Saturday, March 24, 2007

Covering Up Is Stupid

I suppose that anyone paying attention to the US Attorneys mess has heard multiple times, "the cover-up is worse than the crime," and is probably sick of it. There is a real truth in that bromide, and it bears some thinking about it. Most of the things that get attempted covered-ups are the result of over-reaching over-zealous subordinates. Something gets a "I wish" and turns into "I want." Some idiots burgled a Watergate office because somebody said "I wish I knew what they're up to," regarding a campaign that was a walk-over. There was nothing to actually be gained, a tremendous risk, and the act was carried out by entirely disposable subordinates. Covering up a piece of massive stupidity led to the downfall of one of the most politically astute Presidents.

Nixon was not innocent of responsibility, but certainly of having given such an order. His responsibility was the creation of an atmosphere conducive to such stupidity, a bunkered-up enemies list mentality which devalues opposition by demonizing it. The words enemies, traitors, and fifth columnists abounded, it took little stretch to reach the idea that spying on such was a good idea, one that would be supported by the "Boss." It is beginning to look as though the genesis of the Attorney firings was political. How large a reach is it to see an "appointed" president and his Rove looking at shrinking support demographics and a real threat to a permanent majority wishing some of those ne'er do well Democrats didn't vote. A cult of personal loyalty doesn't see independent thinking or decision making as acceptable and an echo chamber effect begins. These guys aren't following our agenda, something is wrong, somebody ought to do something, and we're off to the races. Some things are self-perpetuating and self-feeding. Once the idea is planted and somebody starts to work on it, it begins to look possible and in that possibility lies respectability, "after all they do serve at the pleasure of the President."

While George W Bush is not a retard, he also is not an intellectual heavy weight, if it gets more complicated than I win you lose don't look to him as the instigator. Harriet Meirs (oh you're the bestest...) fingerprints are all over the place along with Albies and it begins to look like Karl's. But even here people were just working over scenarios. Great goobered gobs of stinking mess scenarios, the kind engendered by people in fear of enemies, traitors, ... Then it started looking reasonable as it became more possible. "What use is power to appoint without Senate approval if we don't use it?" Look at how the possibilities for advantage multiply with each little bit of progress. Where did the actual policy enactment come from? At a guess, AG AG, though farther down the line is entirely possible.

I would bet that complete informational access would not place Bush or Rove's fingers in the pie, though their complicity in creating an atmosphere where this could flourish is absolute. The idea of gaining political advantage through use of the powers of the Justice Dept had to be appealing in the world of Republican power politics. These folks long term goals are always so amorphous and their short term ends so entrancing to them that they do not see probable fallout. For example they see "no Saddam" as so attractive that they fail to run alternate scenarios, because the short term end is "good" only their "good" can follow.

I would guess that Kyle Sampson sees himself as the fall guy and will try to hand responsibility back up the chain. The problem is that there may be no evidence what so ever up-chain. Or, if it can actually get handed up to Albie, the sword will be fallen on and that'll be it. No one will make the case that the problem isn't who ordered what, but that the mentality was fostered, that the entire White House is sick.

"Oh no, somebody tried to do that?? Well they're fired," would have put a stop to this entire mess. But they cannot do that. They have to cover, there's a sickness to be kept out of sight. The might be seen as what they are.

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