(Double-posted on Kos) --
I’ve been saying this for years. There is a fundamental conundrum facing the criminal gang that stands behind the monstrous thing that the neocon movement has become. A gang that has hijacked Conservatism while sincere conservative and libertarian Americans cover their eyes and ears and refuse to see what has happened to their movement.
What is the conundrum? It is the problem of ensuring loyalty among thieves.
Think about it. In an administration as corrupt as this one, how can the scores --the hundreds and possibly thousands -- of complicit and/or outright-corrupt Bushite officials and cronies count on avoiding accountability for their part in an ongoing Great Kleptocratic Raid? Especially since a large part of their mission, for the last seven years (make that thirteen) has been to harass and hamper and intimidate the loyal and skilled professionals who make up the civil service, the intelligence agencies, the Justice establishment and the U.S. Officer Corps?
What can they be thinking? That the United States of America will suddenly abandon its 230 year commitment to accountability and the cleansing power of openness? That those professionals will stay cowed and intimidated forever? Even after the other party retakes the Executive Branch and clears away the no-accounts and Bob jones University weirdos who have been stuffed into the upper echelons of every cabinet agency?
There are various theories to explain how they think they can escape ever being held accountable:
Possibility 1 - they actually have talked themselves into thinking that tomorrow simply won’t come! That the party never ends. As evidence for this, witness how the Cheney-ites are STILL pushing bold new interpretations of presidential power, pushing it toward truly imperial levels...
...even though they may soon face a president who they would NOT want to see so empowered!
Possibility 2 - they have solid reason to expect that the party will never end. They are robbing like mad and pushing extreme presidential empowerment because they know something that we (the rest of us) don’t. A surefire way to ensure that their lock on power stays permanent.
Possibility 3 - even if the nation finally does shrug off both Great Raid and its sheltering Culture War... even if America acts to open up its systems again and restore accountable government... these awful people expect it not to matter to them personally...
...for the simple reason that President Bush has promised to issue as many pardons as it will take, to ensure that no crony ever goes to jail.
Certainly, the Scooter pardon is compatible with any of these theories, but especially Possibility #3.
(An aside: "If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is," Bush told reporters at an impromptu news conference during a fund-raising stop in Chicago, Illinois. "If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of." I guess he meant what he said then.).
Let there be no mistake. The looming Pardon Tsunami is one of the key problems this nation faces, right now. Because the prospect of a pardon festival is almost certainly helping to maintain discipline among the second and third and fourth layer Bushite apparachiks.
== Time for a Counter-strategy ==
But there is another side to the coin. This prospect also offers an opportunity for the Democrats... and all decent Americans... if only some careful thought would go into formulating a counter-strategy.
For example, Democrats might act to create a "truth & reconciliation" process, by which lower level Bushites could come before a committee and blab what they know about the Great Raid, in exchange for guaranteed immunity...
...thus getting a surefire ticket to safety BEFORE Bush starts the Pardon Tsunami for real, just after the elections, around Christmas 2008. (And thus not having to depend on promises issued by notorious liars.)
Am I suggesting competing pardon-fests? Sure! Oh, I know it doesn't suit the thirst that some liberals nurse, for revenge. But the TRUTH is the best revenge.
More important - since Bush's power to pardon is Constitutionally preserved, the only way to neutralize it may be to COMPETE with it.
And Congress CAN compete, by offering immunity to all whistle blowers now.
After all, a bird in the hand (immunity now) is better than two in the ... well... bush.
For more on how I predicted the Pardon Tsunami... and a whole range of ideas what to do about it, see:http://www.davidbrin.com/suggestions4congress.html