January 16, 2009
David Corn once wrote that George W. Bush doesn’t just lie, he mugs the truth. He assaults it. He violates it. The same can be said for the law. Bush has spent the past eight years ignoring, exploiting, and violating the law. He doesn’t just break the law, he mugs it. The amazing thing is he does it broad daylight and often brags about it. Last night he came before the American people and smirked at them about breaking the law; or as he called it – “making the tough decisions.” This is the reality disconnect Bush has always had as President. When faced with the reality that he is breaking the law, he merely renames it – recasts it in a light that makes him look like he had to because of his job. Water boarding and torturing people as policy becomes a “tough decision” he just had to make. Hey – you may disagree with me but you must agree that I made the tough decisions…
What? No, we do not have to agree. We do not have to agree that it is ever necessary for the chief law enforcement office of the land to purposefully violate the very laws he has sworn to defend and uphold. Bush has signed nearly 151 signing statements, challenging 1149 provisions of law. John Conyers has admitted that Bush is the most impeachable President ever but still refuses to budge. Regardless, the Bush Administration must be held to account. The rule of law is still supposed to be important in this country and the notion that no one person is above the law. If Bush, Cheney and the gang are not held to account then it is free reign for anyone to commit the same atrocities against humanity and the Constitution that they did. It sets precedent. From lying this country into a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people to criminal negligence in appointing Michael Brown over FEMA to international crimes for torturing people – George W. Bush must answer for the crimes he has committed. No one else would be allowed the luxury of claiming any kind of privilege to avoid prosecution and neither should the President – who should be held to the highest standard. Instead, it seems we apply the lowest standard.
I do not want to hear about partisanship. It has nothing to do with party; it has to do with country. It is not about revenge; it is about justice. I do not want to hear the country doesn’t want to go through it; that is a specious argument. Right is right and wrong is wrong. The past eight years have blurred the lines of right and wrong. This administration blurred the lines of what is good and decent and what is acceptable. It blurred the lines of what we stand for as a country. It blurred the lines of reality whenever faced with nearly any issue at all. As a people and as a nation we are blurred and correcting the astigmatism that has been George W. Bush can only occur with a legal resolution to his presidency. An open and transparent bloodletting of events. Painful or not; this country needs to see the public trial of what the Bush presidency has wrought. There is healing in the pain. There is growth and strengthening in the pain. It will serve as a strict warning to future presidents that they work for the people and are wholly answerable to them. Bush spent eight years basically saying he did not care what the people wanted. The imperial president. Now it is time to air it all out and see where the legal chips fall. The people of Iraq deserve it. The 4000 + dead soldiers deserve it. The countless maimed and murdered while Halliburton stock shot through the roof deserve it. Valerie Plame deserves it. Cindy Sheehan deserves it. The former residents of New Orleans deserve it. The list just goes on and on. America deserves it.
That said, I have some serious reservations that we will ever hear or see any of it. No; George W. Bush will retire to clear brush in Texas and somewhere, someone who doesn’t really care about the English language will pay him $100,000 and hour to speak about his legacy of death. About all those “tough decisions” the decider had to make. He will praise Darth Cheney and smirk about all the dead bodies his presidency left in its wake. Collateral damage for the former AWOL national guardsman who never saw a war he wanted to personally fight in but had no issue sending your kids off to die in.
Because you see it is up to the new president to decide what to do about George W. Bush. I like Barack Obama. I think he will be infinitely better than McCain would have been and I do think he can affect some real change. But I am not delusional. He is not progressive. He is not independent. He is not Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich. He is completely entrenched and beholden to the machine that operates and controls the status quo in Washington. It is the machine that presents us with the two party system; the real cancer eroding our society. It presents this faux disagreement in ideology. While the average American bickers over things no one intends to change like abortion, the machine keeps humming along, looting the country and expanding its power. It knows no party. Ultimately, when push comes to shove the machine will protect the machine. Barack Obama will probably not seek prosecution against George W. Bush. Even further, if anything ever seriously came up threatening Bush, I could easily see Obama pardoning him for the “sake of the country as we move forward and not look back.” That is the rhetoric of a lie.
I hope I am wrong. I hope the second Bush has saddled up and headed off to the ranch that Obama comes out before the American people and says that he intends to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law any and all violations under the former regime. I just will not be holding my breath for him to do so. If he does, I would not allow for any presidential motorcades through Dallas in the near future. True progressives need to be using the next three years to figure out how to get money out of the electoral process, repealing HAVA, and creating a new debate structure that will allow for third party candidates who will not be completely marginalized by the press (which would include media regulation priorities). Instead progressives and pseudo-progressives seem to be arguing over table scraps as usual. Who is being invited to speak at the inauguration and who is nominated to be the secretary of the interior. Taking their eyes off the ball. Then 2012 will be upon us and it will be Obama against Palin (one can only hope, lol) and we will be no further along the road to correcting what truly ails America. Bush will be Teflon at that point, like the Casper Weinbergers before him. Like the Iran-Contra affairs before; the Iraq War lie and Downing Street Memos, will take residence in a musty old corner of history that no one cares about anymore except the loved ones of the forgotten dead; killed over lies and greed.
Like I said, I hope I am wrong. I hope that Obama does the right thing and holds those who violated the law accountable. I’m just not getting that vibe. Like the presidential character from the movie A Clear and Present Danger; I am expecting nothing less than the old Potomac Two-Step and while I doubt it, I am hoping that Obama responds like Harrison Ford did.
Sorry Mr. Bush; I don’t dance.