Saturday, March 24, 2007

The creeping authoritarianism

Digby has another fantastic post--this time, a smack down of Michael Kinsley, who seems to be averse to the Democrats using their subpoena power to investigate Bush administration's scandals. Kinsley thinks it all should just be a question of voters deciding at the ballot box. Digby responds:

If Kinsley truly believes that the way to deal with this kind of thing is simply to win elections (and I assume lead by example) then it's doubly important to rein in this authoritarian impulse and establish with the public that they will not play the game this way. It is not enough in our cynical time to simply say that they will turn over a new leaf. They must show how far the other side has gone and ensure that they are held responsible for it.

I've watched this creeping authoritarianism for more than 30 years now. It's not a figment of my imagination and I'm damned tired of jaded political pundits telling me to lighten up. These same people told me that it didn't matter if Ronald Reagan had a secret government working out of the basement of the white house (Oliver North is so awesome in his uniform!) and it didn't matter if George Bush Sr pardoned all the criminals in that scandal and it didn't matter if a partisan congress impeached a president over sex. We were told to "get over it" when Bush's henchmen manipulated every political lever they could find in his brother's and father's political machinery to take office in 2000 --- and then decided to govern as if they'd won in a landslide. Then came illegal war, torture, spying on citizens, denial of habeas corpus and all the rest. Excuse me, but I'm not going to sit around and chuckle knowingly that this is "just the way it is." It isn't. History proves that very bad things can happen to good countries. Only fools pretend that great nations can't go down the wrong road.


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