No One Ever Expects the Waxman Inquisition

Its always instructive to do a little research to discover how various politicians conducted themselves on comparable issues in years gone by. I thought it would be interesting to look at how the Bush Administration's current chief tormentor Congressman Henry Waxman (D. CA)  handled himself as a minority member during one of the many scandals that plagued the Clinton Administration.

From his Chairman's throne on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Congress Waxman and his gang have been terrorizing the unsuspecting from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other with something resembling Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition.  Evidently,  all you have to do is whisper Karl Rove's name, when suddenly out of nowhere, Waxman and his two main sidekicks Dennis Kucinich and (D. Ohio) and Steve Lynch (D. MA) burst through the cloakroom door declaring: "No one ever expects the Waxman Inquisition!"  Waxman than shouts: "our chief weapon is surprise, surprise and fear, our two weapons are fear and surprise and ruthless efficiency, our three weapons are fear and surprise, ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical to devotion to I mean our four weapons...oh never mind."

Well let's see how Waxman acted. Here is the transcript of a news conference he held on a scandal involving the Clinton's the wholesale firing of the White House Travel Office employees. From the Washington Post Jan 19, 1996: 
Rep. Waxman: Well, the testimony we received today indicated that {in} the firing of the travel office employees there was no illegality, there was no wrongdoing, and Mr. Watkins told us that he wasn't directed by the first lady to fire them. I don't know what this hearing is all about. Even if she had directed him to fire them, so what?

Seems to me that the administration had the legal opportunity to replace people if they wanted to when they came into power just as the Republicans when they took over the House were able to replace people who were nonpartisan, who had worked in non-legislative responsibilities
Now let us imagine Arlen Spector pronouncing "so what" about the U.S. Attorney's firing flap.  Or how about Tony Snow standing at the podium telling the gaggle "so what"

I'm sure this would prompt MSNBC's  Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews aka "Dumb and Dumber to team up for a two hour special covening a prayer circle with Slippery Shuster, David "I can't remember" Gregory, Tim "the star witness" Russert, Andrea "I must have been drunk"  Mitchell and John "the hyperbole" Dean repeating the incantation: "worse than Watergate, worse than Watergate."  Based on their track records, Olbermann and Matthews would probably turn this into a week long extravaganza so they could trot out every political hack in Washington.
"Q: What about the news blackout?

A: Mr. Watkins' attorney advised him that under the rules, he could refuse to have cameras present. That was his decision. It wouldn't have been the decision I would have made, but that was his lawyer's decision and his decision, and that was why we didn't have the cameras in the hearing. I think Mike Milken invoked that rule. It's a rule that allows an individual who is subpoenaed to testify before the Congress to decide that they don't want the cameras reporting all of the exchanges between members of Congress and the witness. That's his decision."
I'm just can't wait for Waxman to come out and say this about Department of Justice staffer Monica Goodling's decision to invoke her Fifth Amendment right to steer clear of the perjury trap being set up by Senator Leahy. And what if the Bush White House had ordered a news blackout? No doubt the network news anchors would be universally apoplectic.
Q: Don't you think it was a little disingenuous for him to stop short and say, "Well, no, you know, Hillary didn't really pressure me." I mean, it's clear she did. And your point is so what? So, and I mean you have got -- come on, don't you think that she pressured him?

A: I don't know whether she pressured him or not, but even if she did, so what?
Based on the archival record and my own recollection, Waxman's "so what" campaign cowed the media into submission. The Post pretty much gave up after that. The Clintons successfully railroaded the travel office employees with a criminal prosecution.

Fortunately in this case,  Billy Dale the manager of the office was acquitted in less than two hours by a trial jury, but not until he was virtually ruined by this gross abuse of power.

On February 5, 1996, the Post did manage to slip in this letter to the editor in from Bob Foster of Ashburn Virginia:
"The travel office staff was fired to make room for a Clinton relative and personal friends who hoped to profit from the operation. That's cronyism and nepotism -- strike one. The previous employees were not simply let go; they were accused of criminal wrongdoing, and an FBI official was summoned to the White House and pressured to rewrite a statement to provide cover for the firings. That's falsification and the politicization of a Justice Department bureau -- strike two. Then there's the simple fact that the First Lady says she didn't pressure anyone to fire the previous staff when it's increasingly clear she did. That's known as misrepresentation -- lying in some quarters -- strike three."

So what, indeed."
So the record shows Henry Waxman actively participating in a cover up to conceal a plot  by the Clinton White House to install cronies for personal gain in a gross abuse of power all while obstructing the investigation. Holy Patrick Fitzgerald, if that's not throwing sand in the eye of the referee I don't know what is. No one ever expects the Waxman Inquisition.