. .

Who is Ed Philpot?
Make POP Your Homepage
Send Comments

The POP Book List

The Things They Carried: by Tim O'Brien

Blue Blood: by Edward Conlon

His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis

Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward

After Tet: The Bloodiest Year In Viet Nam by Ronald H. Spector

The Threatening Storm by Kenneth Pollack

Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris

John Adams by David McCullough

Truman by David McCullough

First You Have To Row A Little Boat by Richard Bode

Website Picks

NY Times
Talking Points Memo
Donkey Rising
The Hamster
Media Notes
Washington Monthly
The Note
WSJ.com OpinionJournal
The Washington Note

NH Websites

Democrat Think Dynamic Group
Mark Fernald - NH Progressive Network

2008 Archives

Week of 2.10.08
Week of 3.2.08
Week of 6.22.08
Week of 12.14.08
Week of 12.21.08
Week of 12.28.08
Week of 1.4.09
Week of 1.11.09
Week of 1.18.09
Week of 1.25.09
Week of 2.1.09
Week of 2.8.09
Week of 3.1.09
Week of 3.12.09
Week of 3.29.09

Click here for full archives

. . .

April 9, 2009, 1:45 P.M.

I continue to be impressed with Attorney General Eric Holder. He recently asked a federal appeals court to set aside the felony convictions of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. He did so because of numerous instances of prosecutorial misconduct by the government lawyers who were responsible for handling the case. Holder did the right thing, a complete reversal of the practices of his predecessors.

There is no question that what Holder did was right. There is also no question that this is not the type of behavior that the Bush administration would have ever engaged in. For the past eight years, the Justice Department was transformed into a political department of the White House. Its lawyers were picked more because of their religion than for their competence, and its priority was the prosecution of political enemies. Holder said when he was nominated that things were going to change. The Stevens case proves that he meant what he said.

I imagine, based on the information that was withheld from Stevens’ lawyers during the prosecution, that the convictions were likely going to be overturned. I also imagine, based on the existence of the massage chair, the improvements to the chalet and other goodies, that he actually was taking goodies form his oil company buddy, that he is not as innocent as he now claims to be. The fact is, however, that there are rules that apply to prosecuting crimes in our society. If it’s not done by the rules, we all suffer. Holder knows that, and it’s refreshing to have our government once again playing by the rules. There is a lot of damage to repair in our national reputation, but this is a good start.

Let’s remember what happened here. After eight years of a justice department that was tasked with prosecuting the administration’s political enemies, the attorney general of the United States just let a corrupt member of the opposite political party go free!

Another thing to remember is that Stevens’ convictions were overturned, that does not mean that he is innocent. He is not innocent. He is a corrupt, dishonest politician who could have been convicted without the evidence being withheld. Stevens owes his freedom to his political enemies. Interesting to say the least.

Sarah Palin, of course, doesn’t get any of this. She actually called for Sen. Begich, who defeated Stevens in last November’s election, to step down in order for there to be a runoff election. She apparently doesn’t get the difference between “conviction vacated” and “innocent” or even “not guilty.” Do-over election? Give me a break.

There is no support in Congress for this idea and there is not mechanism by which such an election can be forced. The idea is just stupid, positively Palinesque, if you will. If is fun, however, to watch Republicans rage against the prosecutorial misconduct by lawyers hired by the Bush administration. It would be nice if, in all their ranting, they once acknowledged that Stevens was convicted, albeit in a flawed way, because he was guilty. He is free because of the flaws in the process and because of the character of his current government.

April 9, 2009, 1:40 P.M.

I have been truly impressed with the President’s recent visit to Europe. He has already raised our national image and raised our standing on the world stage. All in only one visit.

Of course, we have a long way to go to undo the damage our country has suffered at the hands of Bush and Cheney, but at least we have begun the process. We have done so against a backdrop of arrogance and defiance by Cheney and members of the Bush administration, but the President has stood so tall as to make the mistakes of his predecessors begin to fade in his shadow.

President Obama is not leaving the G20 with everything he wanted, but he is also not giving away the store. The negotiations, the international monetary strategy, and the politics aside, he is leaving the G20 having gained the respect and allayed the fears of the international community over the role of our country in the economic, political and military future of the world.

April 9, 2009, 1:30 P.M.

On April 5, 2009 the body of Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers of Hopewell, Virginia returned to Dover Air Force Base. As a result of the Obama administration’s revocation of the eighteen year ban, imposed by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, on media coverage of the return of fallen U.S. servicemen, photographers and reporters were present.

The ban has not been lifted completely, and coverage is only allowed with the permission of the family. I have always been of a mind that there should be access to those solemn ceremonies, and that the arrival of flag-draped coffins provides a start reminder of the true cost of war. More than that, however, it honors the service of those who died in uniform, and it highlights their service. Soldiers returning from war, dead or alive, should not be hidden away.

I do like that individual families get to make a decision about whether or not there will be media coverage. It is, and should be, a decision made with the family’s privacy, religious beliefs, and personal opinions in the forefront. Absolute secrecy, however, reduces the concept of war to a distant, video game-like concept that we don’t have to know about if we choose to remain ignorant.

Send Tips or Comments to Philpot on Politics

Copyright 2008 Edward Philpot

. . . . .