QUESTIONING GOODLING….Dahlia Lithwick, in the process of reaming Democratic members of the House judiciary committee for doing a lousy job of questioning Monica Goodling, mentions something I hadn’t noticed in yesterday’s reports:
[Goodling] tells Brad Sherman, D-Calif., that she looked at Web sites detailing the political contributions made by applicants for assistant U.S. attorney positions, and that she felt she could take account of political considerations in evaluating immigration judges. (Kyle Sampson told her that was OK.) She tells the committee that she didn’t give one job candidate a position, adding, “I didn’t know she was a Democrat. But I had heard she was a liberal.” The committee, however, seems to miss all this. Indeed, they are so delighted when she points fingers at Sampson and McNulty, they don’t remember to ask what precisely Sampson and McNulty did.
Goodling looked up the political contribution history of applicants for career civil service positions? That’s interesting, isn’t it? I wonder if anyone else did that. Seems like this is something that deserved some followup.
Which it didn’t get, of course. I know that politicians are in love with their own voices, but it never ceases to amaze me that they insist on questioning witnesses like Goodling themselves. For starters, most of them are no good at it. For finishers, Perry Mason himself would have a hard time making headway if he were limited to five-minute bursts. Instead, why not block off a couple of hours and hand off the questioning to a tough, well-briefed staffer who knows how to cross examine a hostile witness? Then sit back and watch the show.
I guess that’s why I’ll never be a politician. Watching a good show appeals to me more than participating in a mediocre one.