Monday, May 21, 2007

Full Responsibility

The New York Times editorializes today about the importance of the ongoing scandal in the Department of Justice. The editorial may be behind a subscription wall, but the gist of it is very high-sounding and insists that this scandal must be (and can be) “fixed” by getting rid of Gonzales.

I would agree with the editor if getting rid of Gonzales actually would “fix” the problem, but that solution falls so far short of solution as to be laughable. It illustrates the kind of short-sightedness and simple-mindedness that pervades politics today.

First, if I am a business owner and the manager of my company commits crimes and in so doing badly tarnishes the reputation of my company and harms its ability to function, I am certainly not going to be satisfied with firing him. Nor is merely firing him going to restore the reputation of my business in the eyes of the public. To regain public trust and to right the wrongs done by that criminal manager, I must be sure that the manager is brought to account for his actions; to see that he is charged and punished for the wrongdoing.

Second, firing scapegoats does not constitute even a beginning toward solving a problem. The wrongs in the Department of Justice will not be repaired by firing Gonzales, when those wrongs were perpetrated by Karl Rove and George W. Bush.

Polls show that approval of Congress, which jumped when a Democratic majority was elected in 2006, has now dropped to 29% again. This is just about where it was before last year’s elections and is about even with the approval rating of Bush and Company. Dismal.

I would suggest that the reason for that drop is that Congress has shown us that the Democratic majority is no more interested in the well-being of this country than was the Republican one. This Congress, just like the ones preceding it, will only do what is in its own best political interest, what will please its campaign contributors, what will best serve itself rather than what best serves the country or the people it is supposed to represent.

So we get showy investigations that bring no one to account, that lead to no charges or indictments. We get subpoenas with deadlines that are ignored and then extended. We get a Congress that is satisfied with the mere exposition of wrongdoing.

It’s easy to “accept full responsibility” for evil when you know that doing so is sure to be without actual cost.

America’s Cup Update

Another off day today. Oracle is on its way home, which is disappointing but no surprise.

The Spanish made a race of their challenge, but realistically we can be looking forward to the series between Italy and the Kiwis starting June 1. It should be good racing and, hopefully, the wind will pick up a bit as we get further into the summer.

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