The Immorality of George Walker Bush
There is a birdbath tucked in between a Japanese maple and a spruce tree at Kiko’s House and this time of year it is a rare evening that there isn’t a procession of fat robins who take turns splashing in the water and then flying up to the branches of a nearby plum tree to preen and shake themselves dry.
I was standing at the door last night taking in this sweet little sideshow, a moment of sublime normalcy in what has increasingly seemed like a world gone crazy, when the news broke that President Bush had commuted Scooter Libby’s prison sentence with a grant of executive clemency.
The news was not only expected, but I had blogged a few hours earlier that the time had come for Bush to pull the trigger, which of course was fully within his rights as the chief executive. Yet I found myself nevertheless stunned and felt like I should call friends and breathlessly shout, “Did you hear the news?
Perhaps a psychologist can explain why something that I knew was going to happen still put me so back on my heels. But I think that it comes down to the simple matter that even after all of these years I am still shocked by the immorality of the Bush presidency.
It would have been one thing if the Libby commutation had been an aberration. But here is a man who as governor of
openly mocked a woman whom he had just put to death by pursing his lips and squeaking “please don’t kill me” after she had appealed to him for clemency. Who did not intervene in a single one of the over 150 death sentences carried out on his watch although there were reasons to do so in at least several of them. Who as president did intervene against the wishes of Terri Schiavo's husband. Who did not intervene when it became widely known that Tom Foley was preying on congressional pages or condemn his aberrance when he slunk off to a drunk tank. Who twice intervened to block expansion of federal funding of promising stem cell research. Texas
Who has repeatedly scoffed at the Rule of Law. Who has railed against the sick deeds of Islamic jihadists but enshrined the use of torture and established a gulag of secret prisons. Who has been grossly insensitive to the needs of Hurricane Katrina survivors and the poor and disadvantaged in general. Who has used the Justice Department as a fief of the Republican Party. Who has been tough on crimes high and low unless they are committed by his pals, who in his crass calculus are like himself above the law.
Immorality is a maleable term and should not be used lightly, but it is in the shameful context of the last six years that the Libby commutation is less a presidential perquisite than yet another immoral act.
As it was, this calculatingly cynical man who claims to channel the wisdom of Mr. Jesus Christ had nothing to lose by playing to his shrunken political base. And I disagree with pundits who say the president wasvulnerable if Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff blabbed. While the commutation does further the original cover-up, everyone knows that the vice president masterminded the affair that led to Libby’s slam-dunk conviction -- a crude effort to inflict harm after one of the lies justifying an immoral war was bared.
There’s that word again. Immoral.
It was entirely coincidental, but I had reread the text of the Declaration of Independence earlier yesterday in preparation for posting it on Independence Day. I urge you to read it, as well. And reflect on the words of the Founding Fathers and the immorality of George Walker Bush.