Lawfare in modern politics

There was a recent suggestion that the right fight as dirty as the left – coupled with, of course, the argument that both fight dirty. The evidence in the lawfare arena provides one example that there is a difference. Politico, Assailin’ Palin: Complaints deluge gov carries the story of one example.

the number of ethics complaints filed against the governor and her staff — as well as the tortured logic they contain — continue to constitute the most disturbing trend in Alaska politics,” said Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow in a recent statement after one ostensibly confidential complaint was sent to the Anchorage Daily News and other news outlets.

“In the past several months, we have seen an orchestrated effort by the governor’s opponents to make differences of opinion and ideology almost criminal,” said Mike Nizich, the governor’s chief of staff, in a statement. “Governor Palin has spent a considerable amount of time and money fighting ethics complaints – and no charge has been substantiated. I hope that the publicity-seekers will face a backlash from Alaskans who have a sense of fair play and proportion. I served six previous governors, and I’ve never seen anything like the attacks against Governor Palin.”

Like the assault on Chevron in Africa, this is the use of the legal system in order to harass and impugn political or ideological enemies. Like throwing mud balls at a wall, there is a probability one of them might stick – think Mr. Libby, for instance – and that’s just a bonus. Just the publicity and the cost of defense against these complaints is sufficient and there is no downside.

What is interesting is that the people conducting this lawfare are the same ones who loudly proclaim how ashamed they are of their country and what it does. Integrity runs deep and its absence shows in many parts of the surface.

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