It’s Over, But It’s Not

With January 20th almost here, I can say with some degree of hope:

I may never have to see Dubya’s smirking face again. And amen to that.

No more, please

No more, please

I did not seek out the video footage of his last press conference, the anti-mea culpa, but I came across some of it while watching bits of Rachel Maddow and Keith Olberman. I’m not regular watchers of them, but I was glad to catch their policing of some of Bush’s more outrageous comments as he tried to defend himself, especially on the handling of Katrina. Still, now, always, the man is genetically predisposed to ignoring facts and warping the truth.

(And speaking of genes, I am so sorry I missed the mutual pity fest that was the joint interview he had with Poppy over the weekend. The bits and pieces I heard made me want to scream. History cannot be harsh enough in judging what they have collectively done to subvert the rule of law. And now the elder hopes Jeb will one day run for president, or perhaps, some pundits speculate, Jeb’s son might take over the rei(g)ns? Please, shoot me, if the voters of this country ever elect anyone else with family ties to the Bushes.)

Here was my initial rational, calculated, well-informed response to watching Bush, carefully written down in a notebook: “Oh my god I am embarrassed to be an American; we elected him twice!?” (Ah, well, I am not part of that  “we,” and millions of others too. And then there is still the issue of whether anyone really elected him in 2000, but why go there now?)

But the president-elect was not spared in my deep ruminations: “And Obama is a pussy – if any administration should be investigated, it’s Bush’s ; not for partisan reasons, but because tbe Constitution has never before been so shredded. But it won’t happen.”

Show some spine, man!

Show some spine, man!

Obama says he doesn’t see the need for any broad investigations of the two biggest – and let’s call them what they were – crimes, the illegal wiretapping and torture. He wants to look forward. The whole change thing, right; who needs to dwell on the past when there is so much to be done now and in the months to come? Of course, what prez wants to pass judgment on a predecessor, not knowing the shady acts he might feel compelled to commit…

Well, as the historian in me knows, and as Obama does too, we learn from the past. If we expose crimes and immorality, we can keep the perpetrators from ever having any important role to play again in our government (yeah, just like happened with Kissinger, and the Iran-Contra guys, I know…) And we can maybe deter future ethical lapses (yeah, wishful thinking). But there is something very wrong about saying, bad things may have happened, but we don’t really want to know who did them or how, because it would be too disruptive. Why, what if the Republicans had thought that during the 1990s? We never would have learned about blowjobs in the White House!

I wish I had the legal acumen to really argue this point, about why we should not let the guilty, if there are any (cough, cough, Dick Cheney), go unexposed. No, I really don’t expect prison sentences, just some airing – finally – of the facts. All at once, from top to bottom. We need some sort of truth and reconciliation commission, as Geoffrey Stone argues in the Huffington Post.

But who will reconcile, in a country at some level so divided ideologically, and yet when, paradoxically, the leaders of the “opposing” parties share so many basic views on how the United States should carry out its policies, especially abroad. Those leaders are already reconciled to preserving the status quo, and the ideologues will never see their opposites as anything but enemies (and I, in some of my rants, am as guilty of that intransigence as anyone).

So, Obama will push forward, not looking back at what Bush, Cheney, et al. might have done to subvert the Constitution. And he will count on his successor to do the same. And we will hopefully pull out of this recession sooner rather than later, and defend the “homeland” (god, how I hate that phrase), and make a switch to green energy. Cool. But we will never know the true extent of the legal subversion that transpired.  (Of course, we don’t know about all of the ones before Bush either.)  I long for the insider from the last 8 years who comes clean on what really happened. Or I guess we can just wait for Dubya’s memoirs.


~ by mburgan on January 14, 2009.

4 Responses to “It’s Over, But It’s Not”

  1. Hm. Bet you’ll miss his smirking face when we’re bombed again, and Obama’s left not knowing what hit him

  2. Uh, I doubt it. Want to talk about not knowing what hit him–Bush’s response in that FL classroom. After the warnings about Al Qaeda…

  3. Of course he looked surprised–who wouldn’t be? I was, and it wasn’t even my responsibility to fix. GWB’s response was to root out the enemy–they’ve been on the run ever since.
    As for Al Qaeda, I’m pretty sure the onus for that falls more on Clinton, than on Bush. As early as the 80’s, Rumsfeld called for more vigilance against the terrorist. No one listened until 9/11

  4. Just yesterday I was thinking about how Bush’s reaction in the classroom was a clear indication of how mentally deranged he really is. How could our “leader of the free world” justify continue to read Little Red Riding Hood while his country was being attacked? That’s really fucked up.

    Good riddance. He didn’t have balls or brains.

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