Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Do Americans deserve this?

Commentary by Pat Murphy


Pat Murphy

Such is the nature of America's worsening political ethic that:

· Texas Republican U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison considers lying to a grand jury about leaking a CIA agent's name a mere "perjury technicality"—although she joined in impeaching Bill Clinton for "high crimes and misdemeanors" for lying about oral sex with an intern, an act that didn't endanger national security.

· Deposed House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, the American exemplar of dirty politics, complains his indictments on money laundering and violating campaign laws is purely "political," not illegal or unethical.

· This Bush White House used willing news media to out the CIA wife of war critic Joseph Wilson to protect phony grounds for attacking Iraq—thereby violating the 1982 "Intelligence Identities Protection Act" enacted at the insistence of ex-CIA director and then-Vice President George Bush Sr., Junior's father, to shield CIA employees.

· The "culture of life" Bush presidency is demanding Congress legalize the mortifying abuse and torture of Iraq war detainees, even as Bush dispatches his longtime Texas nanny, Karen Hughes, with oily reassurances for Muslims the U.S. really is humane and, besides, forget about detainees being humiliated or killed during torture.

· Indicted White House leaker and vice presidential right-hand man I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby claims he didn't lie to a grand jury, only suffered a faulty memory several times—despite his brainy genius for meticulously masterminding the detailed deception justifying the attack on Iraq.

· The government's premier disaster-assistance agency, FEMA, was put in the hands of a hopelessly bungling hack as patronage for working in a presidential campaign. And, most recently, a U.S. Supreme Court seat almost was President Bush's lifetime gift to a grossly unfit Texas lawyer renowned for making President Bush feel smart and important with her adoring mash notes.

· Democrat leaders with no noticeable achievements or backbone, who now scold Republicans, have been partners in every deplorable White House decision leading to war in Iraq, passage of the civil rights-choking Patriot Act, bankrupting America through irresponsible tax cuts and spending, greedy pork barrel projects and approving unqualified presidential cronies for critical government posts. They have utterly no right for self-righteousness.

Americans, often treated as stupid by politicians, are finally catching on: A Washington Post-ABC poll published last weekend found that by a 3-to-1 ratio—46 to 15 percent—Americans say government honesty and ethics have declined under President Bush, despite campaign promises of restoring "integrity" in the White House, while a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll finds 55 percent consider the Bush presidency a "failure."

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