Wishful thinking? Maybe. Many government lawyers – local, state and federal – owe their jobs to politicians. Politicians are (by necessity?) not as interested in “playing it straight” as they are in re-election which requires achieving results pleasing to those who finance or otherwise heavily influence the politician’s chances for re-election. So, for politicians, results take priority.
But for a compelling argument about the importance of lawyers “playing it straight” when giving advice to governmental clients, see Professor David Luban’s Congressional testimony about the so-called “Torture Memos.”