Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
As we set sail on 2012, a year in which political news will be dominated by the build up toward a presidential election, the mind drifts back to events that led us to this peculiar moment in American history. Our first black president is seeking re-election--and should be a shoo-in, even though he has disappointed huge numbers of his progressive base. The Republican Party counters with perhaps the weakest field of candidates any major party ever has put forth.
Why so much disarray and disgust on both sides of the political fence in an election year? I would propose that it's because the nation still has not recovered from eight years of the disastrous George W. Bush administration. Obama has been hamstrung for four years by the economic, financial, and international messes he inherited from Bush. Republicans cannot hammer too hard on the nation's woes without coming awfully close to admitting that one of their own caused them.
Here in Alabama, all of this has me thinking about one of the great political mysteries of the past generation. It's a mystery that began to unfold before Bush ever took office, but it did not gain national attention until Dubya and his acolytes were in charge of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The mystery can be summarized by two questions: (1) Why did Karl Rove and his pro-business GOP thugs target Alabama Democratic Governor Don Siegelman? (2) Why did the Bush administration proceed with what has become the most notorious political prosecution in American history?
Those questions are particularly powerful now because Siegelman last week filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court for review of his 2006 convictions on bribery and obstruction of justice charges. This appears to be Siegelman's last crack at appellate review, and if it is denied, he probably is headed back to federal prison.
I've probably written more words about the Siegelman affair than just about anyone on the planet, so I might as well take a crack at answering those questions.