Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Historical Perspective

The possibility that even some of the justices The Boss himself had appointed to the court might not cheerfully endorse a concept of presidential immunity that mocked both the US Constitution and the Magna Carta had apparently been considered for a moment and then written off as too far-fetched an crazy even to worry about by all of Nixon’s personal strategists.

It is still a little difficult to believe, in fact, that some of the closes advisors to the president of a constitutional democracy in the year nineteen hundred and seventy-four might actually expect the highest court in any constitutional democracy to crank up what is probably the most thoroughly discredited precedent in the history of Anglo-American jurisprudence- the “divine right of kings” - in order to legalize the notion that a President of the United States, or any other would be democracy is beyond “the law.”

That Nixon and his personal Gestapo actually believed this could happen is a measure of the insanity quotient of the people Nixon took down in the bunker with him when he knew the time had come to get serious.

Hunter S. Thompson, “The Scum Also Rises”

Reading Thompson always reminds me of Bush, for obvious reasons. But I always get left feeling like I'm living in more cynical times. He's got an abiding faith in America that, although filtered through his twisted mind, seems rather optimistic right now. Does Bush's invocation of the divine right of kings - dressed up in a version of seperation of powers so absurd that an eighth grade civics class could tear it apart- seem so far fetched these days? I'm not so sure.

It certainly didn't seem far fetched on Hardball, where Chris Matthews said that Bush would probably win. Matthews thinks that Bush is right to prevent Rove from testifying under oath, because he'd definitely lie and wouldn't want to get caught. How is it that someone that is a prominent political commentator can say with a strait face that the president has a constitutional interest in protecting the right of his advisors to lie to congress?

This is rapidly heading towards a constitutional crisis, with the President openly threatening to defy a subpoena and bring it to the courts. And why? Because it is our misfortune as a nation to have a president that is a caricature of a spoiled rich kid who’s parents never set limits while he was growing up. Beneath the rhetoric of “show trials” and “partisan witch hunts” is a child with a sense of entitlement that is as limitless as his sense of dignity is tenuous threatening to hold his breath until he turns blue.

And the sad thing is that the Supreme Court might actually go for it. Why wouldn’t they? After anointing him President, would the conservative majority on the court suddenly find their respect for the rule of law? Not likely.

And it is useful to recall that this isn’t even one of the big scandals. This isn’t cooking intelligence on Iraq, ignoring warnings about 9/11, illegally spying on everyone in America, torture, kidnaping, meeting with a lobbyist who’s since been convicted of taking money for access to Republican power brokers. This isn’t even one of the colorful ones, like the fact that a gay prostitute managed to get access to the White House under an assumed name. This is simply the first rock that the congress kicked over. Can you imagine what would come out if Congress really found their balls and started looking into darker territory?

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