by iampunha | 8/08/2008 08:00:00 AM
Goodbye to you
Goodbye to everything I thought I knew
You were the one I loved
The one thing that I tried to hold on to
-"Goodbye To You," Michelle Branch
The judicial process is such that by all rights, the testimony of Karl Rove, Josh Bolten, Harriet Myers, Alberto Gonzales and Monica Goodling, combined with the tell-nothing-new book by Scott McClellan, should have led to the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
But where today's dishonoree faltered, the Bush White House has succeeded with flying colors.
See, one of the things about a loyal Bushie is that s/he is loyal to her or his president, not country. By refusing to testify, Rove et al. are very clearly saying that they value the president over the country.
On this date 34 years ago, thanks to a tremendously paranoid president, loyal Americans such as John Dean, members of Congress who were not backing down and a news media able to focus on something more significant than Paris Hilton's jail time, President Richard M. Nixon announced his resignation effective at noon the next day.
I sometimes wonder if perhaps Nixon's resignation provided the roadmap to Republicans for how to get away with much more and have to fight people much less to do it.
The more I saw Bush filling his administration with "a friend of the president from his days as governor of Texas" or "a former campaign aide" or simply "a loyal Bushie," the more I began to suspect that Bush has put people around him who, more than not wanting to see the president have to account for his actions, personally do not want to see Bush have to account for his actions.
This is one area in which Nixon failed. Oh, sure, his circle had a number of people who answered to him and only cared about the American people to the extent that we didn't make life more difficult for them. But we had W. Mark Felt, newsmedia interested in pursuing this story, and among other people, John Dean, who saw through Nixon then as he sees through Bush now.
I am no Nixon scholar, but tell me people who admired Nixon didn't take the Watergate hearings as an example of what a president should never do — in terms of not being entirely nepotistic.
We will probably spend the next four years discovering new and exciting ways in which Bush administration officials did what nobody else had done. If this is what we're finding out now, after eight years, how much more are we going to discover once competent people loyal to America are in jobs previously held by unqualified Bush hacks who didn't know if they were breaking the law (and presumably were encouraged to not ask)?
We are still discovering methods the Bush administration discussed as viable precursors for war. And we should perhaps count ourselves lucky that Iraq has taken so much longer than the Bush administration wanted to think it would:
Oh, and of those countries, two not on the list: Pakistan and Afghanistan. (And our commitment to places Osama bin Laden might be, versus places he most certainly has no interest in being, will forever be a shameful hallmark of the extent to which Bush administration officials are beholden to him personally and not to the thousands of Americans killed, wounded or still serving in Iraq.)
We are today resigned to the fact that the Bush administration cares about Bush, not the administration, enforcement and introduction of laws and policies that benefit you, me or any other average American.
A generation of high school students is growing up learning that government does not answer to the people no matter what those people say. Civics lessons are lessons in theory, not practice. And while that has always been the case, it is even more so today, when it is factually correct to say that a sub poena means you should show up in court, not that you must, and that there is no necessary punishment for defying a sub poena.
And some of that generation of high school students is learning, because nobody is telling them how outrageous it is, that it is acceptable to hire people because they are your friends, not because they are good at their jobs. Some of them won't think anything of that. And the next time a Republican is in the White House (which I think will be 2016), putting incompetent people in positions of significant oversight or power will not seem like such a big deal to them. They will trot out the typical Republican line, "The best government is no government" — omitting the troublesome fact that their tax dollars are paying for that "no government."
See, I don't worry about the people who recognize the farcical nature of this administration, where lobbyists get jobs doing oversight they have a vested interest in screwing up. I don't even worry that most people won't realize, despite the news media's relative ignoring of this situation (Keith Olbermann notwithstanding, but there's only so much hard news you can cover in an hour), that the Bush administration makes Teapot Dome look fairly tame.
I worry instead about those who are influenced heavily by the dead-enders, by the people who think Bush is doing a good job, that giving your friends jobs is honorable (which it is, when they do their jobs), that shooting first and asking questions later requires only retroactive legislative immunity, and that ignoring sub poenas is a matter of moxie, not morals.
These people vote. They enter the work force. Some of them will run small businesses. They will even run for office.
And they will have learned the lesson Nixon Republicans learned from the failure of the Nixon White House: If you're having a "Let's break the law!" party, you invite only people you can control.
Government shouldn't be in the business of perfecting organized crime.