The Corner

Compare and Contrast

When Ken Starr was investigating the President, there was a concerted, White House approved effort to descredit him. Starr, who had been one of the most respected lawyers in Washington by Democrats and Republicans alike (Dems and Reps approved him to read Bob Packwood’s diaries, for example), was villified for any number of imaginary or exaggerated misdeeds. The one the White House seemed to favor most was that he was a “tobacco lawyer,” as if representing tobacco companies — as opposed to, say, rapists — is not only a conflict of interest, but actually disqualifies you from public life.

Now, Jamie Gorelick is revealed to have a pertinent, first-hand and an obviously irrefutable appearance of a conflict of interest. I don’t think this makes her a bad person or anything like that. And, obviously, the comparison is far from perfect since Bush isn’t being “charged” (except politically) with doing anything wrong. Nonetheless, Gorelick’s involvement in the conceiving, administering and implementing of anti-terrorism policy and her continued role as a 9/11 Commissioner strikes me as a real issue deserving of serious scrutiny. After all, Henry Kissinger and George Mitchell were disqualified for the leadership of the Commission because of their business ties, surely crafting the policies being investigated is no greater conflict of interest.

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