Topic: Bush Administraiton
Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, has been indicted for perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements. He has just resigned. So far, the word is Karl Rove is still under investigation and might be indicted later on. Actually, this is even worse for the White House because they'll have this Rove thing hanging over their heads maybe for months more to come. W. scooted out of DC this morning to make a speech on terrorism---always stick with the classics---but how long can W. stay out of Washington? Well, I guess for quite a while, he's pretty good at that sort of thing. Right now, I'm just going to focus on the other White House disaster, the Harriet Miers cave in, because this news is too new and we'll all need to take a deep breath and see what this is all about.
p.s. I can't wait for the very public trial right around election time!
David Brooks, big time douche bag:
The consensus on the failure of the Miers nomination seems to be in pundit-world that Bush yanked her out under pressure from his right wing, nut job, koo-koo base; it wasn't about documents as some Republicans and their pundit minions still insist. Last night on the NEWSHOUR David Brooks was sitting there with that cat-that-ate-the-canary-smile on his face---looking all warm and cozy over all the good work he did in killing the nomination---when out of nowhere Mark Shields goes medieval on him accusing him and the other right wingers of having their fingerprints all over the scene of the crime. He called Brooks and his ilk "hypocrites," for flunking Miers' on her litmus test, before she could even defend herself in front of the Judiciary Committee.
That wiped the self satisfied smirk off Brook's face for a minute: he, being a poor little old Op-Ed writer, could hardly have derailed a judicial nomination! "Do you think she was qualified?" he asked Shields. Of course, that's not the issue. The question isn't whether she was qualified, but rather, what about giving her 'an up or down vote?' Senator Sam Brownback (A major douche bag.) had been interviewed in the previous segment and he had maintained the fiction that without more documentation on her judicial philosophy, he couldn't have backed her and this is where the hypocrisy comes in. Isn't that always the right wing mantra when W. has sent these rabid nominees up in the past, give the nominee an up or down vote? When Democrats have requested documents on past nominees in order to divine their philosophy and the White House has stonewalled them, the right wing pulls out the "litmus test" bugaboo and demands an up or down vote. For Brooks to say his Op-Eds along with the avalanche of negativity orchestrated by David Frum and William Kristal had nothing to do with the killing of this nomination is just beyond the pale.
For my part, it's not that I was happy with the nomination either, but my concerns were more about her being a lapdog for Bush on the Court, backing his draconian policies on the war on terror; a concern barely brought up by the Democrats. I didn't agree with the notion that the Democrats should have gone ahead and backed her confirmation because it "could have been worse:" There was still the danger of her being very deferential to corporate interests and there wasn't any guarantee she wouldn't help overthrow Roe.
The strategy of standing back and letting the Republicans cannibalize each other, though, seems to have been effective both at killing the nomination and making the Dems look like the reasonable ones. On the one hand, I was irked that Democratic leader Harry Ried came right out and backed her, but on the other hand, whether intentional or not, his praise for Miers got the right wingers thinking there must be something wrong with her even before David Frum & Co. rolled out the guillotine. So, I'm happy she's out of there but the question is what is coming in her wake.
The fire breathing types on the other side have made their point, though: 'we got you into this position, now do our bidding, or else.' I would expect Attila the Hun to be the next nominee because this is what happens when an administration decides to govern solely from its most radical base of support and leave the moderates out in the cold. At this point they have no choice but to choose a divisive candidate. Bush may have been able to get Miers confirmed with the votes of the Democrats and moderate Republicans, but he decided to cave to the worst angels of our nature, again, and he's paid a big price for it.
The right wingers can't contain their glee over their big victory and are now girding for the battle of the century over whoever Bush picks next, who they fully expect to be their kind of guy. (And it will be a guy.) This might not turn out to be the Rapture they're anticipating, though, elections are coming up very soon and if they come off looking like the frothing at the mouth religious fanatics they really are, they might wind up alienating more moderate voters and independents. If they go too far, they could push themselves right out of power and into the political wilderness. I've already heard right wingers saying if the Dems want a filibuster fight 'bring it on,' and I hope they keep it up; that kind of arrogance it just the thing most Americans are really getting sick of.
Speaking of religious extremists...Iran, another country with a problem of being run by a radical minority, is getting racked over the coals for President Mamoud Ahmandinejad's comments that Israel should be wiped off the map. Today they held their annual post Ramadan "death to Israel, death to America, death to Britain" rally and gave the finger to the world community who have rightly condemned Ahmandinejad's anti-Israel tirade. The traditional burning of the Israeli and American flags will, of course, wind up being used by Tony Blair to make hay with his calls for something to be done about a country that is seeking nuclear weapons while calling for the destruction of Israel. "If they continue down this path, then people are going to believe that they are a real threat to our world security and stability." [BBC] The question is what can be done? Israel is calling for Iran to be thrown out of the United Nations, but none of this will amount to much in the long run.
I still say this is much to do about nothing, because this has been Iran's policy all along, nothing has changed, except that now they have a president who is obviously oblivious to foreign policy concerns. The real powers that be in Tehran won't allow this type of thing to continue, they have too much at stake. They can't afford to have a loose cannon blundering around pissing off India and China while at the same time trying to make money selling their natural gas and oil to them. War is bad for business, in this case, especially since Iran's position in the region right now is so strong.
If we were to do something militarily about Iran, we might find ourselves in the funny position of having to shift our support to the Sunnis in Iraq, because the Iranians have more sway with the Shiites than we do these days. If we attacked Iran they just might start an insurgency of their own against us. I thought it was interesting that during the opening of the trial against Saddam, the Shiite prosecutor, Jaafar al-Musawi, started to go into a litany of Saddam's "odious crimes" including "a war with no justification against our neighbor Iran." Sadoun al-Janabi, the defense lawyer who was kidnapped and killed later that day, asked al-Musawi in objecting to the listing of crimes not included in the Dujail case, "What are you, an Iraqi or an Iranian?" To me, that was a very interesting line of defense, pulling out the nationalism card. (And is probably what got him killed.) The nationalism issue brings up even more serious questions about our supposed democratic friends the Shiites, or at least the faction of Shiites who are beholden to Iran and where their loyalties really lie.
The Sunnis main objection to the new Constitution was their fear that it would lead to the disintegration of Iraq. They seem to be the only Iraqis that want to remain Iraqis: the Shiites and the Kurds appear to be very comfortable with the possibility of an emasculated Iraq. The Kurds are justifiably leery of a strong government in Baghdad because of what's happened to them in the past, which is understandable. Besides, they're not even Arabs and have made no secret of their ambition to have their own country in the future. The Shiites on the other hand, might prefer to have a fragmented and weak Iraq with a strong Iran dominating the region. If it's our policy to have a secure, democratic Iraq being the shining light of the Middle East, we'd better think about making up with the Sunnis, because they seem to be the only ones who really want to be Iraqis.