Friday, March 23, 2007

Worse than Nixon?

As the evidence of politicization of the DOJ continues to accumulate, it is a legitimate question to ask. Not only do we know that eight US Attorneys were pushed out of office because of either their failure to bully Democrats with specious investigations and prosecutions or their investigations into Republican corruption, but new information suggests that other cases and areas of the department may have been compromised. Yesterday's revelation that political appointees trumped career prosecutors on the tobacco litigation is another nail in the coffin for the rule of law.

The extent to which politics affected the mission of the DOJ is still unclear. But it leads one to wonder about the handling of the NH GOP phone-jamming case and the Abramoff prosecutions, to name just a couple. It would seem that the Bush White House has used the DOJ as an adjunct of the RNC. There surely is a pattern between the prosecutorial and personnel decisions made at DOJ and Republican politics.

But that may just be the tip of the iceberg. Who is to say that the warrantless wiretapping was not used on domestic political opponents. Sensible folks claimed that was ridiculous last year, but is it as crazy to wonder given what we know now. And just why did the administration request the power to replace US Attorneys without Senate confirmation? This i not some minor provision, dreamed up by an overzealous midlevel offifical at DOJ. This is part of a concerted effort to enforce political discipline among the corps of US Attorneys.

This administration has been hell bent not only on amassing power in the Executive, but in using any means possible to consolidate that power. They have been willing to toss aside the Constitution, democratic norms and the rule of law. Their sole animating value is power. All other professed values are merely tools to be used towards that end. 9-11 merely served to expedite their march towards authoritarianism.

And yet they still retain a certain percent of the population as their apologists. These 25-30% of the country are part of a cult of personality, nothing more. There is simply nothing that will persuade them to move away from this administration. Bush and Cheney could rape dead babies in the Rose Garden and these dead-enders would still sing their accolades.

We live in a truly frightening time. Not only do we have an administration marching towards authoritarianism, but we have a portion of our population who see this as right. It is fertile ground such as this that give us brutal dictatorships supported by a fraction of the population. That is not to say that the situation in the US is akin to the last days of the Wiemar Republic, but an honest assessment shows that we are moving in that general direction.

Our freedoms and our system of government have been cast aside with not much more than a whimper from society at large. It is shocking and sad to see a country that was once so proud and a citizenry so engaged become one teetering on the moral abyss driven by apathy and fear. Even Nixon did not push us this far towards the cliff.


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