February 8, 2008

Friday morning sigh

So much for the post-SOTU bounce as Bush dropped back to 30% approval. Who are these 30%, though?

And what are they approving? Good question. Perhaps it is his unbelievable sense of denial. You know. As when Bush compares himself to Lincoln. Or when he told the CPAC meeting yesterday that Cheney was the best VP in American History. Those 30 percenters must be the only ones who don't think that Cheney is some kind of satanic figure. Sadly, No has a pretty funny romp through the CPAC gathering complete with what appears to be the record for American flags at the front of the room. Because Samuel Johnson was wrong when he said that "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

And just what are these soundrels up to? AG Mukasey went back to the hill and revealed a few little tidbits. He won't investigate whether the waterboarding that the WH now proudly admits was a crime, or whether the warrantless wiretapping was illegal. Why? Because both programs were signed off by the Justice Department, so that makes them legal.

Huh? As Obsidian Wings notes, future admins should take note. If you can put an idiot in Justice--or multiple idiots--they can save you a lot of trouble. Whatever they say goes, and since they work in the same department that would investigate problems in the White House, you are done. Mukasey dodged it by suggesting that then the people who took the actions assuming they were legal would now be in jeopardy. But what about investigating to find out if the program was illegal? What about simply investigating to find out if the process worked? What about finding out if the people who said it was legal had even thought about it? Too much for this White House and what you get is something approaching tyranny.
And no, I don't think I'm overreacting. When the Executive asserts the right to disregard the will of Congress without any possibility of judicial review, that is tyranny.

Speaking of a lack of oversight:
Michael Mukasey said today that if Congress passed contempt citations against current and former White House officials based on their refusal to respond to subpoenas, the Justice Department would not enforce them, as federal law instructs.

Enforcing the contempt citation is "not permitted when the president directs a direct adviser of his, somebody who directly advises him, not to appear or when he directs any member of the executive not to produce document."
If the President says it is ok, that is it. Just file this away for a potential Democratic White House. That big file of stuff that right wingers would never tolerate from a Clinton but think is "reasonable" from this guy.

And speaking of reasonable. Or unreasonable. Harry Reid says that Bush is demanding that the Senate confirm one guy--and he won't compromise. Shock. Reid said he called Josh Bolton and offered to compromise and push through a lot of backlog appointments.
He called me back and he said, “Well, what we want is to have a recess appointment of Steven Bradbury.” I said, “Josh, I don’t know who he is. Let me check.” I checked with Chairman Leahy, I checked with Senator Durbin, who’s a member of that committee, I checked with Senator Schumer, who’s on that committee. And they and others said, “You got to be kidding.” This is a man who’s written memos approving torture, and that’s only the beginning. Senator Durbin, if he has time today, will lay that out in more detail.

So I called Josh back and I said, “Josh, that man will never get approved, he just has not credibility.” He said, “We’ll look with the President.” He called me back and said, “It’s Bradbury or nobody.” I said, “You mean you’re willing to not allow 84 of your people get approved because of this guy?” He said, “Yeah, that’s what the President wants.”

What a great leader. And 30% of the country thinks that. Well, at least we have a few sane Republicans left. Let's hope for more of him and fewer CPAC attendees.



ninjanun said...

I believe it was Samuel Clemens who said, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel," but other than that, spot-on. :)

ubub said...

Streak should use footnotes more often, so that we would know if he was quoting Johnson, Clemens, Curveball, or Joe Wilson. My money's on Dr. Johnson, who wrote a pamphlet on patriotism in the mid-1770s. Don't go to war on that, it's just my recollection.

Streak said...

I think it is Samuel Johnson, but also guess that Mark Twain loved the quote and used it often.

And whoever said it, it is spot on. thanks, Ninjanun.

ninjanun said...

Okay then. Er...glad to have....helped? (even tho' I'm probably wrong).

Streak said...

don't lose sight of the scoundrels.