Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Schadenfreude

As much as I dislike--nay, loathe--the present administration, I find little reason to take joy at the sight of the noose that appears to be tightening around the necks of high-ranking officials such as Karl Rove, Libby Lewis and even Darth Vader himself, Dick Cheney.

Obviously, the most important consideration is whether a crime was committed, or even an abuse of power. Although we don't know everything the special prosecutor knows, it seems very unclear that anyone did anything that was clearly illegal or even malicious, as Jack Shafer over at Slate noted a few weeks ago.

As is so often the case in these matters, the principle players may have incurred the most legal trouble while seeking to defend or hide their actions--the cover-up. This is of course why Clinton was impeached--not because he had sex with an intern, but because he lied about having sex with an intern. But the liberals who see the Fitzgerald investigation as an opportunity for payback should keep in mind that someday, they may actually win back the White House. (It sounds absurd, I know, but not so absurd as it did a few months ago.) Will they want to see the cycle of retribution continue?

That brings us to the larger issue. Whatever visceral pleasure I might take from seeing the vice president in the docks, I'd much rather have an honest government, even one I disagree with vehemently. So there's no reason to be gleeful, even if you believe that the administration may be getting its true comeuppance. And what does it say about the quality of our public servants, and our political culture, that every presidency spends its final years in scandal?

3 Comments:

Blogger Sherry P said...

i've said almost the same thing for years now. i had a feeling that once the genie was out of the bottle so to say, and everyone was being investigated and smeared and accused during clinton's presidency, that sooner or later turn about would be considered fair play. everyone loses, most of all our country when we begin to look at politics as a game like football or worse as some sort of entertainment on the level of jerry springer. i sort of went into a black hole when shows like judge judy became popular, law as entertainment, clever, cutting quips and justice via sound bite mentalities. no civility, no respect. it is a small thing, but it seems after a steady diet of thinking that clever, equals right,win at all costs, that we get what we are asking for.
i don't know who said what, when in this white house. i'd like to know the truth, but once it's all said and done, no one should be rejoicing or (in foot ball terms) doing a dance in the end zone.

2:53 PM

 
Blogger Furrow said...

Hold on a second. Let's clarify what ought to be most important here. Yes it's regretable that "politics is nasty" and it has gotten "nastier," at least in terms of what the sides have been willing to do to each other (so I'm told). But in this case we potentially have a situation in which an investigation resulted in catching a person in the act of
"crossing the line." Isn't this a flag thrown on just what we are fretting about? And shouldn't that be a good thing?

And I can't say this enough, whatever penalty is assessed, the largest issue here (comparative of a sperm whale to a ferret) is the question of whether the intelligence system was warped to punk us into a war. That's where our collective attention and concern ought to be.

That said, I agree that any liberals taking pinheaded pleasure in the administration finally getting its "come uppance" without an appreciation for the deeper issues is useless, and in the hands of the right's propagandists, counterprodoctive.

4:19 PM

 
Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I don't want to sound hopelessly naive, but I'd like to think that the other elected branch of government, Congress, should be the ones acting to hold the administration responsible for taking us to war under false pretenses. Granted, Congress is controlled by the president's party with an opposition party that has been AWOL for almost five years. But criminal procedures are not the best vehicle for discovering the truth, when it is the truth that matters most of all. People have rights, they have lawyers that can keep information suppressed, procesuctors need to play things close to the vest, etc. I guess what I'm saying is that while I will take some satisfaction in seeing the administration held responsible for Iraq, this is a clumsy tool with which to do so.

4:49 PM

 

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