Thursday, June 02, 2005

If I listen long enough to you, I'd find a way to believe that it's all true

There's a certain synchronicity in Mark Felt's unveiling as "Deep Throat" and the newly founded Big Brass Blog, following up on the work of After Downing Street and The Downing Street Memo . Both situations are about exposing perfidy and corruption in power, in both cases in the White House.

And in both cases, the Right wingers are in full of outrage and contempt. In what surely is the richest irony of the day, we have Chuck Colson here:

“Mark first served this country with honor, and I can’t imagine how Mark Felt was sneaking in dark alleys leaving messages under flower pots and violating his oath to keep this nation’s secrets. I cannot compute that with the Mark Felt that I know,” Colson said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press. Colson pleaded no contest to an obstruction of justice charge in the Watergate scandal and served time in prison.
And the lovely and talented G. Gordon Liddy:

“If he were interested in performing his duty, he would have gone to the grand jury with his information,” Liddy, who was finance counsel at Nixon’s re-election committee and helped direct the break-in, said in an interview on CNN.
As Ben Bradlee says, "Liddy hasn't been out of jail thtat long. It makes me sick, Liddy talking about morality."

I mean, come on now! Here's Liddy translated:

"If Felt had wanted to really be a whistle blower against me, when I COMMITTED A CRIME, he should have, you know, followed the law. And stuff."

Tresy at Corrente has this followup about Colson:

As many know, Colson's career has had a lucrative (and lachrymose) second act as a "born-again Christian." Fewer might recall that his conversion came about after the Watergate-induced shattering of his earlier lucrative career as self-described "hatchet man" who "would walk over my grandmother for Nixon."

You might think that, as a Christian for whom coming to Christ is the only thing that matters in life, he might have considered thanking Mark Felt for literally making his salvation possible. But this is a guy who has bupkis to say when a fellow Christian hypocrite lies to the voters on a daily basis about matters of life and death, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Which is further proof, if any is needed, that a born-again Christian is just the same old turd with a fresh coat of paint.

Here's the thing: both issues are about Presidential lying, covering the lies up, and public acceptance of that behavior.

As this wonderful followup by Lambert, also at Corrente says, the times have changed:

Nixon, the first wave: Watergate, and the plumbers, were felonies orchestrated and directed from the White House. And Nixon tried to use national security as a cloak to hide his crimes. But our Democratic institutions—and here I use the letter "D" in both upper and lower case—were strong enough to withstand the assault. Hearings were held, and Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment.

Reagan, the second wave: Iran-Contra was a covert, off-the-shelf army run from the White House, off budget, and against the express intent of a law passed by Congress exactly to forbid such a thing. In this case, our Democratic institutions were weaker. Hearings were held, but even though the offense was greater than Nixon's, Reagan suffered no penalty, and the all the malefactors were pardoned.

Bush, the third wave: Name it. A war founded on deception ("facts and intelligence to fit the policy"). The Geneva convention, a treaty ratified by Congress, turned to a scrap of paper by White House Lawyers. The Patriot Act. The theft of at least one Presidential election. The Cheney task force.

For Bush, nothing. No penalties, no consequence. Are our Democratic institutions so weak?

Look, some of you out there don't remember Watergate in real time. I do. It was a THING. The only thing I can think of recently that had the same impact on our daily conversation, our feeling of zeitgeist, is 9/11. All other political scandals are just ho hum exercises in misdemeanors, quickly forgotten by the public.

Folks, Watergate CHANGED EVERYTHING. It crystallized the anti-war movement, energized the left, and taught the Eisenhower-loving real conservatives from the '50s that the Government was not to be trusted.

Sadly, these are all double edged swords. The anti-government faux libertarians and anti-United Nations nuts, eventually culminating in "drown the government" kooks like Grover Norquist, were also energized by a chance to condemn "Big Government." The far right social conservatives, like the Vigurie/Scaife movement were also energized by what they viewed as the cultural excesses of the late '60s and early '70s.

And as Lambert points out, the public was innoculated. No longer were they "Shocked, shocked I say" by politicians committing "high crimes and misdemeanors." The new mantra was that they are all bad, they are all corrupt. And the worst extension of this idea, that both parties do it. Clearly both parties comprise corrupt members, but as I see it, the Right has the edge here.

After all, Clinton, while no saint, didn't commit a crime. Nixon, Reagan, Bush 41 & 43, well...

Incidently, I just heard Kissinger on Hard Balls say that:

Nixon was just being macho and rhetorical when he discussed ordering further break ins, and that Nixon wasn't anti-Semitic while discussing Felt with Haldeman, and that, in fact, Nixon wasn't anti-Semitic because he had a lot of Jews in his Cabinet.

Crap. Steaming crap. Hank, been to Europe lately? Just wondering, 'cause, you know...

Update: corrected spelling and grammar