Treason!

First, my esteemed co-blogger takes me to task over my previous suggestion that the Bush administration is to be applauded for its willingness to work with the Obama transition team to make the handover of power as smooth as possible.

Dave appears to have discovered that he’s partisan. Or, perhaps, that he’s a hack. Amazingly, he thinks the Bush Administration is to be commended for being so gracious during this transition period.

I think he’s forgotten who he’s talking about here. This is an administration that has consistently lied to or obscured truth from the country; that has regularly formed an appealing public image while performing some of the most despicable acts ever committed by a President of this country.

Then, commenter Jenny comes up with a cynical, if slightly less destructive-of-me interpretation of the events:

Kudos indeed, except that my cynical self believes it is motivated by Bush’s desire to get out of there as soon as possible.  As Jon Stewart suggested, he’d hand over the keys today if he could.

Far be it from me to attempt to gainsay these two eminently respectable folks, but I’m still going to stand by my interpretation of what’s going on, at risk of the permanent destruction of my card-carrying-liberal bona fides.

Look, it’s all well and good to imagine the last 8 years as nothing more than an enormous fraud, perpetrated on us by the most evil, nefarious, despicable group of “human beings” to wield power since the Nazis, or the Khmer Rouge, or whatever Evildoers you prefer.  It’s fun, and funny, and really breaks to ice at parties, to break out your impersonation of Dick Cheney, wielding whips and handcuffs and jacking off at the thought of torturing innocent brown-skinned folks.

And satire, which is what I firmly believe this is, has its place in American political discourse.  It’s good to be a little excessive, if it reminds those in power that a little humility can go a long way.

And, have no doubt – this administration has been the refuge of many a scoundrel, and some damnably scurrilous acts, plenty of whom I am sure we will only find out about years after they have left 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  At the same time, I do not think that George W. Bush is an evil person.  He is not The Joker, trying to spread chaos and havoc merely because he can’t think of anything better to do.  When he does things that I consider wrong, I believe that he does them for logical reasons, only with a seriously absurd sense of weighting the importance of various factors.

And so, yes: he is passing many midnight regulations right now, whose goal is mostly to enrich his friends and supporters, often to the detriment of regular Americans, or the environment, or the Working Man.  And I’m certainly glad that Maddow has her “Lame Duck Watch: Quackitude” segment every night, where she points out the misdeeds of the outgoing administration, because, as she says, someone better keep an eye out, so long as the fox is still in the henhouse.

However, at the same time, the Bush Administration has within itself the power to really fuck this country up much worse than it has already – executive powers are broad and deep, even before you get to the point of arguing about Congressional oversight and the question of how far this least-accountable of all administrations is willing to carry its oversteps.  But, at the heart of it, this is a group of people who do not want to destroy the country, and who have acknowledged that the 2008 election was a resounding bitchslap of them and all that they stood for.

And so, while they are still going to do whatever is in their power to lock in the gains they can, while time remains, they are also working, and working hard from what I understand, to make sure that, come January 21st, the nation will not be paralyzed by an administration completely unprepared to wield the levers of power.  That’s important, and while it hardly makes up for all the wrongs imposed on us by the Confederacy of Dunces, it still deserves to be pointed out, and praised.

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3 Responses to Treason!

  1. Jenny says:

    1) I agree that Bush is not an evil person, just horribly unqualified and poorly advised.

    2) I do not agree to the same concessions for Cheney. Rotten to the core and one of the terrible advisers.

    3) Finally, I agree with your last paragraph, that Bush is trying to make the best of things, which is to say, to not lose any more ground on whatever is left of his legacy.

  2. […] (OR What are we applauding?) Dave ever so nobly attempts to defend his defense of the Bush Administration for acting like grown ups: At the same time, I do not think […]

  3. Count me with Shane on the subject of whether or not the outgoing administration really appreciates that the election was a repudiation of all it holds dear. After all, there are many ways to spin this, and the President’s allies are out there doing their best to argue that by all rights it should have been worse. More importantly, on the subject of some of their more evil-doings (Guantanamo, specifically), they are arguing loudly and plainly that to close Guantanamo is to let the terrorists win. A simple search for the G-word on nationalreview.com will suffice to demonstrate that.

    Nevertheless, I will agree with you that the Bushies could make it worse if they really choose. I think an honest appraisal of what our system of government expects of those chosen to lead would argue that the Bush Administration is doing the least that they could do. But an honest appraisal of the state of politics in this country for the past 30 years acknowledges that they are stepping up.

    It’s all a matter of your expectations.

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