Cass Sunstein obviously is a bright guy. He used to be at the University of Chicago Law School, and earlier this year, he joined the faculty at Harvard Law School. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama thinks enough of Sunstein to make him an informal legal advisor.
So how could Sunstein utter the dumbfoundingly stupid comment he made to Ari Melber at last week's Netroots Nation event in Austin, Texas.
Melber, reporting at The Nation and Huffington Post, said Sunstein cautioned against prosecuting criminal conduct by the Bush administration. Holding the Bushies accountable would risk a "cycle" of criminalizing public service, Sunstein said.
Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, one of the primary attractions at Netroots Nation and the most famous victim of the Bush Justice Department, treated Sunstein's comments with more dignity than they deserved. "Give me a break," Siegelman said when told about the statements from Obama's legal advisor.
I will be less diplomatic than Siegelman was. Sunstein's comments are unfettered horsefeathers. To the many people who have suffered at the hands of the Bush Justice Department--like Siegelman and yours truly--Sunstein's words are insulting, condescending, and enraging.
Here's something Sunstein should try. He should present his ideas to the families of Paul Minor, Wes Teel, and John Whitfield, three Mississippians who remain in federal prison for the crime of behaving as Democrats in a blood-red Deep South state.
I don't think Sunstein would want to be locked in a room with my wife at the moment. Her "Serbian temper" went off like a rocket when she saw a report about Sunstein's comments on Countdown With Keith Olbermann last night.
Does my wife know what it's like to suffer in Karl Rove's Alabama? You're darn tootin'. She has seen our life savings wiped out because we had to fight a bogus lawsuit filed by a corrupt lawyer with direct family ties to Karl Rove. She has seen her house--or at least a portion of it--unlawfully auctioned off because of actions by this corrupt lawyer and the corrupt sheriff in Shelby County, Alabama, where we live. She has lost out on any number of job possibilities under peculiar circumstances that strongly suggest someone was checking our home phone and calling around to prospective employers to cost her jobs. (How's that for the Bush surveillance state?) And most recently, she saw her husband (me) lose his job at UAB in a career assassination that clearly was driven by loyal Bushies who are uncomfortable with the truths being reported on this blog.
Listen up, Mr. Sunstein. Don Siegelman, Paul Minor, my wife, me, and many others do not view the Bush Justice Department in a theoretical sense. We don't see it as a political issue, the way you evidently do. We see it as a matter of life and death, of justice, of right and wrong. We have been assaulted by loyal Bushies, and to quote the Big Guy in the Good Book, "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord!"
Are you with us or not?
Thankfully, not all legal scholars think as you do. Jonathan Turley, of Georgetown University, took you to serious task, both on his personal blog and the Olbermann show. After noting that you had been so kind as to say that "egregious crimes should not be ignored," Turley had this splendid question: Since when have we had non-egregious crimes? Why should we ignore any crimes?
The Bushies have made mincemeat of our constitution. Can crime get more egregious than that?
Those of us who had planned to vote for Obama did so partly because we considered him a man of good judgment. But if he is surrounding himself with advisors like Sunstein, how good of judgment does Obama have? And those of us whose lives have been damaged or ruined by loyal Bushies were counting on Obama to have a spine. If we want a spineless leader with poor judgment, we might as well keep the president we've got.
Some unsolicited advice for Obama: Cut ties with Cass Sunstein immediately and repudiate his remarks in clear and concise language. Make it clear that your administration will stand for the rule of law--no ifs, ands, or buts. And state unequivocally that you support full investigation and prosecution of any crimes committed by the Bush administration.
If you do not take these steps, and do it in a big hurry, this is one (former?) Democrat who will be voting for Ralph Nader.