Specter — Leahy versus Leahy — Specter

I find myself haunted by the same feeling of repetitive dejavu all over again for the untold numberedth of times of a sense that history is repeating itself in the same manner of an endless time-loop that it had sometime in the past.

To paraphrase Yoga Berra.

The latest Bush Administration argument — we must stop the Democrats from playing political gamesmanship here, and pull this investigation into the realm of non-accusations where it belongs — takes a lot of galls.  Galls which Bill Clinton, or for that matter, George Herbert Walker Bush would not have dared tried to throw out — meaning this will either be distinctive to this particular bizarre administration, will be a disturbing precedent that Hillary Clinton may enjoy, or will skip the Democratic Presidents somehow and move to the upcoming Jeb Bush Administration.

The line in the sand which Bush has drawn — Harriet Miers and Karl Rove will meet privately with Patrick Leahy’s Judicial Oversight Committee and — um — chat and clear the air?  in a non-judgemental manner overflowing with goodwill and hugs and kisses, I suppose?  Under no oath, and with no public transcripts.  What is strange is that this is not the most absurd manistation of this abrasive policy.  That title goes to his closed door meeting before the 9/11 Commission, where he insisted not only he not be under oath or with no public transcript, but he must be co-interviewed with Dick Cheney.  When asked why this was needed and what the public was supposed to think of such an arrangement, Bush responded with a complete punting of any clue of the implicationss.  It was gist for the mill for the 9/11 Truth Insided Job Loose Change mill, as well as the Martian Observer mill.

There is a notable change in the attitude of the party chairs of the Judicial Committee — Democratic Patrick Leahy and Republican Arlen Specter.  Specter is showing a stunning fidelity to President Bush’s cause, stunning for his quasi-“maverick” or “Moderate Republican” labels (the Conservative Movement says “Liberal Republican”, and the National Review front-covered him as “the Worst Republican Senator”).  But he appeared to basically assuage away any independence he may have had when he kissed the rings of the Republican base (outraged by his rise to the seat) in order to capture this Committee Chair after the 2004 election.
The difference between Specter and Leahy — perhaps merely a difference of partisan loyalty — is an equally compelling though less stark example of the shift of committee chair control following the 2006 mid-term elections as that of the Environmental Committee — which switched Majority and Minority roles between Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Democratic Barbara Boxer of California.  This is on display with the current hearings on Global Warming.  Quoting James Inhofe:

“I have been called — my kids are all aware of this — dumb, crazy man, science abuser, Holocaust denier, villian of the month, hate-filled, warmonger, Neanderthral, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun.  And I can just tell you that I wear some of these titles proudly.”

It is a good thing he included the qualifier “some of these”, or we would know for certainty that he is proud of being called the particulars of … Holocaust denier, dumb, crazy man, science abuser, hate-filled, warmonger, Neanderthral, Genghis Kan, Attila the Hun, or — I suppose the only reasonable “some” on the list he might be able to “wear proudly” (unless you have a thing for Genghis Kan, Attila the Hun, or are pro-unadulterated war-mongering) “villian of the month”.

The editorial cartoonist for the Oregonian drew a cartoon published today, with the “Democratic View” of how the Attorney Firing Scandal should run — with Leahy in front of Rove and Miers testifying on a platform with nooses around their neck — and the “Republican View” — tv talk show host Patrick Leahy playing the part of Jay Leno with Miers and Rove on the couch chit-chatting innocuously.  I found it a strangely balanced and ultimately meaningless cartoon, which is to say it resolves the motives of the two parties in this little firing line, but suggests a “thesis/ antithesis / synthesis” of two “extremes” that “somewhere in the sensible center, lies the answer” — an answer I cannot possibly imagine existing nor see any reason to find.  In a previous state of power — under a merely technical Democratic Senator Majority in the whisp of a post-9/11 politically unassailable president, or of a Republican Majority welded and merged with the Administrative perogatives — he could play this role of “chit chat” investigation with impunity.  Now we see that whatever cynicism some of us (all of us?) hole of the two party-system, the election matter some.  A certain amount of bullshit is shifted aside and dumped, and from there we commence whatever fight we are waging.

Leave a Reply