The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, August 09, 2007

This Day in History: Nixon resigns, Bush denies reality

Every few months I take a look at what the GOP has done to this country in the last decade and find myself lowering my standards for acceptable politics more and more. First I became wistful about Bush pere. Then Reagan started sounding good. Now this:

Though then-President Nixon had endured two years of mounting political embarrassments, the court-ordered release of the "smoking gun tape" about the burglaries in August 1974 brought with it the prospect of certain impeachment for Nixon, and he resigned only four days later on August 9. He is the only U.S. president to have resigned from office.

Don't you just miss the wisdom and integrity of Richard Nixon? No matter what unpleasant or criminal things these Republican presidents did, they at least had enough character that there was a point at which they were willing to admit error and correct a policy gone wrong. Not always, of course, but sometimes.

The Boy King? He marked this special day the way he marks every other: by justifying the most corrupt, inept, fiscally irresponsible, corporate-controlled, law-breaking, globally reviled, anti-science, jingoistic government this nation has had the dire misfortune to witness with those two special words: nine and eleven.

"There have been a lot of questions about your commitment to accountability," the reporter said. "I wonder if you can give the American people some clear examples of how you've held people accountable during your presidency."

The president couldn't, or at least he didn't.

"Lewis Libby was held accountable," Bush said. "He was declared guilty by a jury. He paid a high price for it. Al Gonzales -- implicit in your question is that Al Gonzales did something wrong. I haven't seen Congress say he's done anything wrong. As a matter of fact, I believe we're watching a political exercise. I mean, this is a man who has testified. He sent thousands of, you know, papers up there. There's no proof of wrong. Why would I hold somebody accountable who's done nothing wrong?". . .

The reporter tried again. "Given the decision to commute the sentence of Libby, given the performance of Iraqi leaders, is it fair for people to ask questions about your commitment to accountability?"

Bush didn't answer, again.

"I would hope people would say that I am deliberate in my decision making, I think about all aspects of the decisions I make, and I'm a fair person," he said. "And back to Iraq, it's no question they haven't made as much progress as I would have hoped. But I also recognize how difficult the task is. And I repeat to you -- the fundamental question is: Does it matter whether or not there is a self-governing entity that's an ally in the war on terror in Iraq? Does it matter? Does it matter to, you know, a guy living in Crawford, Texas? Does it matter to your children? As you know, from these press conferences, I have come to the conclusion that it does matter. And it does matter because enemies that would like to do harm to the American people would be emboldened by failure ...

"It matters if the United States does not believe in the universality of freedom. It matters to the security of people here at home if we don't work to change the conditions that caused 19 kids to be lured onto airplanes to come and murder our citizens."

This would immediately be recognized as an inept non sequitur were Bush an oily ambulance-chaser instead of the POTUS. Why is the nation-- and especially the press-- still treating it like "politics as usual" after six years of abject failure?