Roger L. Simon links a NY Times column of yesterday from former Clinton counsel Lanny Davis decrying the politics of scandal and expressing the Utopian hope (Lanny Davis is a hopeless liberal) that “voters [will] say, ‘A pox on both your houses,’ reject the scandal culture and gotcha politics of both parties and seek new politics of common cause, collegiality and the public interest. ”
I’m afraid I doubt personally that any wave of voter revulsion, combining a major dose of communitarianism, as Lanny hopes, will end prosecutorial politics. My prediction is that the GOP is soon going to demonstrate to democrats the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction. The democrat party is the party of urban political machines, the party of clubhouse pols, and the party of –speaking frankly– populist demagogues. How many important and prominent democrats have legal and ethical vulnerabilities? Could there possibly be any financial issues worth looking into, just for instance, in the background of a Senate Minority Leader who was formerly a Nevada State Gaming Commissioner? Or in that of a House Minority Leader closely tied to the spectacularly free-wheeling one party regime of San Francisco, a city still run with all the rectitude associated with its 19th century Wild West boomtown traditions, and descendant of the Baltimore city machine?
What Republicans have to do to protect major Republican leaders from the continuation of career assassination via opportunistic charges and prosecutions on the flimsiest of grounds is to follow the advice provided by Sean Connery’s Jim Malone to Kevin Costner’s Elliot Ness in Brian de Palma’s The Untouchables (1987):
Connery: lf you open the ball on these people, you must be prepared to go all the way. Because they won’t give up the fight until one of you is dead.
Costner: l want to get Capone. l don’t know how.
Connery: Here’s how you get Capone: he pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! That’s the Chicago way! And that’s how you get Capone. Now, do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that?