What happened to the George Bush who insisted on honest government?

McClatchy NewspapersJuly 5, 2007 

Why is it that the Bush administration, in its dying throes, looks remarkably more like an organized crime ring than one of the arms of the American government? A poorly organized and run crime ring, truly, but a crime ring nonetheless.

Why do I keep remembering the George Bush that I actually once voted for when he first ran for president — the one who talked of bringing in an administration that would look more like the face of America and of giving us a government whose appointees would be honest, upright, fair and moral.

Yes, that's the one. What happened to him? Where did that George Bush go? When did he go over to The Dark Side? What enticements did Vice President Darth Cheney offer him? Was it the vision of unlimited, unchecked power over the world?

How can it be that this man from Texas presides over a White House that shelters and provides cover for men like Karl Rove and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who clearly believe that the laws of our country are only meant to be imposed on lesser beings, the man in the street?

Remember the George Bush who declared that anyone who violated the law and participated in the leaking of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame would be fired on the spot?

What about Karl Rove who works beside President Bush and is his Mr. Fixit and Mr. Fix Them? Was it just my imagination or did I not hear sworn testimony and see documents indicating that he was up to his pudgy little neck in the whole deal?

Can we not suppose that Mr. Rove was, in fact, at the root of the 51 White House employees whose e-mails miraculously vanished from all those e-mail accounts that executive-branch employees maintained through a cut-out: the Republican National Committee? How many laws governing the preservation of White House records, passed by Congress after the sorry spectacle of Richard Nixon and the vanishing 18.5 minutes of taped chit-chat in the Oval Office, have Mr. Rove and his hench-people broken? What ARE they hiding?

What about the lies and lame excuses put forward to hide their actions in the case of the missing federal prosecutors by the chief law enforcement officer of our country, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and his sophomoric young assistant attorneys general with their degrees from universities where only one book is on the reading list?

Does anyone doubt that Karl Rove personally drew up the list of those prosecutors who were to be executed because they did not enthusiastically go after people who were likely to vote for the Democrats in any election?

The good attorney general should be fired if he didn’t know where that list came from and he should also be fired if he did know and denied it under oath before Congress. It was his department, the one that is supposedly dedicated to upholding the laws of our nation fairly and with an even hand, and he damned well should have known and damned well should have told the simple truth.

Where is it written in either the federal statutes or the Constitution of the United States that our laws against criminal acts apply to everyone but nice, meek, small-statured Republican political operatives who have a wonderful wife and children? Our prisons are full of nice, meek white-collar criminals who cheated a bit on their taxes or back-dated their bountiful option awards or raped and looted the coffers of corporations and beggared the poor fools who trusted them and bought stock in their criminal enterprises.

The estimable Scooter Libby repeatedly lied under oath to investigators of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a sitting federal grand jury. Last time I looked that is a felony offense punishable by fine and imprisonment.

There are two former agents of the U.S. Border Patrol sitting in a federal prison for shooting a fleeing dope smuggler and then lying in their reports in an attempt to cover their butts with their bosses. Where is their commutation of sentences? Where is their pardon?

Instead of firing federal prosecutors who didn’t go after illegal immigrants and voter registration fraud like pit bulls, why isn’t our president demanding the dismissal of prosecutors and appointed regulators who turn a blind eye while the National Treasury is looted of billions by big corporations whose bosses write very large checks to Republican candidates?

What we have here, at the very heart of our own government, is a morass of criminal behavior unlike anything seen in recent American history.

It is past time to throw the rascals out of office, and I mean ALL the rascals of whatever party or political persuasion. If they didn’t participate then they closed their eyes to the rot, and by this I cheerfully include the Democrats in Congress who now control Congress and haven’t done anything but talk about doing something.

On his way out the door, whether sooner or later, George W. Bush had better sign one last pardon — to himself — for all the damage and destruction he has wrought on a nation that expected far better.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Joseph L. Galloway is a military columnist for McClatchy Newspapers and a former senior military correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers; he is co-author of the national best-seller “We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young.” Readers may write to him at: P.O. Box 399, Bayside, Texas 78340.

2007 McClatchy Newspapers

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