Thursday, April 7, 2005

Who’s Ox is Being Gored?

Tom DeLay on March 18 struck out at criticism of his trips and close ties to lobbyists as the product of a conspiracy to "destroy the conservative movement" by attacking its leaders, such as himself. "This is a huge, nationwide, concerted effort to destroy everything we believe in," DeLay told supporters at the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group.


Wow.


Wasn’t all that long ago that Hillary Clinton went public with nearly the same word-for-word complaint, accusing Republicans of a “national conspiracy to destroy the Clinton presidency.” I don’t know if a conspiracy trumps a concerted effort but politics has always been a blame-game since the days when Alexander Hamilton went after Jefferson for very nearly the same stuff.  It’s character assassination if you’re the guy being shot at and just desserts if you’re the guy blowing the smoke off the end of his barrel. A dangerous game in the early years of our nation, as a guy could get called-out to a duel in those days and seriously punctured. Can you picture Al Franken and Rush Limbaugh back-to-back?


The Clintons saw their ghost personified as Kenneth Starr walking the White House halls, rattling  cash-box chains and invoking the spirits of Whitewater Past, Monica Present and Impeachment Future. For the most part Bill and Hillary kept their heads down and kept plodding.  They knew their enemies and trusted that good sense would prevail, which it did long after the time for good sense seemed to have come and gone.


Bush II  and his embattled buddy Tom DeLay see their ghosts nearly everywhere.  Enemies right and left, even though they have a virtual lock on government, controlling the Presidency, the House of Representatives, the Senate and a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. When DeLay's ethics come under fire he has the votes to change the rules of the Ethics Committee.


Those Republicans are surely hard to please.


Not satisfied to confine the railing to a cowed and dispirited press, DeLay et al have taken off after what they perceive to be a wayward judiciary.  Never mind that it is not theirs to judge the judges, these same justices that Reagan, George the First and George the Second installed have failed to please them. Bush, DeLay and enough others to make it stick, in one tightly choreographed move, stepped over the line of constitutional separation in the Schiavo boondoggle and their own judges slapped them down for it. That’s more than Texas Tom could bear and so he threatened the judiciary at large, saying “the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.


Well, I believe he’s right. 


The only issue on which we differ is that it seems to me that he’s the man responsible for incredibly bad judgment on the Schiavo call and the judges involved upheld their responsibility to constitutional law as well as the desire of a large majority of the American public to see this thing closed.  GW shut up very quickly, but he’s smarter than Tom by a couple hundred Texas miles.


The American public gets put down constantly as disinterested slobs and uneducated, couch-potato yahoos too busy munching burgers to care about their democracy. Yet the Republic persists, weathering the storms of an occasional Joe McCarthy and ever more devastating schisms between Democrat and Republican.  Underneath it all, we have a feel for what’s right and wrong, which is the reason we’re not all Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives, highly religious or atheist.  We let wrong have its head for a while, but haven’t failed so far to get things straightened out when the chips are really down.

Controversy makes us crazy, but it keeps us whole.