Sunday, August 03, 2008

No honor, no dignity

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Greetings from Prince Edward Island, everyone. As I write, I'm looking out over New London Bay, just west of Cavendish and PEI National Park. It's a cool, gray day, but still beautiful. And relaxing. And, thankfully, still early in my vacation.

As I mentioned the other day, I'll blog while I'm here, infrequently, but, clearly, the blog is in good hands, with the co-bloggers having already put up some excellent posts over the past few days.

Keep checking back for more from me and much more from them.


Over at C&L, Jon Perr notes that it was eight years ago today that George W. Bush, accepting his party's nomination for president, "promised to restore 'honor and dignity' to the White House":

At the time it was delivered, Bush's acceptance speech at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia was an arrogant, deceitful broadside against the Clinton/Gore years. But the very words Bush used to tar Al Gore with the blight of the Lewinsky scandal may now constitute the epitaph for the Bush presidency:

So when I put my hand on the Bible, I will swear to not only uphold the laws of our land, I will swear to uphold the honor and dignity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God.

That hateful address (video excerpts here), of course, was filled with exactly the kind of lies and taunts -- the smallness -- that came to define George W. Bush.


Eights years later and Bush's 2000 standard of "not only what is legal but what is right" is in tatters. Just this week, Bush's own Justice Department issued a report which concluded that Monica Goodling, the former White House liaison for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, violated federal law and DOJ policy by discriminating against job applicants who weren't faithful Republicans or conservative activists.

And that's just the beginning. Plamegate, the Libby pardon, the Abramoff affair, doctoring scientific reports, the end of habeas corpus, detainee torture, the politically-motivated firings of U.S. attorneys, illegal domestic surveillance, the theory of the unitary executive and the unprecedented assertion of executive privilege all show a President committed to doing neither what is legal nor right. And then, of course, there's Iraq.

It's almost over, of course, but an extraordinary amount of damage has been done. And, with McCain running for what would be a third Bush term, or worse, there is the potential for much more damage to be done.

Americans would do well to remember what happened eight years ago -- and what was said eight years ago -- when they go to the polls this November to vote in one of the most important elections in their history.

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