There is so much going on, what with the economy, multiple wars, the crisis in Gaza, and the terrible threat posed to America by Rick Warren’s minor speaking role at the inauguration, that it is easy to forget how deeply and utterly screwed we are right now, and that every portion of our government has been infected with the Bush rot:
After 29 years enforcing the civil rights laws at the Department of Justice, in 2002 Richard Ugelow was abruptly transferred from his position as deputy chief of employment litigation to an administrative job in the civil division, which defends the government against, among other things, claims of civil rights violations. Ugelow was just one of many highly experienced justice department lawyers who, beginning in the early years of the Bush administration, were transferred, demoted or otherwise pushed out of their positions at Justice because their aggressive enforcement of federal laws didn’t match the new administration’s conservative ideology.
That’s just one of the many serious problems at the Department of Justice that the incoming Obama administration will have to rectify, say former Justice Department employees, law professors and civil rights advocates. As internal government reports and congressional hearings have documented, the Bush Justice Department over the last eight years expelled or ignored attorneys that it didn’t agree with and replaced them with inexperienced lawyers hired more for their ideology than their qualifications. Many of those promoted and implemented conservative agendas that in some cases turned out to be illegal. Those lawyers who were given career positions can’t simply be pushed out by a new administration, however – and they could make it difficult for Obama to implement a new agenda.
On our plate we currently have a number of disasters, near disasters, and emerging disasters we have to deal with immediately. The hurdles for the incoming administration are mind-numbing, notwithstanding the infighting among the rival factions within the Democratic party, and that is without factoring in the Republican party, who can be counted on to sabotage anything and everything if there is the slightest hint of electoral gain to be had. As an example of the sort of nonsense we will be expected to swallow (on top of the Yoo/Bolton bit in the post below this), just today we learn from Mitch McConnell that the Republicans are fiscal conservatives! Who would have thunk it! When did this happen?
November 4th, at around 11 o’clock, to be exact. We all knew they were going to have to re-write history, to re-invent themselves as fiscal conservatives, we just didn’t realize how clumsy and silly they were going to sound while doing it. I thought they would at least be quiet for a few months, lurk in the shadows, and then re-invent themselves. Instead, they are just pretending that yesterday didn’t happen. Check out Cheri Jacobus on LKL:
JACOBUS: Obviously, I think that — Hamas, dealing with Hamas and what’s going on in Gaza is going to be first on his list whether he wants it to or not. What he wants to do, Larry, is to have this big kind of dog and pony show. They want to have this big stimulus package, this huge spending bill on his desk ready for him to sign the moment he’s inaugurated on the 20th.
And — you know the Republicans don’t want that to happen. We want them hearings. We want to look at what’s in the bill because this could potentially be the largest spending bill ever in the history of the United States.
So I think the Obama folks are going to have to ratchet back sort of what they want to do with the — with the big sort of dog and pony show, the big circus, and get real and — take these priorities the way they need to be taken, rather than…
KING: Cheri, don’t — don’t many Republicans support that stimulus package?
JACOBUS: Well, we don’t know what’s in it. And what we want are hearings. We want to take a look at this because this has such a huge potential for pork, quite frankly. And that’s not something we want to happen. Republicans let that happen before. We’re not going to let it happen again. So we want some time to take a look at it, to make sure that the money…
JACOBUS: … is going to the right places.
CARVILLE: I’m just — I’m flabbergasted by this thought of Republican concern with the fiscal things. There was an article by (INAUDIBLE) who won the Nobel Prize that the Republican administration left a deficit by $10 trillion.
Join the club, James. The next few years are going to be a real PITA.
*** Update ***
And I don’t know how Republicans can even write stuff like this:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to re-write House rules today to ensure that the Republican minority is unable to have any influence on legislation. Pelosi’s proposals are so draconian, and will so polarize the Capitol, that any thought President-elect Obama has of bipartisan cooperation will be rendered impossible before he even takes office.
Pelosi’s rule changes — which may be voted on today — will reverse the fairness rules that were written around Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America.”
We can debate whether or not Pelosi should make those rule changes, and whether or not the rules changes are a good idea or not. I can handle that. What I find absurd is the notion that the the House GOP has any desire to work with the Democrats and the incoming administration. A quick reminder of who we are dealing with here:
Pelosi is most likely rewriting the rules so the Republicans can not use them as tools of obstruction. They simply don’t know how to act in good faith. Period.
*** Update #2 ***
What I thought:
According to Republicans aides familiar with the rules package, the change being considered would prevent members of the minority from effectively killing legislation by sending it back to the committee of jurisdiction.
Republicans used this tool repeatedly over the last two years to stymie Democrats on the floor, particularly during an extended debate over domestic oil drilling, when the GOP embarrassed the majority week after week and forced Democrats to suspend the annual spending process by threatening to offer a measure repealing a 27-year ban on offshore oil and gas drilling.
Given that dynamic, GOP leaders expected Democrats to make these changes to limit their ability to engage in these political stunts. Still, Boehner and his colleagues insist in their letter that Democrats are already failing to deliver on “the kind of openness and transparency that President-elect Obama promised.”