Mike Gallagher

Once again, Democrats have seized upon a nonissue as a way to beat up the Bush administration, and once again, weak-kneed Republicans have cowered in fear over the contrived controversy.

The way Democrats have reacted to the alleged problems surrounding the totally legitimate firings of eight U.S. attorneys is one of the biggest examples of "chutzpah" ever.

As Sen. Hillary Clinton rails about yet another "right-wing conspiracy," do you suppose she's hoping that Americans will forget what her husband did in 1993?

If you're inclined to grind your teeth and wring your hands over the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys by the Justice Department, consider two simple little irrefutable facts: When President Clinton took office in 1993, one of his first official acts was to fire EVERY SINGLE U.S. attorney, with the exception of future Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff. And the only reason he stayed was because a powerful Democrat like then-Sen. Bill Bradley intervened on his behalf.

Was there a national scandal then? Of course not, because everyone knew then what we should remember now: U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. Do you know what that means? He can hire and fire them for whatever reason he chooses.

Was the firing of the eight U.S. attorneys "politically motivated" as the Democrats are claiming, in full-throated fury? Of course it was. Just like President Clinton's purging of virtually all Reagan and George H.W. Bush appointees was in 1993.

One of the political spoils in Washington is the patronage job. The U.S attorney's post is the ultimate patronage job. As was his right, Clinton wiped the slate clean and replaced a bunch of Republican appointees with the people he wanted in his Justice Department.

Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer are predictable hypocrites. They smell some blood in the Republican waters and know when to pile on.

But what's truly shocking is to witness the groveling by Republicans over this nonissue. Perhaps they are taking a cue from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales himself, and that's deeply disappointing.

The news headlines boldly proclaimed Gonzales' apology. "Mistakes were made here," he said. "I accept that responsibility."

In fact, he even accepted the resignation of his chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, who had been discussing possible firings of U.S. attorneys in early 1995.

If Republicans don't learn how to shrug off infantile accusations of "right-wing conspiracies" and stand their ground, it will be many, many years before many of them will win any elections in the future.

Mike Gallagher

Mike Gallagher is a nationally syndicated radio host, Fox News Channel contributor and guest host and author of 50 Things Liberals Love to Hate.