Good Thursday morning Fellow You-know-what-ers
On the Minnesota front, Goodling (that’s her below left in the committee hearing room) gave the first semi-official account of how Tom Heffelfinger came to be on the list of U.S. attorneys to be considered for firing. She had heard some complaining (she didn’t say from whom or when) that Heffelfinger spent too much time on Native American issues, in his capacity as chairman of the U.S. attorneys’ group that dealt with such issues.
Heffelfinger (that’s him on the right) who has insisted all along that he didn’t know anybody in Washington was unhappy with his job performance when he decided to resign, and who seems to have kind of thing about defending his reputation for competence, was understandably pissed off. (Esteemed colleague Pam Louwagie gets the credit for the blistering Heffelfinger reaction quote in the Strib story this a.m. Sorry Pam, you should have had a byline.) Anyway, here’s the quote:
“If it’s true that people within the Department of Justice were critical of the amount of time I was spending on Indian issues, I’m outraged,” Heffelfinger said Wednesday afternoon. “Are they telling me that I spent too much time responding to the school shooting in Red Lake, which was the second-largest act of school violence prior to Virginia Tech? Are they telling me I spent too much time trying to improve public safety for Native Americans, who are victims of violent crime at a rate 2Ã‚Â½ times the national population? If they are, then shame on them.”
The trouble is, the story and the quote both act like now we know what Heffelfinger’s name was doing on those let’s-fire-these-guys lists.
People, people, please. Goodling may know the real reason, or she may not. But that ain’t it.
At the risk of sounding like someone from planet Earth, suppose you are in charge of federal law enforcement in America. And suppose you have an experienced, loyal Republican (did you know Heffelfinger was appointed U.S. attorney by both Presidents Bush), highly-regarded prosecutor, who has never received a negative job evaluation. And suppose this prosecutor is in a state that has several Indian reservations and is the chairman of the U.S. attorney group that deals with Native American issues. And suppose, just suppose, you’ve decided he is spending too much time on Native American issues. (Heffelfinger thinks that’s drivel and it does sound drivelish, but just suppose that you do think it.)
Do you call the guy up and suggest that he reconsider how he’s budgeting his time? Do you just immediately put his name on a list of guys to fire? Or is it possible, just possible is all I ask you to consider, that we still don’t know the real reason Heffelfinger’s name was on those lists?