Monday, March 26, 2007

Corruption as Policy

Every time the Bush administration abuses their power or wreaks a bit of havoc on the country, I struggle to respond appropriately. The problem is that it is just such old news that these people are morally bankrupt. Continuing to point out their follies is just continuing to beat the proverbially dead horse.

The predicament is that this horse is still in power, which makes it not dead at all, but one that continues to charge around the barn, whacking other people, objects and barnyard animals. Plus, there is still a mysterious 30-some percent of people who still approve of the job Bush is doing. I suppose at some point, facts and logic simply don’t matter.

For instance, in the latest flair up concerning the fired federal prosecutors, it seems obvious that they were fired for political reasons. Their sins were to follow up on real corruption by Republicans and not follow up on fake corruption charges in order to smear Democrats right before an election. The justice department didn’t even bother to check on the actual performance of many of them before letting them go.

The administration response? Prosecutors are political appointees, and serve at the president’s pleasure, so he can fire them for any reason. Right. That’s like saying you can beat your wife because you believe yourself to be the head of the family. She serves at your pleasure and if you decide she needs to be more loyal, you will beat her if you need to.

I suppose the administration has forced itself down this route, since enough info has already come out that they can’t plausibly deny they were fired for political reasons. They are just trying to define “political” as “carry out generic policy” rather than “protect Republicans from the law and smear political opponents by any means.” This isn’t carrying out policy. It is simple corruption. Or rather, it is corruption AS policy, the kind of thing I used to expect from third world dictatorships, but now have to soul-search on whether to even complain about, for fear of sounding like broken record.

Perhaps the problem isn’t with the Bush Administration itself, since any administration will lie or spin when caught in an obvious misdeed. The problem is with the Limbaughs and Hannitys and Fox news folks who perpetuate these claims with straight faces and even indignation. It allows 30 percent or so of the people to continue to live in a bubble where it is only the one bomb a day that ruins people’s perceptions of how well things are going in Iraq, or that any and all accountability directed at Bush is liberal media bias.

But, here I go again, getting all unattractively huffy. Probably the right approach with Bush and Limbaugh and Fox news is to simply expect the craziness, point it out with a dash of ridicule, but try not to get too self-righteous or angry about it. I will constantly fail at this, but it is a nonetheless a worthy goal.


brownie said...

"there is still a mysterious 30-some percent of people who still approve of the job Bush is doing. I suppose at some point, facts and logic simply don’t matter."

Facts are one thing. Logic is quite another. Some people know full well the fact that Islamic extremists declared war on our country ten years ago, but their logic leads them to believe we should just run and hide. As if burying our heads in the sand will make all the bad stuff go away. Sorry.

Some people know the fact that George Bush broke the law when he ordered the NSA to listen into Americans conversations and emails without issuing warrants, yet their logic leads them to the conclusion that this clear breach of the law is not an impeachable offense.

Facts and logic can and are distorted, abused, and ignored by BOTH sides.

The fact that you only seem to recognize this on one side leads me to logically believe you are not interested in being honest and fair, just partisan.

But I still love you.

snarkbutt said...

Prosecutors are political appointees, and serve at the president’s pleasure, so he can fire them for any reason.

I like to respond to this by pointing out that Congress, like the president, are only exercising their constitutional power by issuing subpeonas to administration officials. If the president wants to play the "it's my perogative" game, then he should expect Congress to do the same. This indignation over the subpeona for Rove to testify under oath is ludicrous. If they haven't done anything wrong, then why are they so afraid to testify under oath? It drives me absolutely batshit.

Your huffiness aside, I think it's the cover-up that's most likely to get them into trouble, not the firings themselves. Gonzalez has already lied about this, and that's what prompted the subpeonas.

With every fresh scandal, I keep asking myself, "Is this the one that will finally bring them down?" I'm still convinced, despite all the recent history against it, that Bush will have a Nixonesque end. And it will be some small, stupid, complicated technicality, like Watergate, that will do it.

It's only a matter of time.

Dan S said...

Brownie: Your response is a good example of how a lot of conservatives argue these days. Instead of addressing the specific corruption at hand by conservatives, simply point out that at one time someplace else a liberal was corrupt, so there is a moral equivalency between left and right, and therefore I am not being "fair" by pointing out conservative corruption.

It is also ironic that you would choose an example that proves my point. Name me one liberal anywhere who believes that our response to Islamic fundamentalism is that we "should just run and hide [and bury our heads in the sand]". You are choosing facts that don't exist to support the faulty logic that one must find moral equivalency to all sides of an argument.

Question for you: Are you willing to extend this moral equivalency to Islamic Fundamentalism? By your logic, isn't it unfair for us to only focus on the buildings they blow up, rather than other good things they may do in the world?

Dan S said...

Snark, I'm not holding my breath. As Brownie notes, Bush was caught redhanded breaking the law with wiretapping, yet nothing is being done about it. Democrats are apparently having a hard time breaking the weenie habit. Although, attempting to defund the war is a good start.

I'm guessing at this point that Bush's deal with the evil forces of doom includes a "No Impeachment" clause.

snarkbutt said...

I'm not holding my breath

You said the same thing about the Chief. These things don't happen overnight, but they do happen. Patience. You're starting to sound like Brownie, who accused the new Democratic Congress of failure two days after the election.

It's only been two months, and the momentum is already shifting. And even if Bush doesn't get impeached, history is on our side. The history books are written by "liberal" college professors, and Bush's legacy is going down in flames.

It's not your huffiness that's unattractive, it's the pessimism.

Dan S said...

I have no doubt that history will judge Bush harshly. But, it is hard for me to break the pessimism habit, I guess.

Someone pointed out that this prosecutor scandal would not have gotten off the ground had Democrats not won the election. It is the power of subpenoa that is finally allowing misdeeds to be investigated. So, there is indeed a difference between the parties, as I like to point out whenever possible.

Charles said...

Politics is politics -- and appointees are going to get slammed -- especially when they don't toe the Bush hard line or refuse to put one of Karl Rove's appendages in an orafice. Separation of powers be damned. If it isn't clear by now that these guys think the Executive is the only branch of Government that matters, you just haven't been awake the past few years. It would even be somewhat tolerable to me if they had the guts to actually take the heat for their decisions. "Um, well, we just wanted to replace these guys, so we did." However, I find the incessant (and I might add, incompetent) lying offensive and ironic.

Offensive in that this is the Executive that has papered the Capitol with lies and distortions that have cost my unborn great-grandchildren billions of dollars and cost thousands of Americans their lives. And still they remain, unrepentant, spinning away their remaining years with crappy, poorly executed lies like this, rather than actually trying to clean up the mess they made.

Ironic in that they are the very same hypocritical bastards who impeached another President for simply lying about a blow job.

Which is the real "High crime and misdemeanor"?

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to wonder how many variant spellings of "subpoena" we can come up with. We've got two already, but I bet we could come up with some more.

wife of snark

Fingtree said...

It's like we all serve at the pleasure of this Bafoon King George the 1st of the Worst! What ever happened to being elected by the people for the people to serve the people? I'm sick of these bumper sticker lines this administration uses as talking points. They are so offensive, immature and lack substance. I Overstand that they have to keep their talking points simple, due to the limited abilities of G.W.. Having a Bozo the Clown like figure head for your cause only allows for it being a circus show.

Fingtree said...

It is compfrorting for me to no that there is a spelling cop in da houwse. We can bi-pass any pesky time consuming spell check buttons now that Snark's wife is on duty or is it dutie?

snarkbutt said... that Snark's wife is on duty or is it dutie?

I think it's "doody."