2007/03/28

Broder - Dean of Pundits

David "Dean of the pundits" Broder tells us:

You have to feel a twinge of sympathy now for the Bush appointees who suddenly find unsympathetic Democratic chairmen such as Henry Waxman, John Conyers, Patrick Leahy and Carl Levin investigating their cases. Even if those appointees are scrupulously careful about their actions now, who knows what subpoenas for the memos and e-mails in their files will reveal about the past?

They will pay the price for the temporary breakdown in the system of checks and balances that occurred between 2001 and this year — when the Republican Congress forgot its responsibility to hold the executive branch accountable.

Yeah, uh, su-u-u-re I'm gonna feel sympathy! Yeah, right. Like if an habitually-drunk driver suddenly faces jail time after having gotten off scot-free from numerous accidents that caused a lot of damage and a lot of injuries. Nah, I'm just a rotten scoundrel, I am. I think that when people commit crimes and piss all over the Constitution, then those people should pay for doing that.
BTW, Congress did not forget "its responsibility to hold the executive branch accountable," it deliberately and consciously decided not to fulfill that responsbility. That's like saying that Bush "neglected" to do anything about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. He's had plenty of time to get resources to the city to rebuild the place. The fact that very little has been done cannot be explained by any sort of laziness or by being too busy to get around to it. The President recently visited the city again, but no aid or help arrived or was even promised as part of the deal.
New Orleans is dying because the Federal Government is consciously and deliberately allowing it to die.

It was a fundamental dereliction of duty by Congress

Well, yeah, but when does "dereliction of duty" cross over into active complicity? Sorry, but the "incompetence excuse" only goes so far.

The Democratic sponsors said that this accountability offensive is exactly what people voted for last November, meeting what Waxman termed “the public’s call for fundamental reform.”

Yee-hah to that! I'm down with that! I'm totally behind that!

Accountability is certainly important, but Democrats must know that people were really voting for action on Iraq, health care, immigration, energy and a few other problems. Investigations are useful, but only legislation on big issues changes lives.

Well yeah, but before the Democrats can accomplish anything in those areas, they need to get a veto-proof majority. As of 27 March, they managed to beat back a Republican attempt to keep the Iraq War going by a vote of 50 to 48. It's a good vote and represents how a solid majority of Americans feel on the issue, but it remains to be seen how they react to a threatened veto (There's no guarantee they'll roll over to vote for monet to keep the war going. Bush might have to give something up.) Obviously, Democrats don't have the two-thirds majority needed to force bills through, but there are a very great many dark corners that require peering into.

Oh, and as to how law-abiding and trustworthy the Bush Administration is, this is a piece is from the Chicago Sun-Times that was quoted in Talking Points Memo:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales dashed out of a Chicago news conference this afternoon in just two and a half minutes, ducking questions about how his office gave U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald a subpar rating.

Gonzales, who increasingly faces calls for his resignation, was here to promote a new ad campaign and had planned a 15-minute press availability. He left after taking just three questions over a firing scandal consuming his administration.

Before leaving, Gonzales said he wanted to "reassure the American people that nothing improper happened here."

Nothing improper happened, but the Attorney General of the United States could only face aggressive questions for a few minutes before ducking out and running off. Obviously, it can't be comfortable to have to explain why his office gave a "subpar rating" to an attorney who just busted the number two man behind the most powerful Vice-President this country has ever known. Patrick Fitzgerald may be many things, but the story of how he dealt with the memory expert before the trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby even got started, makes it clear that "subpar" is not, never was and never will be one of them.

And finally, Atrios brings up a very good point. Yes, there are lots and lots of very good and dedicated and professional journalists out there who are doing great work, BUT their public face is being represented by people who aren't at all serious or professional or responsible and it's very unfortunate, but the public is getting a very skewed image of reporters as a result.

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