Sunday, May 10, 2009

What are we going to do about Newt?

Just for the record, and in case you've forgotten, the forced resignations of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew had nothing to do with burglary, arson, bribery and extortion: it was all political, unlike the $50,000,000 investigation of Bill Clinton's sex life and a real estate deal in which he lost money. That was about law and principle, like ignoring Newt Gingrich's serial affairs and tax frauds while he accuses others was -- a matter of principle.

Welcome to Republican Bizarro World where everything is its opposite. Newt reminds us that calls by some Democrats for investigations into Bush administration torture and secret imprisonment without trial practices amounts to a partisan attack reminiscent of the McCarthy era.
"The degree that they’re putting specific people at risk for prosecution is unprecedented in modern America,”
he said to Chris Wallace, without any foundation in fact of any kind. Of course he hopes you won't remember how unprecedented it was to prosecute a president for a private consensual affair or for testifying falsely about something that wasn't a crime or related to one.
“They haven’t passed a law making water boarding illegal. They haven’t gone into any of these things and changed law,”
although since the US has already prosecuted people for water boarding as a war crime it would seem to indicate they didn't need to make it redundantly illegal. We also have to ask why, if it was legal, and publicizing it terrorizes the terrorists, Bush denied having done it.

No, Virginia, Theater of the Absurd didn't go out of fashion in the 1960's, it simply became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican Party. What else would you call it but absurd if Bush didn't do anything illegal, because it's not illegal if he does it? What else would you call an argument stating that murder wasn't illegal because since the murderer got caught, nobody bothered to make what already was illegal, illegal again? And after all nobody, says Newt, ever put anybody at risk for prosecution like the Democrats are doing, just because they committed a crime -- or didn't which is the same thing you see, depending on whether it was done by a Republican or not.

And then, of course there's the danger of seeming to be "soft on terrorism" which of course nobody actually is unless we make it legal to torture through legislation or through precedent (and according to Ann, far more vicious.) By Newts logic, the US was soft on the Nazis and the Empire of Japan because we didn't torture them. It must have been coincidence that we weren't conquered.

Really, is it that they hope to wear us down or perhaps to erode logic so much that opposites will become the same and judgment will be simply a matter of doing what we can get away with? We have voted them out of office, but they still have the ability to scream endlessly in our ears.
History proves that there are always enough supporters to make any demagogue dangerous if we let it go on too long, so what do we do about them?

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