Sunday, August 3, 2008

Slate: Anxious for Unitary Government Style Lynching

Dahlia Lithwick, at Slate, is distressed at the long-standing consequences of our system of checks and balances and bemoans the fact that the current administration will not simply run to the gallows at every cry of the most radical members of a strikingly unpopular opposite party-controlled Congress. In the political world, it is something like what they call "trash time," at the end of a basketball game that isn't very close and/or doesn't really matter. But Lithwick says:
... It's becoming fairly clear that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lied and that Kyle Sampson lied and that Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten and even Karl Rove will have to testify. It's not at all clear that any of these developments will lead to any serious consequences for the wrongdoers in question as they slow-walk their way toward justice or a pardon ...
Shame. Perhaps the "serious consequence" will be something like the "serious consequence" for Henry Cisneros (who also lied to Congress), or Bill Clinton (who also lied under oath, but did so to law enforcement officers, not to partisan members of committees whose idea of "investigating" is to fill 15 of every 20 minutes with speeches laced with "distress" and "concern," accusations and innuendo), or Sandy Berger (who stole classified national security related documents from the National Archives), Richard Armitage (who leaked the name of the person we now know as the world's most important super secret spy, Valerie Plame, and was never charged with anything) ...

Maybe. But how much more fun it is to pretend every accusation is truth, every implication is backed by indisputable evidence and every partisan ploy is a pure and righteous assault on "unprecedented" abuse of power! Lithwick unwittingly stumbles into the land of reality by writing:
... None of this should have been all that surprising. The whole point of a system of checks and balances is that the branches strive and fight for supremacy, like a batch of alpha primates ...
Indeed, and what has President Bush done that compares to Andrew Jackson publicly taunting the federal judiciary to go "enforce" its own decisions if it thought that it could? Has Bush ignored any explicit rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court the way Abraham Lincoln did? If Litchwick had been around when George Washington asserted executive privilege, her approach would have been no different - except for the fact that Alexander Hamilton would have been there to beat up on. He was considered more of a demon to a larger number of people than Karl Rove will ever be! See complete dirge here.

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