Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Daou Report Predicts Disappointment

Salon's Daou Report is predicting that this Bush scandal will follow the predictable pattern.

I can't say he's wrong, but I do dispute the following:

10. The story starts blending into a long string of administration scandals, and through skillful use of scandal fatigue, Bush weathers the storm and moves on, further demoralizing his opponents and cementing the press narrative about his 'resolve' and toughness. Congressional hearings might revive the issue momentarily, and bloggers will hammer away at it, but the initial hype is all the Democrat leadership and the media can muster, and anyway, it's never as juicy the second time around...

The difference here is that in the eyes of many of Bush's supporters, there is no long list of scandals. If you mentioned such a thing to a Republican they would probably have very little idea what you were talking about, as they believe that those scandals are essentially made up by a Bush-hating press.

In this scandal, the wrongdoing is undeniable. The only questions are legal ones, not factual ones.

This seems disorienting to those in the "reality-based community." To us, Bush's twisting and massaging of intelligence in support of his already-decided policy of invading Iraq is a fact. Bush's coverup of the burning of a CIA operative is a fact. Bush's directive to Justice to write legal briefs in support of torture is a fact.

To the right, these things are not facts. They simply deny them, because it is possible for them to do so as long as their hero continues his lame denials. In this case there are no denials to be made. Bush approved illegal, warrantless wiretaps of American citizens. He admits this. The report now is that some 18,000 people were spied on without a warrant.

There are two positions to take here - either it is all right for the government to spy on its citizens without a warrant or it is not. I have lost a lot of faith in the institutions of American society, but I do not think they can truly swallow this.

In the coming weeks we will find out for sure.


Uncle Kevin said...

"There are two positions to take here - either it is all right for the government to spy on its citizens without a warrant or it is not."

I'm reminded of the old joke that goes "there are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those that understand binary and those that don't". Don't ever try to boil the world down into binary choices. There are multiple outcomes here and most of them aren't all that bad for Bush.

1) It was wrong, but it has been a dispute for decades and we still aren't going to resolve it.

2) It was wrong, but for the right reasons so we'll rewrite federal law to facilitate the process.

3) It was right, but needs to be strictly controlled and the law is currently vague so lets fix it.

4) Right or wrong the president is suppose to exert authority and the congress is suppose to limit it. That's checks and balances at work.

5) The congress will suggest it's wrong, the courts will say it was okay, and we'll have years of stalemate.

I could probably go on but the point really is that right and wrong aren't the polar opposites you suggest, in this context. We have the concept of the "good lie" in our society and we have a sorta
"two wrongs make a right" tradition as well. We have the perfect ability to declare something as both "wrong" and yet the "right" thing to do.

Adam P. Short said...

OK, except none of what you wrote actually obtains in this case. There is no ambiguity here. It's not that there's no controlling law (in which case the president would probably not have the authority, but it would be a question for a court.) There is a law, and it makes these wiretaps illegal. No one has even offered a serious argument to the contrary.

PhD9 said...

There is a law. it was written to address very specific circumstances. It was violated. That needs to be put out there again and again because it only takes a freeper 10 minutes to completly forget it.

Uncle Kevin said...

These laws are in dispute. It isn't clear that even congress is willing to back up these laws. I'm dubious that the people will be willing to support these laws. That's my point. Because of the dubious nature of these laws, they may not be worth the paper upon which they are written. As such, the "rightness" of the decision to do what he did will be judged in ambiguity. That ambiguity will prevent any solid consequence for what he's done.

Adam P. Short said...

Complete bullshit. Who is disputing these laws? In what way are they ambiguous? Explain yourself.