March 20, 2007
President Bush is still living in fantasyland. I guess you can’t blame him, since he has resided there for so many years now with the protection of his republican controlled Congress. For five years Bush enjoyed being the only person to have the ability to “play politics.” He had a subservient Congress that abdicated their responsibility to provide oversight to the executive branch of government. Thus he had a free reign to do whatever he felt with little to no objection. Want to torture people as policy? No problem. Want to strip Habeas Corpus from the Constitution? No problem. But that gravy train ended last November when the American people stood up and said no more to unchecked executive power. In doing so the balance was restored to this country’s government and now what we see is called Congressional Oversight. This is how our government was designed. It was not designed to be one party controlling everything. No one branch was intended to be any more powerful then another.
And so we come to the debacle of the fired US Attorneys. The problems that exist now are all the doing of the White House and their insistence on being dishonest. They initially contended that these attorneys were dismissed for performance reasons, but that was quickly proven to be untrue. When that claim was debunked, they switched their tune and claimed that these attorneys were not “team players”, another scurrilous charge that has proven to have no merit. All along the White House has claimed that there was no politics involved, only to have embarrassing emails prove them to be liars. They tried claiming there was no White House involvement but those same emails proved them to be liars on that count as well. Those emails have revealed that the main motive was political and that each of these attorneys was working on cases prosecuting republican corruption. Digging deeper we have discovered that some of these attorneys were inappropriately contacted by congressional republicans to try and sway prosecutions. One of the fired attorneys was replaced by a personal protégé of Karl Rove. Not political? The entire debacle was political from the moment they decided to fire these attorneys who appear to have done very little to deserve their terminations.
Given this backdrop we come back to this president today; giving a press conference to remind the American people that he is simply devoid of reality. In Bush-land, when you fire a hand-picked set of US attorneys because they are exploring charges against your party, that is good government, but when the Congress chooses to want to get to the bottom of the truth, they are “playing politics.” There he was in full cowboy-bravado, thumbing his nose at the American people. Bush proposed what he called a “reasonable” offer to the Congress and essentially tried to bully them. Mr. Bush remains very confused about the way Congressional Oversight actually works. The president does not get to decide how Congress oversees the executive branch; even though that is what the GOP allowed Bush since 2002. The “reasonable” offer from Bush is that he would allow his people, including Karl Rove and Harriet Miers to talk to Congress but only in private and if there was no recording, no transcripts, and no oath-taking. Did you get that America? The president seems to continue to think that he is above the law. What on earth would be the point of questioning people without a record? What would be the motivation from Bush? Plausible deniability obviously. Without a record or transcript everyone can later claim to have not said something. What would be the point of having it in private? So the American people can’t see what is really going on. What is the point of refusing to swear in these folks? Just ask Scooter Libby what happens when you lie under oath. That is what this ploy was all about. Bush proposed a deal which is no deal at all. He proposed to allow his people to lie to Congress, gee, thanks, what a deal.
The overall sense is that the Attorney General has lied under oath to Congress. Several republican congresspersons have admitted to contacting US attorneys about ongoing cases; a possible ethical violation. The sad truth is that this groundswell of outrage is due largely to the bumbling and lying from the administration that now is crying “politics.” George Bush lost his credibility quite a long time ago but is still amusing to see him stride to the podium with that glazed-over, freshly tasered, deer-in-the-headlights look that only he can do and pretend he still has a shred of integrity left. To have this man, who has played politics with every decision he has made for five years; from sending our kids to die in a war based on lies to destroying the Constitution with over 800 signing statements, whine about Congress actually demanding to know the truth is laughable on it’s face and sad to the core of our democracy. It was his decision to fire these attorneys. It was his decision to lie about those firings. Now he wants to pretend that the Democratic Congress investigating these matters are the bad guys.
In a game of political chicken, George Bush drew a line in the sand today that the democrats will gladly cross. They will issue subpoenas and the White House will again defy the will of the American people and break the law, knowing that a recent appointee of Alberto Gonzalez awaits the decision to convene a Grand Jury or not. He does so with such faux bravado and a sense of dis-reality that one is left wondering if George Bush is even aware how ridiculous he sounds these days. With only 30% of this country standing by this man, Fantasyland must be getting very lonely these days.