Josh Marshall, writing of Legal Flim-Flam Man Gonzales’ on-going wiretap flim-flam:
The argument to history that Gonzales is attempting isn't just off point. It's typical of the administration's basic way of operating with the public -- conscious misdirection and flimflam. You can't make this argument unless your intent is to confuse the issue and avoid the issue of whether the president has to follow the law.
It’s a minor point of disagreement, almost too pedantic to qualify as “disagreement”, but I disagree with Marshall on this one. Because this isn’t just the legal defense that they’ve just decided to mislead us with. This is the legal defense they’ve been running with from the start. Long before they had to start justifying this crap, they came up with their justification. And it was as much crap then as it is now. But this is the best they could do; and while they’d have certainly preferred that we never need be given an excuse, this is what they had been planning to pin their case on before they started the wiretaps.
And this is the way that they think. They’re like the worst of the scammy lawyers who twist the law into pretzels trying to make it work in their direction; but they do it even when they don’t need to. And the problem for them is that they’re ends-oriented people. They had their end target in view, the “reality” they were wanting; and then they scour the law books and political precedents for any kind of justification for what they wanted. Not just for these illegal wiretaps, but for torture and everything else.
But the problem for them is that they don’t have a choice. Their ideology teaches them that they’re supposed to have these things, and so their efforts aren’t to see if it’s justified; but to find that justification. No matter how ridiculous. They must find a justification. And that’s why they bend over to find low-level lawyers who are good at finding stupid justifications. Because the only reason they’re even concerned with the law is because The Law might be concerned with them. But they don’t need the law any more than you need your parents telling you how to dress. They already know what they’re supposed to get. They’re just hoping that their feeble excuses will be enough. And unfortunately for us, they always have in the past.
But again, when reading these lame-ass excuses, remember one thing: These aren’t caught-in-the-cookiejar excuses by someone who wasn’t ready (ala Hurricane Katrina screw-ups); these were the justifications they ran with from the start. These are the best excuses that their best minds could come up with to justify these activities; and they went with it anyway. They knew that there was no good legal defense; and they just didn’t care.