Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Millions of Americans took a moment for reflection yesterday on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorism attacks.
Those remembrances surely were genuine, offered with a heavy heart for those who were killed and a sense of resolve for the threats facing our country. We suspect, however, that many of yesterday's meditations were misguided, at least in the threats category. And our prayer is this: That we will come, in time, to recognize what truly eats at the foundations of our republic--and it has little, if anything, to do with planes flying into buildings.
No one should be surprised that George W. Bush, the man who served as president on 9/11, was among those with a warped perspective. After all, it's people like Bush himself--and the innumerable corrupt politicos he helped unleash--who truly have shaken our republic to its core. Bush has a vested interest in helping to ensure that many Americans never come to grips with that. Our hope is that citizens of all stripes, from coast to coast, will one day figure it out.
Of this we can be sure: On a weekend for dedication, the deception about 9/11 continues. Consider Bush's words from Saturday's service near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, for the Flight 93 National Memorial. Bush framed 9/11 as "the moment America's democracy was under attack."
Is that what really happened on that awful day? September 11 will forever represent an attack on our borders, on our financial and governmental infrastructure, perhaps even on our way of life. But an attack on our democracy, on the ideals that form the underpinnings of our society? That can only come from within. Such an attack started well before 9/11, and it has continued to this day.
George W. Bush and other like-minded elites want to make sure regular folks never grasp the nature of an insider attack that could bring America to her knees.
Do you want a date that truly represents a threat to our democracy? I will give you one--and it comes from deep in the heart of Alabama, my home state. It's October 20, 1995, the day a man named Perry O. Hooper was sworn in as the first Republican chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Hooper's swearing in marked the successful launch of a campaign--funded largely by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and orchestrated by two relatively unknown GOP operatives--to take over state high courts. Who were the GOP operatives? One was William Canary, head of the Business Council of Alabama. The other was Karl Rove, who already had a reputation for dirty tricks in Texas but had a low profile on the national stage.
The 1994 race between Hooper and Democrat incumbent Sonny Hornsby is brilliantly chronicled in a piece titled "Karl Rove in a Corner," by Joshua Green of The Atlantic. Green's article might be the most important piece of political journalism of the past 20 years, providing details about an election that would presage much of what would happen over the next 15 years.
Why does the Hooper v. Hornsby battle mean so much? The first two vote counts had Hornsby, the Democrat, winning an exceedingly tight race. But after months of recounts and court battles, going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, critical absentee ballots were excluded and Hooper, the Republican, was declared the winner.
If that scenario sounds familiar . . . well, that's because it would more or less play out again in the 2000 presidential election, the 2002 Alabama governor's race (Bob Riley v. Don Siegelman), and the 2004 presidential election.
Rovian Republicans obviously learned from Hooper v. Hornsby--lessons that would pay off big time down the road. What were those lessons? That judicial seats could be bought, that election results could be manipulated, and the justice system could be used as a political weapon.
That last lesson would lead to the U.S. attorney firings and the political prosecutions of Don Siegelman, Paul Minor, and others during the Bush years.
All of that has left us with a justice system that makes a mockery of the 14th Amendment guarantees of due process and equal protection, a justice system that too often has little to do with "the rule of law."