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There's the written law, and the oral law, and then there's a bunch of crazy shit

I see that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is under fire for, well, egregiously violating the law, the Constitution as well as the norms of our democratic republic. Some people even seem to think he should resign.

I would be happy to hear that Mr. Gonzales (Esq.) had resigned in disgrace, or had in fact felt any sort of disgrace at all. Having asked where the outrage was a month ago, I think I should acknowledge that the outrage, it is all around. Still, I think it’s important to point out that like the felon Scooter Libby, Mr. Gonzales is being blamed for carrying out the illegal, immoral and unethical directives of his superiors. And while, yes, he should have refused to carry out such directives, and yes, it’s good to see him take some political heat for carrying out directives he should not have carried out, there is still the matter of the White House itself, wherefrom the whole thing originated.

John Dean refused to put a bomb in the Brookings Institution when Richard Nixon and Chuck Colson wanted to do that. The plan to just break in and steal stuff was also not actually carried out. I don’t give Mr. Dean all that much credit for that; the idea was crazy, the President was crazy, and evidently he gave a lot of crazy illegal orders that nobody carried out. Well, at least President Ford healed the country from that.

Look, this story about the US Attorneys is not, to my mind, about Mr. Gonzales (Esq.), although he is certainly to blame for his own actions in the matter. It’s about two things: first of all, what appears to be a fairly pervasive sense across the country that the law enforcement system and other Executive departments are fair game for political hay-making of the most despicable kind, and second, a White House that has no respect whatsoever for policies, procedures and norms. I suppose it’s not terribly surprising, given our political culture over the last thirty years or so, that some administration would come into power that holds all our bureaucracy in contempt, not because it is slow, or inefficient, or recalcitrant, but because it is a bureaucracy. Perhaps I shouldn’t be shocked. And perhaps in an increasingly authoritarian culture, it is inevitable that our Constitution and its accumulated norms would decay.

I am shocked, though. I am regularly shocked, really just about daily, by the way that this administration seems to subscribe to the idea that it can do whatever the hell it wants, and furthermore that the American system is that whoever is in the White House at the moment can do whatever the hell they want.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

to cheat or not to cheat, that is the question--
whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
or through untruth and honest sabotage
of opposition, end them. to lie, to keep
esteem; and by esteem to say we gain
the heart-felt trust of those who undercut
devoutly to be wish'd.


to cheat or not to cheat, that is the question--
whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
or through untruth and honest sabotage
of opposition, end them. to lie, to keep
esteem; and by esteem to say we gain
the heart-felt trust of those who undercut
above our station--'tis a consummation
devoutly to be wish'd.

(there we go!)


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