Olbermann 7-3-07

 Posted by at 22:19  Politics
Jul 032007

Keith Olbermann’s special comment was especially powerful tonight…

Olbermann: Bush, Cheney should resign

olbermann-keith.jpg“I didn’t vote for him,” an American once said, “But he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

That—on this eve of the 4th of July—is the essence of this democracy, in 17 words. And that is what President Bush threw away yesterday in commuting the sentence of Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

The man who said those 17 words—improbably enough—was the actor John Wayne. And Wayne, an ultra-conservative, said them, when he learned of the hair’s-breadth election of John F. Kennedy instead of his personal favorite, Richard Nixon in 1960.

“I didn’t vote for him but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

The sentiment was doubtlessly expressed earlier, but there is something especially appropriate about hearing it, now, in Wayne’s voice: The crisp matter-of-fact acknowledgement that we have survived, even though for nearly two centuries now, our Commander-in-Chief has also served, simultaneously, as the head of one political party and often the scourge of all others.

We as citizens must, at some point, ignore a president’s partisanship. Not that we may prosper as a nation, not that we may achieve, not that we may lead the world—but merely that we may function.

But just as essential to the seventeen words of John Wayne, is an implicit trust—a sacred trust: That the president for whom so many did not vote, can in turn suspend his political self long enough, and for matters imperative enough, to conduct himself solely for the benefit of the entire Republic.

Our generation’s willingness to state “we didn’t vote for him, but he’s our president, and we hope he does a good job,” was tested in the crucible of history, and earlier than most.

And in circumstances more tragic and threatening. And we did that with which history tasked us.

We enveloped our President in 2001.And those who did not believe he should have been elected—indeed those who did not believe he had been elected—willingly lowered their voices and assented to the sacred oath of non-partisanship.

And George W. Bush took our assent, and re-configured it, and honed it, and shaped it to a razor-sharp point and stabbed this nation in the back with it.

Were there any remaining lingering doubt otherwise, or any remaining lingering hope, it ended yesterday when Mr. Bush commuted the prison sentence of one of his own staffers.

Click on the headline to read the entire article. It’s well worth your time.

Update: YouTube video here.

DMN surprise

 Posted by at 19:05  Politics
Jul 032007

We live in Dallas, Texas… the very heart of Bush Country. This morning’s editorial in The Dallas Morning News caught me completely off guard…

Power of the President: Bush’s loyalty to Libby is misguided

Nearly a decade ago, a GOP-led House impeached President Bill Clinton for lying under oath and obstructing justice in a civil deposition. Yesterday, a Republican president commuted the sentence of former top White House staffer Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who was convicted of the same thing in a criminal investigation.

Republicans are known for being tough on crime. Apparently there’s an exception when the criminal is a member of President Bush’s inner circle.

The only way Mr. Bush’s astonishing move would have been more objectionable is if he had issued a pardon. The commutation means Mr. Libby will serve no jail time for his crime. The conviction still stands, and with it two years’ probation, as well as a $250,000 fine – which will no doubt be easily covered by the money Mr. Libby’s friends have already raised.

Still, the message this sends is that you can obstruct justice by lying under oath and never do a moment’s time in prison – if you are a friend of the president.


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Reactions to Bush/Libby

 Posted by at 18:14  Politics
Jul 032007

Reactions to George W. Bush’s decision yesterday have been mixed, as you would expect. It is perhaps a good thing that Mr. Bush took this action when he did. It allows us to see early in the 2008 presidential campaign which candidates respect our laws and our judicial system and which do not. (Mr. Bush, of course, falls into the later group.) The Associated Press compiled the reactions of some of the major candidates. Here are a few:

“While for a long time I have urged a pardon for Scooter, I respect the president’s decision. This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life.” – Former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn.

“This is exactly the kind of politics we must change so we can begin restoring the American people’s faith in a government that puts the country’s progress ahead of the bitter partisanship of recent years.” – Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

“After evaluating the facts, the president came to a reasonable decision and I believe the decision was correct.” – former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

“Only a president clinically incapable of understanding that mistakes have consequences could take the action he did today. President Bush has just sent exactly the wrong signal to the country and the world.” – former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.

“This commutation sends the clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and ideology trump competence and justice.” – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.

“It is time for the American people to be heard – I call for all Americans to flood the White House with phone calls tomorrow expressing their outrage over this blatant disregard for the rule of law.” – Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.

“By commuting Scooter Libby’s sentence, the president continues to abdicate responsibility for the actions of his administration. The only ones paying the price for this administration’s actions are the American people.” – Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.

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