Monday, January 15, 2007

Petty tyrants can hurt you

Glenn Greenwald posts on something that's been gnawing at my stomach and keeping me awake at night.
Even after six years, the more Americans see and hear from George Bush, the more they dislike him. ...If George Bush continues to appear in public and makes speeches, he's going to soon be within the margin of error of Nixon's resignation-compelling unpopularity. While a weakened Bush presidency may appear intuitively to be a cause for celebration, it poses a serious danger.
Indeed. There's nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal that's cornered with no way out but straight through you. For all his talk about not caring about popularity, Bush very much treasures the respect and acclaim he enjoyed immediately after 9/11 and now that he's squandered his political capital to no good end, like any schoolyard bully thwarted in his petty meaness, is more than likely to lash out with even more destructive behavior just to prove he still has power. Glenn of course, illustrates the point more elegantly than I do.
The reason Bush violated the law when eavesdropping is the same reason Lithwick cites to explain his other lawless and extremist measures -- because he wanted purposely not to comply with the law in order to establish the general "principle" that he was not bound by the law, to show that he has the power to break the law, that he is more powerful than the law. This is a President and an administration that are obsessed first and foremost with their own power and with constant demonstrations of their own strength. Conversely, what they fear and hate the most is their own weakness and submission to limitations.
Carnacki at skippy's place sees an analogy to the bitter and frustrated Steward of Gondor, Denethor in Lord of the Rings "who would rather see the land destroyed and the city in ruins rather than listen to the advice of Gandalf or any other." Oddly, I've had LOTR references roiling in my head about the White House for months now. But for me, it more resembles Saruman destroying the Shire, simply because he could.

Disgraced and diminished, but still capable of petty meaness, Saruman slinks into the Shire disguised as small time thug Sharkey and proceeds to wreak havoc and destruction, causing great suffering to exact his revenge for the hobbits' role in his downfall. When finally confronted by Frodo he tells him, "I have already done much damage that you will find hard to mend and undo in your lives. And it will be pleasant to think of that and set it against my injuries."

It reminds me very much of our president's mood now and America feels much like the Shire, once a beautiful place that is increasingly being polluted and destroyed for no other reason than Bush has the power to command it. Carnacki echoes my thoughts.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress need to commit to rollback the powers that were granted to Bush and to outlaw the powers that he assumed under his goal of a unitary executive. Otherwise, Bush is going to drag us into yet another unnecessary, unprovoked war.
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who sees the same solution. I only hope many others will join us in this call before it's too late.
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