Untenable Position


  • Andrew B. Coan
Publish Date:
April 3, 2007
Publication Title:
Daily Journal
Op-Ed or Opinion Piece
  • Andrew B. Coan, Untenable Position, Daily Journal, Forum Column, April 3, 2007.


Coan describes a two-pronged strategy that the Bush administration has “settled on” for “managing the political firestorm sparked by last year’s dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys” and says that this position is “untenable.” Coan writes:

“First, Bush and his advisers insist that U.S. attorneys are political appointees who serve ‘at the pleasure of the president’ and may be fired by him for any reason. Second, Bush categorically refuses to allow his advisers to testify publicly before Congress about the motivation for the firings. To do so, he argues, would prevent him from obtaining candid advice from his staff.
…In short, Bush wants all of the power but none of the accountability.
That is an untenable position. The president may have a right to replace competent prosecutors with political cronies, as he seems to have done in Arkansas. He may even have a right to fire competent prosecutors for refusing to schedule voter-fraud indictments to embarrass his political opponents, as he seems to have done in New Mexico and Washington. But the American political system cannot function effectively if he is allowed to hide those decisions from public scrutiny.”