March 9, 2008

Ok, you guys explain this

Many are writing about Bush's veto of the torture bill. I find it horrific and the last in a long line of shameful acts by this President. But it does raise a question in my mind. Why would he do this? He has ignored Congressional action before. He wrote a signing statement on the first anti-torture bill where he said he would ignore it if he felt it in our national security.

So why not simply sign it into law and then ignore it if he feels like it? Why attach his name to torture as his administration's legacy? Surely his political people have suggested that. Unless, of course, they really believe that the Bush base doesn't mind torture (which I also believe). But that doesn't explain this completely.

Any ideas?


leighton said...

Best guess is he honestly thinks he's doing a good job. This is a key example of why I don't think sincerity is a virtue, any more than not deliberately driving on to the sidewalk to hit pedestrians is a virtue. You demand it when it's missing, but it gets you nothing when it's present.

Streak said...

Great point. I remember someone in seminar saying about some historical figure, "well, you have to admit that they stood for what they believed." My prof said, "Yeah, well so did Hitler."

On another note, btw, I received one of those emails comparing Bush's Crawford home to Gore's and it suggested that Bush's was "greener" than Gore's. Gore pays for all his power from renewable and non-polluting sources, but the point was still hypocrisy. My thought was that the hypocrisy went the other way. Why would Bush take the time to make his house green if he doesn't care about that stuff? Why not push for better environmental standards, even if they are market driven and incentives rather than punishing regulations?

One thought came to mind that he might be a reasonable person in private, but is easily pushed by public ego and manipulated by soul-less robots like Cheney.

leighton said...

I don't know about Texas, but in Colorado you can sometimes get property tax reductions for making your property sufficiently "green" under LEED criteria. If that's a factor, Bush is being consistent in evading taxes as much as he possibly can.

I find I just don't care much about hypocrisy anymore. Its use in political discourse seems to have become limited to "Candidate X is a hypocrite about Issue Y, so Candidate Z is clearly the only remaining choice." It seems to be just an excuse to oversimplify the messy process of picking a representative who will do the most good for the most people under conditions that are far less than ideal. You can't avoid oversimplifications, but this one seems particularly useless to me.

leighton said...

One thought came to mind that he might be a reasonable person in private, but is easily pushed by public ego and manipulated by soul-less robots like Cheney.

Some of my boss's colleagues who've met him say he comes across as perfectly ordinary and charming in person, except that it's clear from the way he talks and thinks that he couldn't manage a feedbag onto a hungry horse. He's so preoccupied with getting people to like him that he never bothers to think about anything else, which is partly why the things that piss him off aren't the accusations of criminal misconduct in his administration, so much as the suggestions that his delusions of competence don't actually measure up to reality.

ubub said...

What is the ideolologic behind signing statements? From what I understand, it seems that he could issue a signing statement asserting his role as chief executive, which includes oversight of the CIA. In that role, under this ideologic, he could direct the CIA to do whatever he wants. This is definitely puzzling, unless he is being less heavy handed in asserting the Unitary Executive and falling back to a more traditional presidential role.

What are the implications for his sucessor? Might he in some sense be preparing for a Dem in office next?

Streak said...

I wonder if this is more about protecting certain people from criminal charges after he is out of office. But I don't know.

steves said...

Streak, I think you are exactly correct. It is my understanding that if the Justice Departmen ok's everything, then it will be almost impossible to prosecute anyone down the road. OTOH, the DOJ isn't going to ok torture if this law was passed.