Friday, July 06, 2007

For your Weekend Reading: 10 Best Rants About Bush-Cheney-Scooter

That dead soul who slinks into a room to the strains of "Hail to the Chief"... that smirk on a stick who tells audiences he's happy to take an incomplete on how history will judge his administration... that self-styled commander guy and decider who, in reality, is content to merely be puppeteered by his vice president... that guy who in refering to himself simply as "43," reminds us continually of his I.Q... has this week provoked new outrage, scorn, and deeply earned contempt for handing a stay-out-of-jail card that George W. Bush handed to his and Cheney's shared operative, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr as well as carefully reasoned and researched explanations of how far Bush has strayed from the guidelines of his own Justice Department.

Here (with a nod to the friends who have emailed me pointers) are ten of the best responses. Actually, it goes to eleven (and beyond).

Mark Morford (S.F. Gate)
...But really, you do have to laugh at the vicious antics this administration, and perhaps Dick Cheney in particular, that most nefarious molester of U.S. law and ignorer of all political integrity and deeply homophobic father of a creepily lesbian daughter and overall gruntingly guff sneerer at all moral principle, masterful mocker of everything you somehow still manage to think, even in your most despondent and ethically disillusioned state, that American politics is somehow supposed to be about....
Juan Cole (Informed Comment)
...Basically, in Bushworld, high government officials are above the law, including all international law and most domestic...
Hunter (Daily Kos)
...With each passing day, Bush becomes a little less presidential, and a little more like Al Capone with an Air Force.
Editorial (NYT)
...Mr. Bush’s assertion that he respected the verdict but considered the sentence excessive only underscored the way this president is tough on crime when it’s committed by common folk. As governor of Texas, he was infamous for joking about the impending execution of Karla Faye Tucker, a killer who became a born-again Christian on death row. As president, he has repeatedly put himself and those on his team, especially Mr. Cheney, above the law.... Mr. Bush did not sound like a leader making tough decisions about justice. He sounded like a man worried about what a former loyalist might say when actually staring into a prison cell.
Edward Lazarus (FindLaw)
As a procedural matter, the President chose to bypass long-established Department of Justice guidelines for exercising his pardon and commutation power.

These guidelines recommend and anticipate that the Administration will consult with the lead prosecutor on the case, and even with the sentencing judge... that commutations ordinarily should not be given until the individual under consideration has served some period of time in jail, and has either exhausted or given up his or her appeals...

TPM Reader AR (Talking Points Memo)
It seems pretty clear to me that Bush would not be taking nearly as much heat if he'd waited for Libby to do some time in prison. So why the hurry? Was the hurry because Bush wanted to take no chance that Libby would start talking?...
Amy Butler (Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.)
Dear Mr. Bush... Maybe you feel you’re protected enough to behave in whatever manner you want, to leave democracy and the American people in the dust while you keep your friends happy, but I want you to know I’m tired of it all. For the first time in my adult life I am genuinely alarmed about the kind of country I will be handing off to my kids....
Andrew Sullivan (The Atlantic)
... The number of people George W. Bush sent to their deaths without a second's thought is higher than any living governor in the United States. And yet it took a perjury conviction of a white, wealthy, connected apparatchik to awaken the president's sensitivity to injustice...
(For the record, the number Bush sent to their deaths is 152, including 2 women. In the case of one of those women, Karla Faye Tucker, Bush ignored pleas for mercy from the Pope, Jerry Falwell, Pat Roberts. Sullivan cites a devastating 2003 article from by Alan Berlow from The Atlantic, "The Texas Clemency Memos." Read it and weep.)

Editorial (The Montgomery Advertiser)
Don Siegelman must be wondering right about now about the wisdom of being a lifelong Democrat, not a Republican.

The former governor, who last week pleaded with a federal judge that he deserved probation and not prison time, instead was whisked off in shackles immediately after his sentencing to start serving a seven-year sentence, despite the fact that his appeals in the case were still pending...
Dan Froomkin (
... Was there a quid pro quo at work? Was Libby being repaid for falling on his sword and protecting his bosses from further scrutiny? Alternately, was he being repaid for his defense team's abrupt decision in mid-trial not to drag Cheney into court, where he would have faced cross-examination by Fitzgerald?...
(Froomkin cites A Judiciary Committee report prepared after Watergate: which summarizes the framers' intent regarding Impeachment. George Mason, anticipated circumstances much like our own in which a president might use the pardon power to shield actions that he himself initiated, "to stop inquiry and prevent detection." James Madison responded, "[I]f the President be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds tp believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him...")

Keith Olbermann, Special Comment (MSNBC)
[AGAINST FOOTAGE OF BUSH AT GROUND ZERO] ...We enveloped our President in 2001. And those who did not believe he should have been elected—indeed those who did not believe he had been elected—willingly lowered their voices and assented to the sacred oath of non-partisanship.

And George W. Bush took our assent, and re-configured it, and honed it, and shaped it to a razor-sharp point and stabbed this nation in the back with it.

Were there any remaining lingering doubt otherwise, or any remaining lingering hope, it ended yesterday when Mr. Bush commuted the prison sentence of one of his own staffers....
(See it on YouTube.)

[late breaking:
Thom Hartmann's even better rant]

Bonus section: The Washington Post Series on Cheney by Barton Gellman and Jo Becker:

Part 1: “A Different Understanding with the President”
Part 2: “Pushing the Envelope on Presidential Power”
Part 3: “A Strong Push from Backstage”
Part 4: “Leaving No Tracks”

Sidney Blumenthal (Salon)

Mickeleh's Take: The White House is counting on our national ADHD to ensure that we quickly move on to some other shiny thing and lose sight of our outrage. We're not moving on until Bush and Cheney move on. I wonder if should consider a name change.

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