It's about growing economic inequality. One way to cope with that is to distract voters with bogus issues. Another is to disenfranchise them. So Paul Krugman concludes in viewing the Bush administration's political takeover of the Justice Department.
But distraction can only go so far. So the other tool was disenfranchisement: finding ways to keep poor people, who tend to vote for the party that might actually do something about inequality, out of the voting booth.
Remember that disenfranchisement in the form of the 2000 Florida “felon purge,” which struck many legitimate voters from the rolls, put Mr. Bush in the White House in the first place. And disenfranchisement seems to be what much of the politicization of the Justice Department was about.
Several of the fired U.S. attorneys were under pressure to pursue allegations of voter fraud — a phrase that has become almost synonymous with “voting while black.” Former staff members of the Justice Department’s civil rights division say that they were repeatedly overruled when they objected to Republican actions, ranging from Georgia’s voter ID law to Tom DeLay’s Texas redistricting, that they believed would effectively disenfranchise African-American voters.
UPDATE: Here's a good profile on Monica Goodling, the partisan thug who's taken the Fifth Amendment rather than testify about her role in the attorney scandal. She once worked for, who else, Tim Griffin and was instrumental in cooking up the deal designed to have him serve as a permanent "interim" U.S. attorney in LR.