So, Timothy Flanigan's nomination for Deputy Attorney General has been withdrawn admidst the expanding investigation of that monstrous money maw of the already indicted Jack Abramoff. Indeed, as the investigation of Abramoff's various and sundry dealings progresses, he is beginning to look a lot like the recently discovered giant squid, as his political tenticles are yanked into daylight from the depths of the dark, unseemly underworld that is Washington today.
What is fascinating and, ultimately, disturbing about Flanigan's move -- no doubt encouraged by the White House -- is not the withdrawal itself nor that Flanigan was involved with the uber-lobbyist. No, what is amazing about it is that Alberto Gonzales sailed through his confirmation for Attorney General with the full knowledge of the Senate that he had supplied the legal justifications that led to the abuses and toture discovered at Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay. This was not enough to prevent Gonzales' confirmation and while Flaningan appears to have also been involved in the torture "reasoning" that sought to allow such abuses, his ties to off shore tax havens, illegal money funnelling and lobbyist-sponsored junkets are what have proved too, too serious for the White House to pursue the nomination.
This is, more than anything, a disappointing though not surprising display of priorities of this country's politics. Careless fund-running can prove politically deadly. Justifying torture ... not so much.