Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Crisis, sweet Crisis, rescue my country

I am old enough to remember Nixon, Watergate and Vietnam. I started this blog, because I remember Watergate, and the awe I felt as the Constitution's gears began to turn, and the country turned on Nixon. Nixon was re-elected in 1972 by the greatest landslide in American electoral history. Twenty months after his second inaugural, his Vice-President had been forced out in a bribery scandal and Nixon, himself, resigned.

Watergate was no accident. Nixon was the Imperial President. He had bombed neutral Cambodia, conducting a "secret" war without even a figleaf of authorization from Congress. He had "impounded funds" in defiance of Congress's power to appropriate. Nixon's involvement in covering up the third-rate burglary at the Watergate Hotel was, really, just an excuse, a handy, "politically neutral" crime, which even Republicans could be forced to condemn. It was a bit like convicting Al Capone of tax evasion.

So far, no figleaf, like the Watergate burglary, has appeared, which would enable impeachment. It is conventional wisdom that, though we can impeach a President for lying about a blowjob, this country cannot get it together on a President lying us into war or "authorizing" torture or other war crimes. Maybe not, and maybe a convenient figleaf is waiting just out of sight, to pop up, as the Mark Foley scandal did in the recent Congressional elections, to enable the reluctant to do the necessary.

I actually think Cheney's resignation, followed by Bush forced to appoint a new V-P, who will assume real power from Bush for the remainder of Bush's term, is the most likely scenario for Bush's Fall from Power. That's just what seems most plausible to me, given the dynamics in prospect.

My musing is prompted by the swearing-in of a Democratic Congress and the imminence of Bush's "new strategy" in Iraq.

There really are no good options for Iraq. The U.S. has failed in Iraq. And, nothing Bush can conceivably do will rescue the situation, or even paper over the obvious for two years. So, whatever, he proposes will be seen in the country for what it is: an admission of failure coupled with a further demonstration of incompetence.

Think about it: admitting failure, while demonstrating incompetence. Not an attractive combination. And, that's what our naked Emperor will be putting on display, for a country mostly prepared to see it all for what it is.

Bush, after hanging around in the 30-40 percent approval bracket for a year, is going south, into hanging territory.

He's going to propose escalating the conflict in Iraq -- something that about 15% of Americans see as a good thing, about the same percentage as think we are being invaded by aliens from outer space. He's going to be doing this amidst a weakening economy, rising gas prices and a hostile Democratic Congress investigating the extensive corruption and criminal wrong-doing, which has characterized his Administration.

This is not going to be pretty, but it may be perverse fun.

Steve Gilliard has had similar prophetic inklings:
I know people don't believe me, but I don't think Bush's presidency survives a rejection of his Iraq plan. Because there will be hearings and hard questions and unlike the GOP, people will expect answers. If Terri Schaivo began the road to the end of the GOP domination of Congress, this will do the same for Bush.

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