Sunday, November 12, 2006

Suddenly a “Great Opportunity”

The public seems to think President Bush has taken the Republican shellacking in the mid-term elections well.  He has not. Watching the press-briefings after meetings with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, it was evident that Bush was shaken. Furtive, unconfident, conciliatory.

Bushreidcheney The public seems to think President Bush has taken the Republican shellacking in the mid-term elections well.  He has not. Watching the press-briefings after meetings with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, it was evident that Bush was shaken. Furtive, unconfident, conciliatory.
He never saw it coming. Staff saw it and Karl Rove saw it, but evidently no one dared tell the president. He kept pandering to his ‘base’ through the final moments, surrounding himself with adoration and agreement rather than the facts that were all too apparent to anyone outside the bubble. This administration has existed and governed almost exclusively by talking to themselves.
Which is, of course, the difficulty with bubbles. By their very nature, be they economic, religious, scientific or political—bubbles close out dissent and remove intellectual argument. Those of us who wrote, perhaps excessively (perhaps not) from the left or right, ran the risk of bubble-disfunction as well; preaching to the choir and preening ourselves before a like-minded group.
Bushpelosi My view is that Bush is shell-shocked, angry and scared to death. Shocked that it could have happened, angry that he and Cheney will no longer be able to run things as they wish and scared of the blizzard of indictments that could break the Reagan record (61) of administration-members brought up on charges.
After the meeting with Senators Reid and Durban, the president announced
'My attitude about this is that there is a great opportunity for us to show the country that Republicans and Democrats are equally as patriotic and equally concerned about the future, and that we can work together.'' 
Timely rhetoric in a moment when the nation is tired to death of negative politics.
There are two things America does not want after November 7th changed the entirety of the working elements in Congress;
  • By a 60-40 margin, they do not want the Congress to pull us too quickly out of Iraq. That’s a very seasoned view. They want us out, but on a timetable that leaves some positive benefit behind.
  • By a slightly larger margin, they do not want Democrats clogging government with indictments and articles of impeachment.
Newtgingrich2_1Bush’s sudden acknowledgment of ‘great opportunity’ is an aside to the American audience from stage-center. It’s driven, not by a willingness to open his administration to bi-partisan accommodation, but by the abject fear of finding himself indicted out of any chance at his remaining legislative agenda. Republicans remember well that the did that to Bill Clinton, because (as Newt Gingrich admitted with a broad grin) “they could.”
Democrats don’t have as sure a grip on Congress as did the 1994 Gingrich Republicans and Democrats, by nature, have never been as aggressively vengeful as neoconservatives. But it’s a difficult call, because this president and this administration have so blatantly lied and broken the law over such a prolonged period of time and with so little regard for Constitutional authority.
Bush’s ‘let bygones be bygones’ attitude plays well in a country eager for healing, but the fact remains that this presidency has committed egregious crimes against the nation in the name of national security.
Billclinton_1 Bringing impeachment articles against two presidents in a successive administrations is not a precedent anyone wants to set. But impeaching one for absolutely frivolous and politically motivated reasons, only to give the second a pass ‘because the country is tired of negative politics’ misses the point of presidential accountability.
Seriously misses it.
Future presidents, when they happen to enjoy control of the Supreme Court, House and Senate, must not be allowed or encouraged to walk all over the Constitution in muddy boots. Just because we have not seen that unusual circumstance in half a century until the past six years, does not mean the lesson need not be driven home. Criminal activity is what we’re talking about, not unpopular politics.
Iraq is not the problem. Iraq is solvable. Perhaps not as America would have it be, but the lessons learned on both sides of that bloody table will be remembered—for a time—until we forget them.
Unpunished crimes within the administration are a problem. They are solvable as well, without creating a side-show that subverts the governing process. Like Iraq, perhaps not as we would like to see, but those lessons—the lessons of Constitutional authority—are core to our belief in ourselves as a nation.
No one should fear that but the miscreants.
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Media coverage;