Archive - Jul 25, 2007

Miers: Overclocked Lemon

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Memo to Harriet Miers: DEAR GOD, WHAT MUST YOU KNOW?

The most fascinating thing about the latest "constitutional showdown" isn't what's happening, it's the infinite possibilities inherent in why it's happening at all.

The actual crisis is almost banal in its simplicity. President Bush has stated, for all practical intents and purposes, that you cannot arrest his friends, because he's in charge of the police. And if anyone tells you differently, they're pushing an agenda and you should kick them in the shin.

In this case the crime is failing to appear before Congress when subpoenaed, the friend is Harriet Miers, and the police are the Justice Department, but the underlying principle is clear and simple. Bush certainly won't order the Justice Department to prosecute contempt charges, and the hand-picked lackeys that make up DoJ certainly won't do it on their own. Ergo, Bush's friends can commit crimes and not get arrested. It's like the doctrine of pre-emptive war crossed with the Scooter Libby commutation.

Let me repeat something that may have gotten lost in the last paragraph. The friend is Harriet Miers. Former White House counsel. Former Supreme Court nominee. Back in 2005, I assumed that Bush choosing her was just another example of cronyism over competence, a pattern that's been on display since 2001. Now, I'm not so sure.

Here's the thing. Saying "you can't arrest my friends because I'm in charge of the cops" is about the most disturbing thing Bush has come up with to date, and that's a mighty big field to be competing against. But it's true. Oh, it's not being covered and described as the middle finger to all of America that it clearly is, because, well, we all know why. The frog still desperately needs to believe the water's not boiling.

Now, people do bad things for all kinds of reasons. But most commonly, it's because there's something in it for them. If Bush is willing to flaunt the very concept of laws, and enforcing those laws, to keep Harriet Miers the fuck away from Congress, then there must be something pretty fucking huge in it for him.

And remember, if it weren't for conservatives going apeshit, Harriet Miers would be sitting on the Supreme Court right now. If there's any job a President can put someone in that essentially puts them beyond the reach of law, it's Supreme Court justice. So why was he willing, briefly, to incur conservative wrath to get her there? And why, now, is he taking unprecedented measures to keep her from testifying?

I don't know. Because whatever it is, it has to fulfill two conditions. First, it has to be worse than all the shit he's gotten away with so far. And as I may have mentioned, that's a really low bar to try to crawl under. And second, it has to be so MUCH worse than the shit he's gotten away with so far that he's pretty sure he won't get away with it now, even with a compliant media and the Crazy Third* waiting in the wings to spin everything in the most positive light.

That's pretty bad. That's dead hooker in the trunk bad. That's sex with Saddam Hussein bad. That's so bad it makes you wonder where all the nutjobs who were convinced the Clintons had Vince Foster murdered are now. We're finally at a point where near-psychotic paranoia about the potential misdoings of the chief executive are almost justified, and none of these bastards are batting an eye.

Or Crazy Quarter, depending on which polls you believe.