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December 22, 2005

Presence of malice

Posted by Phil on December 22, 2005 2:44 PM

Continuing the diablog with Damn You, Sir! vis-a-vis conservative shamelessness:

David Brooks has a slimy column today (subscription required) sympathetically outlining Bush's "options" for snooping on terrorists.

Option 1 is doing it like you're supposed to, getting permission to eavesdrop from the courts, which is bad because there are all these new technologies and, "[s]wamped in the data-fog, the courts would just become meaningless rubber-stamps." He doesn't say why making those courts obsolete is preferable.

Option 2 is what Bush did, which Brooks acknowledges is "legally dubious," and could get you in a lot of trouble if you get caught. Fair enough. Option 3 is to do that, except bring a few congressional leaders on board so that you're at least informally honoring Congress's responsibility for oversight, and you've got someone to keep you honest.

That option, says Brooks, "is impossible because it requires trust. It requires that the president and the Congressional leaders trust one another. It requires Democrats and Republicans to trust one another. We don't have that kind of trust in America today."

Italics mine. Brooks just reports that condition without further explanation, like it's just the way it is, a drought or a plague for which no one can be blamed. But someone is to blame: The vast right-wing conspiracy is to blame, in a thousand ways, for this plague of dishonesty and distrust, and I could sit here and name names from now until breakfast, starting with Lee Atwater and ending with Brooks himself. In an oddly smug and lecturing tone, he declares that our constitutional democracy is broken, but he is too corrupt or too cowardly--I know he's not too stupid--to say that it's the Republican Party and its media apparatus that broke it.

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