Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bush Rules (Still)

Bernie Madoff got a hundred and fifty year sentence, but if you go by the standard of the amount of harm done – or even by the number of people swindled – there are far worse criminals out there still. George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld are among the most conspicuous. They deserve a hundred times a hundred and fifty years in prison. But they are protected by the Forgiver in Chief, by He Who (liberals still think) Can Do No Wrong. Therefore, instead of making license plates, they are raking in millions in book advances and speakers’ fees. This in the name of “restoring the rule of law” – and, oh yes, “looking forward,” being “bipartisan” and the like!

Barack Obama has truly extraordinary political gifts. He can make anybody think he’s on their side even when, especially when, he’s not especially. Witness his meeting yesterday with representatives of the LGBT community, the constituency he’s so far betrayed the most -- or rather second most, since we must not forget (as Obama has) organized labor. It’s not just Orwellian; it’s downright uncanny. Or, back in the rule of law department, witness his efforts to “close Guantanamo” by keeping scores of inmates in indefinite preventive detention. Amnesty International is on to him, but most liberals still are not.

Obama’s unconstrained “pragmatism” is replete with unintended ironies. Thus today, as the anti-war candidate pulls U.S. troops out of Iraqi cities – sort of, they’re just moving to bases in the burbs – the Iraqi government, while celebrating its “independence,” is putting oil contracts out for bid. It’s the first time since Iraq nationalized its oil fields some forty years ago. Mission accomplished!

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