executive of an entire state government as Arizona Governor. Of critical significance, she was the US Attorney for the District of Arizona for six years under President Clinton, prior to her terms in state office as Arizona’s AG and Governor.

The job ahead is going to, in addition to the legal skills, require someone with Federal experience and the established ability to manage a giant bureaucracy. Janet Napolitano has a very rare combination of background and experience to fit that bill. The attention to bureaucratic detail, not just in Washington DC, but in all of the 93 US Attorney district offices is going to have to be immense. Wholesale institutional change needs to be implemented, and malefactors rooted out.

Janet Napolitano has this ability in droves over any other candidate discussed for AG. She is spectacularly good at bureaucratic detail and getting big entities working as an efficient team. Janet has an incredibly feel good aura around her, and it is contagious to those working with and for her. She is a master team builder, both in terms of efficiency and competence as well as morale and attitude. Janet has already exhibited her turnaround skills in her transformation of the Arizona Executive branch, which was in shambles when she took over. These are exactly the skills that will demanded from the new AG.

As Sara commented:

Whoever takes the AG’s job will be faced quickly with dealing with a host of major fraud cases stemming from the economic melt-down. Congress itself will certainly be doing the hearings and pointing to potential targets. We’ve got one that is just emerging now in Minnesota — Hedge Fund Operator charged with Three Billion in Fraud, taking down a whole group of industries, including Sun Country Airlines which was forced into bankruptcy. Apparently cases like this are scattered everywhere. And yes, they will be handled by the USA for the most part, but many of these are international cases and Main Justice will have to engage. My own sense of what will return DoJ to health is a new focus on cases where large segments of the public have been harmed — properly preparing and winning some of these, and then with a new slate of personnel evolving a better culture. What’s hurt them has been fake cases — emphasis on voter fraud (which hardly exists) over emphasis on slightly potential over hyped terrorism cases, not having bright lines regarding politics and the policy of DoJ, and all those light weights from Regents University. I think Obama will be very sensitive to significant improvements at DoJ.

Janet Napolitano has tackled massive business fraud cases as Arizona AG, including the Arizona Baptist Foundation case, at the time one of the largest mass fraud cases in US history, which she personally shepherded through initial investigation and criminal prosecution. Napolitano has the guile, skill and determination to take on any entity and see that justice is administered, something to keep in mind in light of the economic collapse caused by financial and energy concerns.

Terrorism experience? Janet Napolitano has that in spades too. Janet, as US Attorney for the District of Arizona, was one of the leaders on the Oklahoma City Bombing Case, and shepherded the case against Michael Fortier, who was not only convicted, but was turned and made the critical witness against Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. Napolitano is so strong in terrorism/security that she is also being considered for head of the Department of Homeland Security.

If there is a nationwide functioning nerve center of any Presidential administration, it is the justice system and Department of Justice, if for no other reason than the fact that the FBI and US Attorneys are everywhere, in every jurisdiction across the United States. Trust, competence, morale and efficiency must be restored in the heart of the nation’s justice system.

These institutions have historically propagated and renewed themselves from within, with each generation training and mentoring the next generation. That has been blown up under George Bush and his lackeys Ashcroft, Gonzales and Mukasey. There is now effectively a two generation gap missing and/or devoid of competence in the career ranks at DOJ. The good people, that were there before, either left in disgust or were marginalized out of relevance, and the successor generations are incompetents and Regent Law type plants. The very substrate we will need to turn around the Department of Justice is missing from it.

If it was a normal situation, a normal Presidential turnover, the situation would not be so critical. But things at DOJ are not normal. Just having someone that is good on the issues, or thinks like we do, or that we admire, is not nearly enough right now. It is going to take both that and the ability to institute it top to bottom in a huge bureaucracy, as well as the people skills to quietly inspire their subordinates to get it done. Just a popular name or a vision isn’t going to cut it; the complete package is required.

The other names that have been bandied about – Eric Holder, Sheldon Whitehouse, Artur Davis, Pat Fitzgerald, and others – all have either legal acumen or leadership acumen in differing amounts; but none have the vast amounts of both that Janet Napolitano does. Then you have to figure in her inherent ability to make people around her feel positive and motivated, even in dire circumstances.

Janet Napolitano is the complete package. President Obama, make her your Attorney General. It will be one of the smartest decisions you ever make.

136 replies
  1. rosalind says:

    what is the procedure for replacing her as governor should obama recognize the rightness of this choice?

    • bmaz says:

      Well, that is the bad news. The Arizona Secretary of State, Jan Brewer, a total, and I mean total, right wing kook would complete the last two years of Janet’s term. On the bright side, Arizona government is pretty hamstrung by finance problems (all the states are, but we have been hit really hard because real estate and construction is a huge part of the economy) so she probably can’t do much damage, and she is unlikely to get elected in 2010.

      As much as it hurts us here though, I feel the need is so dire, and the fit so perfect, at Attorney General that we must let her go.

      • looseheadprop says:

        You left Comey off your list.

        I think losing the gov’s seat may be too big of a poison pill for the dem’s so swallow.

        It may be why she is featured so prominently in the transition team. to give her some props b/c they don’t want to take her out of the Gov’s seat

        • Leen says:

          Watching Comey during his AG Scandal sure sold me. His description of the hospital thuggery was so revealing.

        • katymine says:

          Thank you thank you so much…..

          Janet is our firewall from the flood of wingnut legislation and budget that our Legislature can put out……

          • bmaz says:

            Yes, we should absolutely put a man who helped give cover for the Bush/Cheney torture regime and who to this date soft sells and writes revisionist excusing history about the abhorrent, illegal and unconstitutional actions of the Bushies in shredding the fourth Amendment as opposed to the most principled, competent and capable person to fix the entire justice system. The petty fears of the few in Arizona should far outweigh the interests of the entire nation and, to some extent, the world; and it would be far more preferable to instead install a man associated with the living hell that has been fostered the last eight years. Thank you so much indeed.

            • Ishh says:

              “the petty fears of the few?”

              BMaz, you and katymine can disagree, but I don’t see the need to be dismissive of state-level concerns.

              State-specific concerns are real, significant and warranted. But they are not as significant as the challenges in the DOJ (and elsewhere). The President-elect will put together the best team he can and that inevitably will create some holes at the state level.

              • bmaz says:

                Hey, I am not dismissive; I am one of those here in Arizona that will be lessened by her loss. The fears are absolutely real. All I am saying is that sometimes there are bigger concerns and we have to be willing to allocate scarce precious resources to maximize the good. And short of the war stoppage, arguably nothing is more pressing than the justice system right now (remember it is critical to everything, including cleaning up the financial mess). Not dismissive in the least; I agree with Katymine, I just feel that, relatively speaking we can survive for a period and the immediate needs at DOJ are too great and far outweigh our concerns here. We have been run by right wing idiots forever here (save for Babbitt and Napolitano); it will hurt in a few areas, but not that much and it is fixable. DOJ is in dire straits.

  2. bobschacht says:

    I second your motion, even if it means Brewer as Gov of AZ for 2 years. The greater good for the greater number, and all that jazz.

    Thanks for the excellent summary!

    Bob in HI
    Flagstaff 1987-2004

  3. JimWhite says:


    What is the process, if any, for clearing out the “incompetents and Regent Law type plants”? Are these career path hires subject to the government-wide civil service rules or does DOJ have the right to question competency before they are allowed to keep their jobs? Will these lightweights just have to be given desks in the corner and coloring books to keep them busy while real attorneys are hired for the functioning of the department?

    • bmaz says:

      It depends on the person, time of hire, position hired for, what glitches there were in that person’s process etc. some can probably just be canned, some will have to be marginalized until they quit.

  4. AZ Matt says:

    I shudder to think of the lack of a check on the AZ leg without Janet. That is one bunch of real stupid Rpublicans running things over there.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh brother is that an understatement. It is going to be tough for anyone to do much until the economy picks back up. I dunno, I hear you on that thought. I am really convinced that she is so far superior to the alternatives that I am willing to take the downside here I guess. Also, my understanding is that she is likely going to DC in one capacity or another anyway, so it may well not be a matter of here or there.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      I see that Walt Minnick beat Bill Sali in Idaho.

      My 27 was a thrilled response to this comment.
      This is really phenomenal.
      And good for the citizens of Idaho(!).

      FWIW, new Idaho Sen. Jim Risch is said to be a really, really fine man. He’s Republican, but every one of my contacts was voting for him (and most also voted for Obama). Arguably, this election really benefitted the citizens of Idaho.

  5. lizard says:

    We need an AG that will be willing to punish those who fucked up the rule of law. ALL the crimes of the Bush administration must be investigated and prosecuted. That said, I think putting a partisan Dem in the position of AG, at least at first, would be a grave mistake. ANY dem will be accused of politicized prosecution and their work in this regard will be harder. So:

    Douglas Kmiec, appointed for a year or a bit more with the specific mandate of restoring confidence by thorough prosecution of Bushie Misconduct would be my choice, based on his firm passion for the rule of law. When those investigations are underway and running smoothly, he should be expected to step down, job done, and replaced by an experience Dem like Napolitano

    • bmaz says:

      I wouldn’t let Doug Kmiec serve anywhere near the DOJ. He is a Federalist Society kingpin from way back. I don’t care that he advised Obama; neither he nor any other Gooper should be let anywhere near the DOJ. You put someone like that in charge and they are going to whitewash the wrongs. Please excuse me, I have some serious beefs with Kmiec resulting from encounters long ago. He hasn’t changed.

      • jakebob says:

        Douglas Kmiec was one of Scooter’s main apologists, appearing everywhere in favor of No Jail Time or Outright Pardon after Mr Libby’s conviction.

        No Way, Jose, putting him anywhere near DOJ!

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Well, that’s ‘case closed’ as far as I’m concerned then.
          Not that I don’t trust bmaz’s expertise ;-))

          • bmaz says:

            Oh JakeBob is dead on the money there. There are a million other reasons if you know Kmiec’s history. Oh by the way, did I relate that he is one of Ken Starr’s best friends at Pepperdine University?

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              Oh, dear.
              If you put it THAT way….
              There’s really nothing left to say that’s very civil, is there?

              ‘Birds of a feather’, and all.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              Apologies for the triple-comment, but Andrew Sullivan has a mind-boggling post up of a Fox News interview re: Palin didn’t know that Africa was a continent, — Palin thought ‘Africa’ was a country (!).

              Did randiego mention monsters‘…?
              It’s chilling to contemplate that over 40,000,000 voted for this cretinous twit.

              Obama won’t be perfect, there will be mistakes, but this really underscores how fortunate the nation is that he and Biden won.

  6. JohnLopresti says:

    I wonder if Napolitano helped the case of permission for letting the Democratic party review the new HAVA voter list. AZ was one of the early scenes of skirmishing over voter suppresion by means of voter ID. I think Joe Rich would need to support her prominently, and vonSpakovsky to oppose her, for national DNC officials to make the leap to sacrifice of the governorship. What mischief might become available to her Republican replacement? And how sure are we that the RNC has opted to skip the Scotus route to the presidency in 2008. One of the strongest elections-integrity experts continues to scrutinize senate outcomes in MN and AK from the techie perspective. Also, I have yet to hear how Rove’s IT person Connell’s deposition turned out November 3 in OH; that looked promising, SDOH Eastern Div 2:06-cv-746.

  7. MadDog says:

    bmaz, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Janet have Senatorial ambitions in her near future, and if so, won’t the AG position but the kibosh on that for the next 4 years?

  8. lizard says:

    Don’t hold back, Bmaz, tell me what you really think!

    I don’t know much about his history, but during the campaign he was making all the right “rule of law” noises. I defer to your more thorough knowledge. That said, I think it MUST be a republican that gets the AG job, and believe me, I would never even think such a thing if it weren’t such a complete mess. The DOJ must be put as far beyond partisanship as humanly possible. Hell, if I thought it could pass, I would be in favor of making the DOJ part of the judiciary by constitutional amendment.

      • lizard says:

        Any interest in higher office based on party affiliation. It should be somebody with absolutely no prospects of running again. Ideally, it should be a complete non politician.

        • bmaz says:

          It is more important to get the right person than worry about some false bi-partisanship. You go with the best. Settling for less for illusory grace to the people that created the problem is simply unacceptable.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Feel free to repeat this point about 8 million times:

            It is more important to get the right person than worry about some false bi-partisanship. You go with the best. Settling for less for illusory grace to the people that created the problem is simply unacceptable.

            As for Whitehouse, et al, FWIW I think that Obama really, really needs them in the Senate. In addition, the value of a good campaign seems to be that candidates really, truly know their states and you just can’t recapture that by appointing anyone to a Senate spot. The Senate needs to really hone the way it does its business, and from what I’ve seen of Whitehouse, he could really be a paradigm shifter in the way that the Senate prepares for, and conducts its hearings.

            If that isn’t somehow refined, the Senate’s going to continue to be viewed as a bunch of yakking jackasses, which is unfair to the Dick Durbins, Carl Levins, Amy Globuchar’s, and Sheldon Whitehouses.

            I think the Dems have to make the Senate function ‘better’; not sure how they’ll do it, but Obama’s going to need a ton of talent in the US Senate. Especially with Jeff Sessions and McConnell back bitching and whining and carving their initials into the back pews.

        • freepatriot says:

          sorry dude

          you’re flat out fucking wrong there

          you wanna appoint a repuglitard to AVOID partisanship ???

          have you been off planet for the past fucking 8 years ???

          if you want to avoid partisanship you should avoid repuglitards AT ALL COST

          fuck the repuglitards

          they are the most partisan hatefull immoral fucking people in the country, and there ain’t a fucking repuglitard worthy of holding office in this country

          the fact that a person still belongs to the repuglitard party is a solid indication of poor moral character, a lack of moral values, and total fucking incompetence

          one thing george bush made clear


          • randiego says:

            the fact that a person still belongs to the repuglitard party is a solid indication of poor moral character, a lack of moral values, and total fucking incompetence

            truer words were never spoken, any worth half a damn failed their ideological purity test and were driven out.

    • bmaz says:

      I won’t delve into it, but I fully admit I am not impartial on the dude. As to the underlying premise, I understand your thought, and respect your opinion; but for my money, no Republican is getting near the joint. And for the reasons posited in the post, I just don’t think at this point anyone has a better crafted skill set for the job than Napolitano. She is not all that partisan I might add. Ask her eventual successor as US Attorney in Arizona, the Bush appointed Paul Charlton, he will tell you of the camaraderie and esprit de corps that she promulgated at the AZ-USA.

      • lizard says:

        But don’t you worry about a rebound effect introducing politicization in the other direction? And would it not be a severe exacerbation of the current problem?

        • freepatriot says:

          But don’t you worry about a rebound effect introducing politicization in the other direction?

          actually, I’m hoping that happens

          the burned hand teaches best

          stick george bush in one of his dog kennels in GITMO and let him die there

          that would kinda serve as an example for the next presnit who thinks locking people in dog kennels is a good idea

          I hope the george bush presidency sets up President Obama to fuck the repuglitards over at every turn, and forces the repuglitards to denounce Obama for the exact crimes that george bush is guilty of

          do you realize how sweet it will be for lindsey gram to splain to President Obama about the rights of unlawful enemy combatants

          let the repuglitards write the case against george bush

          make the repuglitards write the case against george bush

          I hope Obama forces the repuglitards to defend the constitution as a matter of self preservation

          what comes around goes around

          time to make loyal Americans out of some repuglitards

          • lizard says:

            What goes around comes around? This administration and their politics-playing DOJ have utterly ruined the idea of a government of laws, not men.

            These guys put a person in JAIL for political reasons. Probably more than one.

            This isn’t politics, it is the dispensation of justice, and “winning” CANNOT come into play on either side. If democrats start jailing republicans for political reasons too, and continue to drift toward totalitarianism, we will be living in soviet russia conditions. When the DOJ can deprive a citizen of liberty and freedom because the are worried about not being able to defeat their opponents within the scope of law.

            This DOJ has taken sleaze, corruption and arrogance to heights never equaled in Americam history.

            Do you REALLY want DOJ to swing in the opposite direction? Do you really want the democrats using their majority status to wage cultural and political wars through DOJ? This would no longer be the USA, but more like Pinochet’s government.


            It can’t be allowed to happen.

            • bmaz says:

              But the germane question is why in the world do you feel that Janet Napolitano is some type of rogue partisan hack that would treat the job that way? It is about competence, fairness and the rule of law; she is all that. Why in the world would we want to wantonly settle for something far less?

            • freepatriot says:


              maybe you don’t get that

              you keep projecting repuglitard incompetence and criminality onto the Democrats

              I want to personally target a certain class of politicians, and force them to renounce their evil fucking ways

              the best way to get george bush to iunderstand the protections of the constitution is to DENY HIM the protections of the constitution

              once george figures out that infinite imprsionment is a bad thing, we can make george a deal, he testifies on behalf of all the people he wronged, and we let him fejoin the ranks of decent humanity

              it’s a vicious lesson in hypocrisy, targeted at those who are guilty of the hypocrisy

              maybe you don’t understand the POWER of george bush petitioning the Supreme Court for Habeas Corpus

              we don’t need to learn constitutional law

              let the repuglitards explain how the constitution is supposed to work

              that way, the people can figure out for themselves how much george bush pissed on the constitution

              if I was President on January 20th, 2009, I would tell the wiretappers at NSA to start tapping every call made by a bush family member, and I would instruct the NSA guys to start interupting in the conversations with their own personal observations, so the bush family understands that the concept of privacy is OVER FOR THEM

              wanna bet within a week the bush family would repudiate the wiretapping powers that george bush claimed to have

              If we declared barbra bush tpo be an unlawful enemy combatant, how many minutes would it take poppy bush to denounce the unlawful powers his son created

              the burned hand teaches best

              so lets BURN the whole repuglitard party with their own hypocrisy

              • lizard says:

                Yeah, lets sink to their level and use the wheels of justice to run the bastards over.

                I think that is one of the dictionary definitions for fascism.

                great idea.

                You might want to consider joining the republican party since you agree with them on this issue so fully and completely.

  9. lizard says:

    =-browser truncated my reply above-= but I don’t think that is possible, so a repub that will not defer to white house or the democratic party would be ideal.

  10. lizard says:

    ANY politician who is seeking higher office will be beholden to his/her party and, perhaps even worse, public opinion. There has to be a way to avoid the “we must not be mired in the past but look to the future” bullshit and really be agressive on government malfeasance.

  11. masaccio says:

    Tennessee is one of the states that turned more red, electing a bunch of repubs to the legislature. I guess our governor, Phil Bredesen, will have to stick around to prevent the Lieutenant Governor, a repub, from taking over the governorship.

  12. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    My, oh my!!!
    And Merkle in Oregon! Woot!!

    New voters + GOP malfeasance + bad economy.

    Per Sara’s point about MN and the mortgage meltdown, out here in LeftyBlueWashington, we’ve got WaMu and I don’t even have half a notion how deep and big that HouseOfMirrorsAndCards is — but WaMu alone would take a ton of law enforcement resources.

  13. JohnLopresti says:

    re Kmiec, read his media interviews around the HI summer ABA meeting to rush thru a bulky statement pushback against Charlie Savage’s documented thousand Bush Addington signing statement revocations of provision of laws congress passed. I missed that transcript, if there was one, and avoid linear audio clips, though ABA provided the audio. One of the interesting shifts in store with Barack Obama’s presidency would be ABA’s re-engagement in the vetting process of judge nominees which Bush avoided, having his neocons to do the screening instead of ABA.

  14. FormerFed says:

    BMAZ, Janet would be wonderful as AG. Regrettably, that would put Jan in as Gov, but I guess we Arizonans could sacrifice for a couple of years for the good of the Nation.

  15. randiego says:

    Great post, let’s hope it happens this way. I’m not crazy about the other names I’ve heard for various reasons.

    Really liked ROTL’s take:

    The Senate needs to really hone the way it does its business, and from what I’ve seen of Whitehouse, he could really be a paradigm shifter in the way that the Senate prepares for, and conducts its hearings.

  16. randiego says:

    PS – thanks for the shout out last night. What an amazing night, and Sweetie got a great birthday present! We went to the big Dem party at House of Blues downtown, and it was incredible!

  17. Mary says:

    kmiec was one of the voices testifying to Congress IN FAVOR of GITMO and Presidential powers that go beyond the pale, including feckless signing statements. Ditto bmaz’s 16.

    If you want a lack of partisanship, you pretty much have to give up on a Republican – the Republicans will be all about continuing to mentor the ideologue incompetents and covering up for other Republicans enmeshed in shipments to torture. A non-gunslinger Dem would be much less likely to “politicize” bc there are almost no prominent Republicans with the chops for the slot who don’t have personal ties to the torture crews and massive FISA felons. For that matter, there aren’t many Dems, and if you factor in the likely involvement of the Dems in Congress, the pickings would get slim if there really were going to be investigations. There won’t be anything that’s not for show IMO, so it may not matter much.

    Bmaz you do a great sales pitch for Napolitano. I haven’t heard anything bad about her and there seem to be stacks of good. Plus, she seems to have been popping up in a lot of reports as having the inside track. So in lieu of much else to hope for, I’m going to hope for her getting the nod.

  18. freepatriot says:

    Here are a couple of ideas:

    Comey as a special prosecutor to investigate illegal wire tapping

    Iglasias as a special prosecutor to investigate the AUSA scandal

    and Marcie Wheeler as special prosecutor to investigate the Plame scandal

    step one, waive and conflicts of interest

    step two, empanel special Grand Juries

    step three, issue subpoena power to the special prosecutors

    step four, turn the special prosecutors loose on the repuglitards

    step 5, issue life sentences to anybody who refuses to cooperate with the prosecutions AT THEIR FIRST OPPORTUNITY. (so anybody who doesn’t immediately cooperate can spend the rest of his life trying to get outta prison)

  19. freepatriot says:

    ot princess pandora report

    princess pandora has been in the news stating that there was no friction in the mcstain-palin campaign

    and, as always with princess pandora, when the truth finally comes out, you learn that princess pandora is a liar or a ditz, or both

    Randy Scheunemann, a senior foreign policy adviser to John McCain, was fired from the Arizona senator’s campaign last week for what one aide called “trashing” the campaign staff, three senior McCain advisers tell CNN.

    so a high placed mcstain advisor was fired last week for trashin princess pandora

    that kinda sounds like “FRICTION”, don’t it ???

    princess pandora, immoral, dishonest, and totally fucking clueless

    she’d be okay, if HuffPo would stop telling the truth about her

  20. lizard says:

    I don’t think she is any of those things, I think she is ambitious. I think she would be a great choice in normal times.

    The new AG is going to have to put about half of Maine Justice on trial and ultimately in jail, and I can’t see putting anybody who has strings attached in that job. Every action will be spun as payback for Seigelman et al. and having an ambitious AG will make that spin much much more widely accepted.

    The next AG is going to have to be squeaky clean for his/her prosecutorial decisions to be accepted and trust in the DOJ re-earned.

    Again, Kmeic might not be a good choice, I am sure you know more about him than I.

    • freepatriot says:

      Every action will be spun as payback for Seigelman et al. and having an ambitious AG will make that spin much much more widely accepted.

      but wouldn’t the repuglitards have to explain why “PAYBACK” is involved at all ???

      don’t you get it ???


      can you get a grasp on where I’m going here ???

      I want to be denounced BY REPUGLITARDS for using george bush’s unitary executive theory

      that brings up the fact that george bush’s unitary executive theory is a CRIME, and the fact that repuglitards didn’t CARE ABOUT GEORGE BUSH’S CRIMES

      maybe you can’t understand how the Supreme Court would deal with a habeas corpus petition from george bush that repudiates all of the actions of george bush

      it would kinda fuck up all of those past rulings that supported george bush



    • bmaz says:

      The next AG is going to have to be squeaky clean for his/her prosecutorial decisions to be accepted and trust in the DOJ re-earned.

      Napolitano is squeaky clean. Nobody who even remotely has the chops to fill the job is without ambition, nobody; it is the nature of anybody who could possibly be considered, you just cannot be a lawyer of that experience and competence without it.

      But if you demand a Republican, that in and of itself is partisanship of a sort. If you simply want the best person for the job, irrespective of what party they hail from, that is Napolitano.

  21. freepatriot says:

    in case you haven’t noticed, I kinda got an “M O”

    I use the rules against you

    I can’t hide it. It has been spotted in psychological evaluations all the time

    did I ever mention that I have an older brother who tortured me my entire life ???

    he grew up to be a referee

    the fucker used to use the rules against me all the time (he was older, and I often didn’t know or understand the rules as well as he did) but I’m a fast learner …

    so you can kinda trace where my modus operandi originates

    • lizard says:

      Pardon me for not shedding tears at your backstory, but your idea here is nothing short of turning our country into a police state.

      Again, it cannot be allowed to happen. Justice is more important than payback.

      • freepatriot says:

        What you are advocating is not USING the rules, it is breaking them. Just like the republicans did.

        you finally fucking figured it out

        that’s EXACTLY what I wanna do

        and DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY ???

        I want lindsey gram and joezoe tortureman to denounce me for using george bush’s criminal behavior


        do you get it yet ???

  22. randiego says:

    Man, how much do I love this:

    Krugman: The Monster Years

    Last night wasn’t just a victory for tolerance; it wasn’t just a mandate for progressive change; it was also, I hope, the end of the monster years.

    What I mean by that is that for the past 14 years America’s political life has been largely dominated by, well, monsters. Monsters like Tom DeLay, who suggested that the shootings at Columbine happened because schools teach students the theory of evolution. Monsters like Karl Rove, who declared that liberals wanted to offer “therapy and understanding” to terrorists. Monsters like Dick Cheney, who saw 9/11 as an opportunity to start torturing people.

    And in our national discourse, we pretended that these monsters were reasonable, respectable people. To point out that the monsters were, in fact, monsters, was “shrill.”

    Four years ago it seemed as if the monsters would dominate American politics for a long time to come. But for now, at least, they’ve been banished to the wilderness.

    Man, this speaks to me. All those years of me expressing my outrage at so many outrageous things, to friends and family, and having it make them uncomfortable. One of my friends jokingly (i.e, dismissively) referred to me as the ‘conspiracy theorist’ – and as far as I can tell she is liberal.


  23. lizard says:

    Oh, I understand what you mean perfectly and have from your first response. I suspect that YOU don’t understand what you yourself are saying. Actually, I am sure of it. It is the same moronic crap we have been hearing for 8 years.

    • freepatriot says:

      that “Moronic Crap” is gonna lay mouldering and festering within the repuglitard party unless we expose it

      it’s called “Negative Re enforcement”

      the basic framework of the unitary executive theory has to be destroyed to ensure that no other president tries the shit george bush pulled

      the best way to destroy it is to have it’s authors denounce it

      a future president would look pretty stupid trying to reintroduce Yoo’s legal theories if Yoo has to repudiate those legal theories to get his sorry ass out of gitmo

      see how that works ???

      I wanna be stopped

      and in the course of stopping me, the repuglitards would be forced to admit that george bush was little more than a criminal in the Whitehouse

      works for me …

  24. lizard says:

    I went back to find the stuff I thought I remembered Kmeic saying and couldn’t. I confused Douglas Kmeic with Bruce Fine, who did say the things I was referring to. My bad.

    • bmaz says:

      I really like and respect Bruce Fein. But if you are looking for someone with no partisan slinging, for as admirable as he has been lately, Fein was a vocal Republican voice advocating for the impeachment of Clinton. He also has no bureaucracy management experience that even remotely compares with that of Napolitano.

      He is a hell of a lot better than Kmiec though; I’ll grant that in a heartbeat.

  25. randiego says:

    Speaking of GTMO I’m watching the Torturing Democracy documentary again, it’s showing on PBS here. A friend in DC is a co-producer.

    Investigations, trials with the best lawyers money can buy for them, then prison for the convicted war criminals.

  26. freepatriot says:

    more on princess pandora:

    Cameron reports that Palin was unfamiliar with the concept of “American exceptionalism,” and that not only did she not understand that Africa was a continent rather than a single country but also that during debate prep Palin was unable to name all the nations in North America.


    boy, did we dodge a bullet last night or what ???

  27. randiego says:

    Obama won’t be perfect, there will be mistakes, but this really underscores how fortunate the nation is that he and Biden won.

    I’ll go ya one better – in a way we are lucky that Bush and Cheney pushed the enterprise as far as they did. Had they gone just a little bit moderate at critical times, would there have been the backlash that made this possible?

  28. lizard says:

    it’s called “Negative Re enforcement”

    It is also called fascism, regardless of the reason or intent.

    It is also quite stupid, showing a fundamental lack of understanding of both psychology and law.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, you can disagree with Freep’s particular intensity (Personally I don’t disagree in the least with what I know to be his root beliefs sans the hyperbole), but there is no way that a vigorous desire for accountability and rolling back of the absurd power grabs of the Bushies is “fascism”.

      • freepatriot says:

        particular intensity ???


        I was going for PECULIAR intensity

        I guess I’ll have to check those numbers again

        In my own defense, I’m a subscriber to Patton’s maxim about “giving it to em loud and dirty” when I want it to stick. And since I want everything to stick … well, you get the idea …

        some people get more scared when they realize there is purpose behind the madness …

      • lizard says:

        Maybe I misunderstood. He seems to me to be advocating (for whatever reason) the tactics of the Bush DOJ. I stand by the fascism remark. He admits that he wants to break the laws (again, for whatever reason) and USE the DOJ to make a political point. I call that fascism. I suppose it is more accurate to call it stateism or totalitarianism.

        They tried to turn DOJ into a political internal security apparatus, and freepatriot is advocating the same thing, albeit with good intentions.

        I think it is also pretty clear that you cannot enforce the law by breaking it.

        • kittykitty says:

          fascism is an economic/ political system. Govt run for the benefit of corporations.

          people toss that term around when they mean to say totalitarian.

          just sayin

    • freepatriot says:

      It is also quite stupid, showing a fundamental lack of understanding of both psychology and law.

      but I unnerstan people though

      trust me

      this stuff works

      absence makes the heart grow fonder

      I wanna make the repuglitards a little fonder of our individual rights

      when logic fails, you must use another tool

  29. freepatriot says:

    friedman is back to plumbing the depths of ignorance and misinformation:

    A civil war that, in many ways, began at Bull Run, Virginia, on July 21, 1861, ended 147 years later via a ballot box in the very same state.

    except for the fact that the Civil War actually started a full friedman unit before the 1st Battle of Mannassas, when South Carolina passed the Succession Act, and the shooting started a half a friedman unit earlier, when the citizens of South Carolin fired cannons at an American Naval Base, friedman is almost right

    I think ending the Civil War was proposition 138 on the Virginia Ballot in 2008

    but me an friedman could be wrong about that …

  30. freepatriot says:

    I want to make alex baldwin eat these words

    The greatest thing we an do now, those of us who support Obama, is hold him to the same standards to which we held Bush. Let’s face it. We’ve worked Bush over pretty badly these past few years.

    first off, alex baldwin is lying when he claims to be an Obama supporter, this lying shit voted for mcstain, and second, baldwin has NOT criticzed bush for a fucking thing, so where does this “WE” shit come from ???

    when alex baldwin admits that george bush is a war criminal, and that he, alex baldwin, turned a blind eye to those crimes against humanity, then I’ll be satisfied (with alex baldwin)

    if I gotta stick alex baldwin in a dog kennel in gitmo to convince him, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make

    is that so wrong ???

    • freepatriot says:

      is a Unitary Executive really restricted by pardons ???

      lets find out

      here’s an experiment we could try:

      stick kkkarl rove in a dog kennel, with a copy of his pardon, and a few pages of blank paper, tell kkkarl to explain why what is being done to him is wrong or illegal, and let’s see what kkkarl comes up with

      another sacrifice I’m willing to make

    • Badwater says:

      Signing stacks and stacks of pardons is hard work, just like clearing brush. Good thing the Decider understands that kind of hard work.

  31. freepatriot says:

    Maybe I misunderstood. He seems to me to be advocating (for whatever reason) the tactics of the Bush DOJ. I stand by the fascism remark. He admits that he wants to break the laws (again, for whatever reason) and USE the DOJ to make a political point. I call that fascism. I suppose it is more accurate to call it stateism or totalitarianism.

    you fail to understand that this I prepose a TARGETED attack

    john yoo would be a perfect target

    wanna bet that slimy fucker could write a petition in 5 minutes that totally destroys the legal rational that he provided to george bush ???

    I wanna to force that slimy piece of snake shit to write that petition, and present it to the Supreme Court

    anybody who supported “enhanced interogation techniques ??? I’m gonna want a petition to grant reprieve from TORTURE from them. wanna bet dead eye dick thinks waterboarding is torture after the first 5 minutes ???

    supported wiretapping and spying on Americans ??? Get used to sharing all your phone conversations with the guys down at the NSA, and get used to them joining in the conversations. Like to hear george bush complain about government intrusion into Americans’ private lives ??? I can arrange that

    as they sow, I’m gonna make them reap

    by oppressing people, you teach them to oppress in their turn

    I wanna teach the repuglitards how to repress people using the constitution for a change

    when I get done, they will KNOW what hit them

    • AlbertFall says:


      You are pissed, and you should be.

      Keep up the strong talk, because I think you really force the issue that way.

      Have Yoo write his petition to get out of torture, repudiating his prior BS? Yes, I think that makes the point exactly.

  32. freepatriot says:


    make that 19 repuglitards on the menu

    brownback is retiring

    we got a dozen solid pickup opportunities

    fifteen Democratic seats on the menu, but they all look safe now

    now I wonder what I’ll think of this comment in October of 2010

  33. freepatriot says:

    and somebody should notify Canada that I will not be joining them anytime soon

    sorry to disappoint them an all, but …

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Just finished reading the debate.
      After eight years, I agree with you.
      For Repugs, The only way you understand matters is to experience them.
      I want accountability and prison time for the shredders of the Constitution…
      My friends tell me that’s revenge, and I can see their point, but I’ve been radicalized..
      Ditch the hypocrites, as Dante muses, “weighted down by great leaden robes like cloaks with hoods pulled low covering the eyes, weary and defeated, in pain they must walk eternally round and round a narrow track. The robes are brilliantly gilded on the outside and are shaped like a monk’s habit, for the hypocrite’s outward appearance shines brightly and passes for holiness, but under that show lies the terrible weight of his deceit which the soul must bear through all eternity.”

        • Twain says:

          Many people seem to like Gates and he may be okay but he’s forever tainted with the Bush stain. I say he goes.

          • bmaz says:

            Oh, I agree, just relaying what seems to be rolling around as the prevailing discussion coming out of the east.

            TCU @ 100 – SOS is a she, Jan Brewer, and no she is not going to be indicted in the next few weeks. She is a kook, not a criminal.

          • foothillsmike says:

            It was my impression that Bush 41 talked Gates and 43 into this appointment and that Gates is on a leave of absence from his position as President of Texas A&M which is what he really wants to be doing.

            • Twain says:

              If he is a good person, and I really don’t know, then I’m sorry that he allowed himself to be dragged into this awful mess. There are times when “NO” is a really good idea.

  34. phred says:

    Great post bmaz, thanks! I had a little time yesterday to chat a bit with LHP over at the mothership about her DoJ dream team. I respect LHP a LOT, but I disagree with her choice of Comey for AG. It seems to me that we need an AG not tainted by BushCo, so that rules out the likes of Comey, as well as Kmiec.

    We live in a big country, surely there is enough depth on our professional “benches” for us to find talented qualified people who can really deliver on Obama’s promises of change. Going back to the same beltway well time and again (whether it’s for a Comey or a Summers) is not going to deliver the breadth of new ideas to reinvigorate our government and our country. Lets really broaden our scope and find some fresh talent and imagine the possibilities…

  35. katymine says:


    If our gov leaves the state Arizona is completely F*cked….. totally…. The wingnut dingbat Secretary of State would be Governor for the next two years with a Repug Legislature…..


    • bmaz says:

      I understand, but this is bigger than us in Arizona. The betterment of the many is more important than the concerns of the few. Besides, and this is from people who are inside of Janet’s orbit, it is pretty much a given that she will be offered a position in DC and is likely to accept. The only reason she would not leave is to focus on McCain’s Senate seat in 2010; but the general belief is that she is ready for a change and that means DC.

      If she is going to DC anyway, and I think she is, it must be to AG. She is by a light year the best person for a nearly impossible job to pull off quickly. The job at DOJ is so critically important to the entire nation that we cannot allow our selfish concerns to interrupt that.

      • katymine says:

        I can’t think that way…. none of us who have been fighting the good fight here on the ground day in and day out…… this is the worst thing that could happen to Arizona…. it could throw us back into the stone age. If you want to think that you can but I have to think of the daily lives of myself and my children.

        Allowing that dingbat Jan Brewer near the Governorship is criminal. We could loose every gain that we have been working on to tamp down people like Russel Pierce and Sheriff Joe…..

        When I met Tim Nelson….. that is what I told him….. tell Janet to stay put and we will kill ourselves to get her elected Senator….. and think of what she will do to Arizona and her legacy here….

        • bmaz says:

          In the first place, I am “on the ground here”, have been since the moment I was born (with the exception of a couple of years in Boulder and some summers in Santa Monica during college). And i believe I have been fighting the “good fight” I specifically worked with Tim Nelson to assist his campaign. My wife and daughter live here with me. I fully understand the stakes. Given all of that, the health and legitimacy of the entire nation’s justice system and rule of law is far more critical and important that our petty concerns here for a little less than two years. We can make it and she is leaving anyway. That just appears to be a fact from everything I have seen and heard.

  36. Twain says:

    I have a daughter who has lived in Az for many years and she really likes Janet – worked on her campaign and has met her. I am torn about her leaving Az but she sounds like the perfect AG.

    • katymine says:

      In Arizona we do not have a Lt Gov, the Secretary of State is the next in line. She is an idiot, barely can do her job and is a wack job Repug.

      She will allow all the terrible legislation that our wingnut crazy Legislature can put out such as Guns in Bars bills and we will be stepping back into the dark ages…

  37. Adie says:

    Speaking as an ignorant, rather pedestrian citizen who, nevertheless, has some training and experience relevant to the topic, I cannot imagine Obama administration even remotely considering what freepat proposes.

    But that’s just me.

    Carry on wizards and academic luminaries.

  38. oldtree says:

    Has she done anything to combat, reign in, control, apply supervisory staff to, Sheriff Joe Arpaio?
    If not, as both Governor and Attorney General, then I must respectfully disagree with you. Anyone that could allow it to continue is far more likely to think Gitmo a vacation spot.
    If someone allows the sheriff’s office to act as they do, then I would also suggest that the person isn’t really that interested in justice. There does not appear to be any control over this sheriff’s office. There are reported to be killings, beatings, systemic torture, and the list goes on. Learn for yourselves. It is not America.

    just check the Phoenix New Times. They have had a section about investigating this “law enforcement official” for some time; http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/arpaio

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, she personally cut off a lot of the funding he was using to oppress hispanics and she has worked hand in hand with Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon to try to initiate civil rights complaints against Arpaio. So if that is concern; fret not. She is about the only one, along with Gordon, that has effectively fought Arpaio.

      Just think what she could do to curb him from the seat of Attorney General. One hell of a lot could be brought to bear against Arpaio and Andrew Thomas.

  39. beth meacham says:

    bmaz, I agree with everything you say about Gov. Janet, and she would be a brilliant choice, but I dread the thought of two years without her hand holding the veto pen. Arizona needs her too.

  40. stryder says:

    let’s see
    justice/retaliation=fasism divided by totalitarianism

    84 Wasn’t the punishment in hell the opposite of the sin they commited on earth?
    IE if you were a torturer you would spend the rest of eternity being tortured.
    We should write a new version of The Inferno

  41. kittykitty says:

    thanks for the bg on Napolitano. Saw her gov debate on cpsan last time she ran and she was amazing. The kind of leader you follow to over the cliff. Was very impressed. Agree she’d probably be best for AG.

    • bmaz says:

      That is exactly the kind of leadership she brings to the equation. And she is very good at finding and bringing in excellent people to surround her and assist; once she sets up the hierarchy, she leads but trusts her people with their delegated authority. She is really just superb in this regard. That is why, just as much as her formidable legal skills, I am convinced she is the only one that can tackle DOJ and have a shot at a fast and soled turnaround that is needed.

      • kittykitty says:

        But you know, i have to agree somewhat with concerned arizonans here. She is the only thing standing (however centrist she may be) between the people and repug tidal wave wall-o-water politics in crazy AZ (once lived there and the oldsters are strange and very busy protecting their retirement monies). Were I an AZ dem i would really fear losing her. I actually think a smart experienced junkyard dog at DOJ is what’s needed now to turn that mess around. It is vastly corrupted, can’t imagine what it will take to straighten it all out, but it will take a real fighter. Indefatigable.

        hey!! how bout RALPH NADER?

  42. hazmaq says:


    Napolitano is first and foremost a centrist POLITICIAN – can you really see her getting her hands dirty in the U.S. Attorney scandals?? NO. And she’s a bit on the older side for a job that screams out for reform from the ground up.
    And I say that as a **- something strong woman and as a law student and an Arizonan who’s watched her work. A Claire McCaskill Janet is not.

    Obama wants devotion to duty and excellence and only two people, known of by the public anyway, would I recommend: Either Linda Sanchez of California or Robert Wexler of Florida.

    Young, outstanding, devoted: great members for an Obama A-team.

    • bmaz says:

      Sanchez or Wexler? Are you kidding me? Napolitano can run circles around McCaskill and her experience is light years superior. You might want to actually consider someone with the requisite skill set as opposed to you ideologically similar tastes. Lizard above had one thing right, it is not an overly partisan post. Janet is 50 years old; how young of a wet behind the ears rookie are you demanding? By the way, Janet was an active private attorney for a long time before she started public service; she is far, far more that just a “politician”. Curious that you would think a partisan blowhard hack like Wexler is fit for the job.

    • bmaz says:

      I’ll take that with a chuckle. Here’s the thing, I am pretty sure janet is leaving no matter what. That is the word here. But she is far better suited to AG than she is DHS or Education, which are the two other posts she is apparently being considered for.

  43. Parvis says:

    Janet’s totally capable, but I think she’s needed more in AZ. Not just to keep out the psycho Sec of State, but also because the great job she does is one of the major factors driving AZ blue. If not for the home effect you might have seen AZ go for Obama this year.

    • bmaz says:

      If Obama and the DNC had deployed some assets here, we might have pulled it off anyway. Thing is, I keep telling people, it may change the other way, but the word I have heard is that she is intrigued by DC and that she has pretty much decided to go; it is a question of where. At this moment, I don’t think it is a stay or go, it is a question of where she goes. That could change or that could be wrong; but several different decent sources that are in a position to know have said just that. Keep in mind that I thought the vote on Presidential here was going to be a hell of a lot closer than it ended up being; so my local batting average took a recent downturn…

  44. rosalind says:

    “Clinton Administration veteran David Ogden is leading the transition team for the Justice Department”

    does this news give us any hint as to what direction obama is leaning?

  45. iconoclasm12 says:

    i wish obama would consider john edwards for ag. then when he gets the moral majority questioning his choice he would have the opportunity to combat some of these tactics used on bill clinton and others since, as if…

    • bmaz says:

      John Edwards has no criminal justice experience whatsoever, nor any experience managing a huge bureaucracy. I like the guy, but he would be a horrendous choice. Not to mention he is a leper right now. This is a job for competence not personality.

  46. johnsonua says:

    bmaz says:

    Hey, I am not dismissive; I am one of those here in Arizona that will be lessened by her loss. The fears are absolutely real. All I am saying is that sometimes there are bigger concerns and we have to be willing to allocate scarce precious resources to maximize the good.

    Arizona will be run by reactionary Republicans like Russell Pearce: count on the Universities getting gutted, K-12 schools getting gutted, ACCESS getting gutted, and then they’ll go and lower taxes, because that’s the sovereign Republican cure for everything.

    But don’t worry, everyone will be allowed to carry concealed machine guns so they can shoot the illegal immigrants, while reciting the Bible, because that’s what’s important.

    My opinion is that Janet leaving for DC will put Arizona a good four to six years behind the rest of the country in any sort of economic recovery, because after two years of Republican-lead chainsawing through the state budget, there won’t be much left to build back up.

    Schools, roads, everything will be shot and we’ll have a hard time convincing companies with good jobs to come here…

    Pretty damn steep price to pay.

  47. kittykitty says:

    How about Eliot Spitzer for DOJ? and Hillary should be Secy of health and human services. maybe she could finally get the healthcare plan she wanted in 93. But she’s probably better off in the senate. Can’t lose too many dem senators to the white house all at once. No telling who’d take their places in a weird climate like this.

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