Saturday, February 11, 2006

What I Need is a Good Defense, 'Cause I'm [Looking] Like a Criminal

Apologies for my silence on this forum.

Just to respond to a Mr. Polkuote posting from a few days ago, it's clear that the reason for not having both Alberto Gonzalez and the oil executives swear oath is that the pictures on the front of The New York Times the next morning would immediately dredge up the undesired image of criminals in a court room (the worst government scandals in the last 40 years -- Iran Contra and Watergate). I think Mr. Polkuote acknowledged how preventing said images would be desirable for the Bush administration in his second paragraph, but I want to take it a step further.

Not to beat a repetitive drum beat or harp on the obvious, but much like the great dichotomy between what Mr. Bush said in the State of the Union and what he has done/will do, the Republicans made a 100 percent image decision in both non-oath incidents. They know these guys are or seem like questionable characters in the public's mind, so they don't want any touchdown images of them looking like criminals. In both cases, even for Republicans in Congress, the image is far more important than the actual work (in this case, compelling people who don't want to speak to spill the beans to the public).

Or it could be a statement on just how much of an upper hand the executive has grabbed from Congress. I'm guessing Arlen Specter (and much of the rest of the committee -- Republican and Democrat) would have been happy to have him swear an oath and and actually say something of consequence, but it's possible the White House said Gonzalez wouldn't be there unless he didn't have to swear that oath. In fact, that's what's called a win-win for the White House -- either Gonzalez doesn't testify (fine with them), or he looks to the public like he's testifying (without the unseemly images, of course), and the White House can say it is being open about a wholesome wiretapping program.

Either way, Congress needs to grow a pair.


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