Irreparable damage

I understand the criticisms of Holder’s decision to consider prosecutions of CIA torturers. It seems to me that the fault lies not with low-level operatives but with administration higher-ups. But this from Broder (you can get his column early with the search function) is simply astounding, even for him:

In times like these, the understandable desire to enforce individual accountability must be weighed against the consequences. This country is facing so many huge challenges at home and abroad that the president cannot afford to be drawn into what would undoubtedly be a major, bitter partisan battle over prosecution of Bush-era officials. The cost to the country would simply be too great.

When President Ford pardoned Nixon in 1974, I wrote one of the few columns endorsing his decision, which was made on the basis that it was more important for America to focus on the task of changing the way it would be governed and addressing the current problems. It took a full generation for the decision to be recognized by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and others as the act of courage that it had been.

I hope we can avoid another such lapse. The wheels are turning, but they can still be halted before irreparable damage is done.

This is from a columnist who was a vocal supporter of impeaching Bill Clinton! It’s simply astounding to me that the Village thought it was urgent to drop everything and impeach Bill Clinton for a blowjob, consequences be damned, are so concerned about what would happen if we prosecuted people for the violation of basic human rights.

I’m sorry to keep repeating myself about this, but it blows me away every time I consider it.

135 replies
  1. 1
    NobodySpecial says:

    You seem surprised.

  2. 2
    Dr. Psycho says:

    The consequences of pardoning Nixon have included the Iran-Contra conspiracy and the ginned-up invasion of Iraq.

    Just think of how different the last 35 years would have been if Nixon had been prosecuted, and all of his crimes had been fully exposed, and all of his minions (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, &c.) had become political pariahs.

    The lesson is clear: if you want to look forward, first shine a clear, cold light backward.

  3. 3
    PaulW says:

    Yes but you see, those weren’t ordinary blowjobs, those were Class 27 Blowejobbes of Abydos, capable of causing -209 HP of damage with every… every… oh Gods, I can’t keep joking about this.

    The entire Village of media hacks need to be forcibly retired and sent to work in bowling alleys (midnight shift) for the rest of their lives.

  4. 4
    schooner says:

    Im sure Howie Kurtz will have some wise words on this.

    Once he pulls his head out of Fred Hiatt’s’ass.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    ellaesther says:

    Here’s the thing: If you are ordered to do a really, really bad thing, as part of a methodical, institution-wide system of doing really, really bad things, and you do that really, really bad thing? You are in fact responsible for having done it. You don’t get off the hook for (say it with me now) “just following orders.”

    Prosecuting the torturers is a fine thing to do.

    The problem will be if it STOPS there, and I don’t think it will. I think that Holder is being smart and methodical and as stuff emerges, he will move up the ladder.

    I’m tired of condemning this administration for not doing something YET. I for one would rather see it done right, than done quickly.

    And now I’m off to put a little girl to bed, so feel free to disagree with me vehemently in my absence! I’ll BBL to see how wrong I am….

  7. 7
    kay says:

    You really don’t want a prosecutor that everybody “likes”.

    I don’t think “popular!” is the proper measure.

  8. 8
    DonkeyKong says:

    Obviously you have not had quail at Karls estate you silly peasant!

  9. 9
    Mike P says:

    Doug, you know the answer to this. Repeat after me: IOKIYR.

    Lying under oath about a b.j.>>>>>>changing/breaking/creating laws under which to torture people

  10. 10
    SGEW says:

    [T]he understandable desire to enforce [Justice] must be weighed against the consequences.

    You know, the fact that this particular consequentialist philosophical stance, with all of it’s historical . . . weight, can be trotted out all the time without being called out for it or even discussed, is probably the most unsettling thing about it for me.

    As far as the hypocrisy about Bill Clinton’s impeachment goes, it’s just naked partisanship.

  11. 11
    Roger Moore says:

    In times like these, the understandable desire to enforce individual accountability must be weighed against the consequences.

    Of course, the cost of inaction needs to be weighed as well. If we let one administration get away with gross illegality because they threaten to block meaningful action by future administrations that try to investigate them, then there is no hope of forcing any administration to obey the law. The consequences of that are just too terrible to consider.

  12. 12
    Dom Phenom says:

    Any moves to prosecute and we open ourselves up to another 9/11. We can’t just go around emboldening terrorists by upholding the rule of law. That’s ridiculous.

  13. 13
    Heresiarch says:

    Is there a way we can nail Broder to Richard Cohen, so I only have to have my time wasted by stupid fucking bullshit once a week?

  14. 14
    IdahoSpud says:

    In light of Mr. Broder’s new paradigm, perhaps we should revise our old feelings of revulsion towards past evil regimes such as Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia.

    Perhaps we shouldn’t be so judgemental of their activities in the face of a (self-induced) crisis, eh Mr. Broder?

  15. 15
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    Clinton was impeached for lying about getting a blow job, which is totally different and totally unforgivable.

    Contrast this with lying about who initially exposed the identity of a covert CIA operative; that’s totally okay and doesn’t merit even a minute in the pokey.

  16. 16
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Dr. Psycho:

    The consequences of pardoning Nixon have included the Iran-Contra conspiracy and the ginned-up invasion of Iraq.

    Just think of how different the last 35 years would have been if Nixon had been prosecuted, and all of his crimes had been fully exposed, and all of his minions (Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, &c.) had become political pariahs.

    The lesson is clear: if you want to look forward, first shine a clear, cold light backward.

    This. Even if we can’t successfully prosecute the monsters of the Cheney Regency, we need to expose their crimes to the fullest extent possible. Otherwise ‘our’ grandkids will end up with a Jenna Bush/Liz Cheney combo in the Oval Office, assuming the very possibility doesn’t lead to global apocalypse.

  17. 17
    joes527 says:

    We need a public accounting.

    Torture: are we for it or against it?

    It brings me to tears that I don’t know where that discussion will go.

    But unless we have that discussion, we’re done as a civilization.

    We _need_ the prosecutions.

  18. 18
    Makewi says:

    It would help your cause, I think, if you simply accepted the fact that one cannot be impeached for a blowjob, and as such, Clinton was not. Failure to accept this fact just weakens your case.

  19. 19
    geg6 says:

    I am exhausted by these people. I just can’t take it any more this week. Thank FSM for the Steelers, my John’s homemade pizza, and a couple bottles of wine tomorrow night. No fucking wingnuts, no Village idiots, no politics. Hallelujah.

  20. 20
    Makewi says:

    @joes527:

    prosecutions would indicate that an investigation had been concluded and criminal wrongdoing had been discovered. My understanding was that there was going to be an investigation.

    As I have said before, it is political theater, and there will be no charges filed. I would add that I don’t believe charges would be filed even if there was criminal wrongdoing. I say this because I believe, firmly, that politics trumps all else regardless of which banner the elected is waving.

  21. 21
    LoveMonkey says:

    Would it blow you away less if you stopped to ponder the probability that outside of the beltway, maybe eleven people know who Broder is, or give a shit?

    If we subtract you, that’s ten.

    That’s one vanload of people, Doug. You can round them all up and take them to a movie.

  22. 22
    Anne Laurie says:

    Just to add… the anti-Clenistas of the GOP worked their mischief during a period of peace and prosperity, which of course had nothing to do with wrestling the keys to the Oval Office away from the Robber-Baron / fReichtard / Talibangelical Party. Broder and his fellow Media Village Idiots will argue that today is different because we’re in an economic crisis while struggling to extricate ourselves from two military engagements overseas… which again has nothing to do with the guys who robbed the treasury and started those wars during the last eight years, because shut up that’s why. The same Media Village courtiers who can’t stop carrying water for the worst of the Republican dirty tricksters when it comes to polluting the discourse with crap from birfers, teabaggers, and people-who-think-the-President-shouldn’t-encourage-kids-to-stay-in-school will clutch their pearls and wail that it’s too perilous to investigate the criminal behavior that brought us to this parlous state.

  23. 23
    Ajay says:

    Noonan said the same thing few weeks ago about torture investigations. It just makes the Republican party look bad. Laws are for all others to follow and for them to ignore.

  24. 24
    Makewi says:

    @Grumpy Code Monkey:

    You mean Dick Armitage?

  25. 25
    mai naem says:

    Yeah, but the Clenis was a whole lot more interesting to Sally Quinn.

  26. 26
    Dr. I. F. Stone says:

    “I’m sorry to keep repeating myself about this, but it blows me away every time I consider it.”

    Get with Andrew Sullivan and he will take care of your desire.

  27. 27
    Corner Stone says:

    @Dr. Psycho: Dr. Psycho you are one crazy sumbitch.

  28. 28
    Unabogie says:

    @Makewi:

    On what planet to you spend most of your time?

    Yes, Armitage was one of the leakers, but if you followed Libby’s trial, and I know Fox News covered it in depth, you’d know that Ari Flescher, Karl Rove, and Scooter ALSO divulged the info. And Scooter said that Dick told him to have the meeting in which he did so.

    Have a nice vacation, and let us know when you come back to our planet. You’re missing a nice summer.

  29. 29
    kay says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Using their own argument that won’t fly. They have insisted for years that terrorism grew unfettered under Bill Clinton, and that we were living in ever-increasing danger every moment he was coddling terrorists by prosecuting and then imprisoning them. George W Bush just happened to walk into that hornet’s nest Bill Clinton created.

    No, they tried to remove a President over an arguable lie in a civil deposition whilst a growing terrorism threat existed. That’s just a fact. There were attacks, and dead bodies, and blown-up buildings. The GOP response? Remove the sitting President.

  30. 30
    LoveMonkey says:

    @Dr. Psycho:

    Hey, that is such a profound thought? I am thinking, why even consider the future at all, when we can live so fully and happily in the past?

    I think 100% of government should be about accounting for the past. And not just the past, but my version of the past.

    Hurrah for you and your great ideas!

    Hurrah!

  31. 31
    Midnight Marauder says:

    I’m sorry to keep repeating myself about this, but it blows me away every time I consider it.

    I think this is a sentiment shared by all remaining sane individuals.

  32. 32
    Corner Stone says:

    @LoveMonkey: Not to be too blunt about this but – fuck you.
    Or maybe, “Keep on walking peons?”
    Personally I want to know what happened. But if that somehow damages your beautiful little mind, well, so be it.

  33. 33
    FairEconomist says:

    I have to say, this is one field where I wished we’d elected Clinton. I think she’d have some axes to grind with respect to prosecuting high officials*, and I think she’d have ground them in a way very beneficial to the country.

    * That is to say, PAYBACK!

  34. 34
    xyzzy says:

    It’s simply astounding to me that the Village thought it was urgent to drop everything and impeach Bill Clinton for a blowjob, consequences be damned, are so concerned about what would happen if we prosecuted people for the violation of basic human rights.

    Well…. to be fair, Clinton was impeached for lying to a grand jury, I believe. Yes, it was politically motivated, and I think it was totally stupid and wrong. But we, as liberals/progressives talk a lot about the Rule of Law when it comes to the crimes of the Bushies, so to avoid being hypocrites we should at least acknowledge that Yes, Clinton did indeed break the law. What we should focus on is the scale of the crime: Clinton’s lying hurt nobody but himself (and his family, and perhaps by extension the political aspirations of democrats), but the lies and crimes of Bush and his cronies have actually killed people.

    Stealing a gumball from the corner store isn’t the same as conspiring to murder. Both are impeachable, right? Since theft of that nature is a misdemeanor.

  35. 35
    gizmo says:

    I’d like to know in which instances Broder thinks we should honor our Constitution, our domestic law, the Geneva Convention, and the International Convention Against Torture, all of which we are solemnly obliged to uphold.

  36. 36
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @LoveMonkey:

    I think 100% of government should be about accounting for the past. And not just the past, but my version of the past.

    That’s great. Too bad it has no bearing on what we’re discussing here.

  37. 37
    ellaesther says:

    Wait, no one disagreed with me? At least, not enough to comment on it?

    I’m one with the universe!

  38. 38
    LoveMonkey says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    And just what do you think we are discussing here, Midnight Bigmouth? Really. I am interested in your view.

    And can you send me the list for the “we?” I like to be included in these inside things. Belonging is important to me.

  39. 39
    kay says:

    @Ajay:

    Republican pundits are the only one’s completely flummoxed by it.
    I don’t know where they see this huge public unrest coming at the thought of a special prosecutor conducting an investigation. It’s not going to be dramatic. If it’s run properly, it’s going to be completely opaque to media and pundits and public, to protect those investigated until (and unless) there are indictments.

    Maybe they think it’ll be like Starr. A clownish media circus, riddled with leaks and excess drama, that is completely unjust to those who were under investigation, but were not yet charged. If that happens, I’ll join them in smearing the prosecutor, because he’s a hack.

  40. 40
    LoveMonkey says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Wow. I agreed with your “wanting to know what happened” totally … even more than you do, and I get the finger?

    Is everybody on the juice around here today? You really want to trade Fuck Yous with me? I can do them better, and longer, than you can, sir. Trust me.

    Let’s smoke the peace pipe. A few puffs of the weed and we will be ready to marry our children to each other, eh?

  41. 41
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @LoveMonkey:

    Well, no one is certainly talking about:

    why even consider the future at all, when we can live so fully and happily in the past?

    We’re talking about holding war criminals and their ilk accountable to the rule of law that governs this land. What you wrote there is a complete non sequitur. Either way, something tells me that you’re just another in a long line of incredibly weak spoofs.

  42. 42
    ellaesther says:

    @LoveMonkey: I know none of that was directed at me, but I like the cut of your jib.

  43. 43
    LoveMonkey says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    What I wrote is a very cogent response to a particular post which I pointed to in my own post. It’s sarcasm, and it pretty much destroys the stupid shitforbrains remark made by the person to whom I was replying.

    I have done this before, I really don’t need coaching from you. Why don’t you go fuck yourself for a while and relax?

  44. 44
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    IOKIYAR.

    As long as we continue to be outraged (and thus give “online copy”) to the likes of Broder and the rest of the Village Idiots (or as Tuco would say “Eeedeeeee, eeeedeee”), they have traction.

    Just like with online trolls, ignore them. Don’t click on their columns online (thus reducing their hits) and don’t purchase their dead tree papers.

    Asshats like Broder have been running scared of the right for the better part of 15 years now. Why? They’re afraid of losing eyeballs on target. As such, they cater to the right. Let em learn that the left can ignore them and watch the result: nose diving traffic. Let the bean counters at the ComPost watch Broder’s zilch web traffic and see how long it takes for him to take a buyout.

  45. 45
    LoveMonkey says:

    @ellaesther:

    Heh. Funny you mention that, I just got the jib back from the shop yesterday. It’s a Binford model. I am just taking it out for a test drive this evening.

  46. 46
    Makewi says:

    @Unabogie:

    No, he was the original leaker. The one who told Novak. In actual worlds with real people this is a pretty well known fact. It isn’t particularly politically useful, so I’m sure it must have slipped by you while you were learning to identify witches Fox News watchers.

  47. 47
    gizmo says:

    My note to that dipshit Broder :

    —————————————–

    Mr. Broder,

    I’d like to know in which instances you think we should honor the Constitution, our domestic law, the Geneva Convention, and the International Convention Against Torture, all of which we are solemnly obliged to uphold? Do you consider those documents mere window dressing? Are they simply to be ignored when it is politically inconvenient?

    Suppose that the very same crimes committed by Cheney and those in his circle had been committed by the North Koreans, the Chinese, or the Iranians. Would you be as quick to make the case that the offenses should simply be swept under the rug? Would you still maintain that there are just too many pressing issues and prosecution would be too divisive and disruptive?

    What is the point of the United States affixing its signature to serious documents regarding torture if the provisions in those documents can simply be dismissed because people like you aren’t comfortable with the process of justice?

  48. 48
    ellaesther says:

    DOOODS! Settle the hell down!

    Please? I mean, take a second and breathe, and re-read what you’re about to go off on and think for a second, all right? How does the vitriol help anyone, much less serve the greater issue? Especially when it’s misplaced?

    Or, alternatively, go off on me, ’cause I’ll just ignore you, and that’ll work for everyone.

  49. 49
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @LoveMonkey:

    I guess I didn’t catch the sarcasm. Sorry about that. But for someone advocating others to relax, you seem a little uptight yourself with the “go fuck yourselves.” Guess you haven’t gotten around to firing up that peace pipe yet.

  50. 50
    LoveMonkey says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Firing it up? I am doing smokeless marijuana right now. I am so mellow, I can slip through a mail slot.

    I am so not uptight, I can piss off these shitty smartalecks all night and not even miss a line of dialogue in the movie I am watching at the same time. And be right, and win the argument at the same time. And knit a dog sweater, make ice cream, and do three miles on the treadmill.

    And keep my heart rate down to 55, pay some bills, plan tomorrow’s stock trades, and do my amended tax return.

    So, what are you doing?

  51. 51
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Broder’s musings prove that oral sex is a worse crime than torture or murder. Of course, the last time Broder received oral sex was in 1972.

  52. 52
    LoveMonkey says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    That’s right. And shortly after that, the goat died, and the man has had a broken heart ever since.

  53. 53
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @LoveMonkey:

    So, what are you doing?

    Well, besides drinking a beer and watching some tennis, I’m guess now I’m just wondering how’s the view up there from your high horse.

    Also, how much I enjoy smokeless marijuana.

  54. 54
    Corner Stone says:

    @LoveMonkey: Meh.

  55. 55
    Crashman06 says:

    @LoveMonkey: Got anything else you want to brag about to anonymous internet people?

  56. 56
    oldhat says:

    “When Ford was pardoned, I was one of the few who commended him.”

    Or whatever the fuck he wrote, David Broder is the biggest cocksucker on the planet. How’s that for bipartisanship, asshole?

  57. 57
    LoveMonkey says:

    @Crashman06:

    I might think of something. But meanwhile, where are the bigmmouths with their bigmouth arguments? Did we scare them off?

    Know what’s really funny, as in ha ha? We have had this stupid argument like 20 times before here over the recent years. It’s all been said eleventy times over.

    DougJ likes to dredge this up whenever the Boones Farm starts to kick and start trolling the blog. I like to deflate him. It’s sort of a ritual. We’ve been doing this since forever.

    He says “Broder,” the hyenas all chime in, and I come along to tell him he is full of it.

    Good times!

    Now, box!

  58. 58
    LoveMonkey says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Actually, my horse is pretty short. I am putting a picture into my url. That’s me in the blue shirt.

    Hey, I live in an apartment. That’s the best I can do. I would rather be riding a Clydesdale, but the hay costs are prohibitive.

  59. 59

    When President Ford pardoned Nixon in 1974, I wrote one of the few columns endorsing his decision

    Broder: Still going wrong after 35 years.

    Another thing, (forgive me if I repeat yourself): Everyone KNEW Nixon did it. No matter how many sniveling buttwipes claim it would have been horrible and bad and terrible if Nixon hadn’t been pardoned, we all know what he did. In Broderville, allowing anonymous wrong doers to remain anonymous is A-OK because … something horrible and bad and terrible will happen if we name them.

    How about this, we find out who they are, prosecute them and then, whoever is president when they’re convicted can pardon them.

  60. 60
    Fern says:

    @ellaesther:

    At this point, I don’t think they are investigating people, they are investigating events to verify that criminal acts were committed. THEN they will go after the people. Slow, but I think sure.

  61. 61
    Makewi says:

    @LoveMonkey:

    Now I know who stole my horse. And my shirt.

  62. 62
    JackieBinAZ says:

    @Makewi: You think the fact that Armitage was a leaker is an inconvenient one? How so, exactly?

  63. 63
    LoveMonkey says:

    Well, I guess all the know it alls have taken a powder. Time for me to do my daily fingernail extraction with a pair of pliers.

    Doug, I gotta tell ya, you need better sockpuppets. These guys are lame.

  64. 64
    DougJ says:

    to be fair, Clinton was impeached for lying to a grand jury, I believe.

    He was impeached because he had an affair with an intern. The lying before a grand jury part was just a vehicle to justify this.

    He really was, literally, impeached for getting a blowjob.

    If anything, I’m being too generous here. He was impeached for being a Democratic president with a Republican-led House. The blowjob was just a pretext.

  65. 65
    JK says:

    Doug,

    For David Broder, the CIA torturers aren’t as bad as Bill Clinton because at least they didn’t trash the White House.

    “He came in here and he trashed the place, and it’s not his place.” – Broder on Bill Clinton

  66. 66
    Comrade Kevin says:

    @LoveMonkey: What, you’re not also lifting a 300-pound weight with one finger, while you’re at it?

    Pussy.

  67. 67
    Makewi says:

    @JackieBinAZ:

    Having just reread all my comments on this thread, I can state truthfully that I never said that I “think the fact that Armitage was a leaker is an inconvenient one?”

  68. 68
    jrg says:

    If Broder does not want to know what happened, why the fuck is he a journalist?

  69. 69
    JK says:

    @DougJ:

    Denis Leary: I’d rather have Bill Clinton in the White House getting blowjobs than Dick Cheney in the White House fucking the country up the ass.

  70. 70
    Makewi says:

    @DougJ:

    Seriously man, time to let it go.

  71. 71
    Brian J says:

    I think ellaesther up above is on to something. As long as it’s done, it’s better that it be done right than done quickly. If he stops at those who actually tortured as opposed to those who ordered it, we’d have a problem, but my gut tells me that they are waiting for the low hanging fruit to start talking. Once that hopefully happens, it’ll be easier to punish those responsible for any crimes committed.

  72. 72
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    As a former working journalist, I would like to apologize for the actions of my “colleagues” over the past 30 years, except I can’t really call these sanctimonious, pearl-clutching, I-am-the-real-politick demigod pundit jackasses “colleagues” with any shred of respect for the hard-working journalists who actually do the job.

  73. 73
    Little Macayla's Friend says:

    To DougJ,
    Repeat all you can bear to. Broder, my local tv news, etc., could all be tagged ‘I Read These Morons So You Don’t Have To’. I appreciate the ‘shorter version’ MSM for searchs, ‘air pollution alerts’, etc.

  74. 74
    gizmo says:

    Broder sure likes to concede a lot power to the Right. His argument against investigation and prosecution of war crimes is that it will be too divisive and disruptive. He fears that if Holder were to get serious and go ahead, the wingnuts would go batshit nuclear and we would have a very toxic political environment. What Broder doesn’t grasp is that we already have a very toxic political environment– the wingers can’t even bring themselves to participate in a civil discussion of healthcare policy. So what’s the point in going soft on torture? The Right is going to be in full crazy mode in any case.

  75. 75
    Chad N Freude says:

    it was more important for America to focus on the task of changing the way it would be governed and addressing the current problems

    This is amazing. (Well, maybe not, considering the source.) The way America is to be governed is not dependent on prior acts of misgovernance, and addressing current problems is not dependent on exploration of the roots of current problems. Broder is an intellectual giant.

  76. 76
    DougJ says:

    Makewi, name one time in American history that a Democratic president served four years with a Republican-led House without being impeached.

    It’s never happened. I’m not making this up.

  77. 77
    Crashman06 says:

    @gizmo:

    He fears that if Holder were to get serious and go ahead, the wingnuts would go batshit nuclear

    Have they not already done this?

  78. 78
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @xyzzy: “High crimes and misdemeanors” is a legal term of art which encompasses things like treason, etc. Misdemeanors, as in stealing a gumball, are an entirely different kettle of fish.

  79. 79
    JackieBinAZ says:

    No, he was the original leaker. The one who told Novak. In actual worlds with real people this is a pretty well known fact. It isn’t particularly politically useful, so I’m sure it must have slipped by you while you were learning to identify witches Fox News watchers.

    My mistake. Why is it not politically useful that Armitage was the leaker?

  80. 80
    Fulcanelli says:

    I just fired off a letter thanking my Senator Whitehouse for his tenacity in going after the higher ups in the torture investigation and also for being the only RI rep holding fast on a public health care option. Dude’s got the right stuff.

    If anybody would like to drop a note of booyah: whitehouse.senate.gov.

    Apparently BoBo has recovered nicely from the lengthy Republican dinner leg caressing incident he giddily confessed to a few weeks back. Nice.

    DougJ, I enjoy many of your posts and I don’t want to troll yer ass, but how fucking many times are you gonna hyperventilate over some wasp fuckstick villager pundit doing exactly what wasp fuckstick villager pundits do? Did you expect Crime and Punishment? Quelle surprise? Not.

  81. 81
    Nazgul35 says:

    Good thing we pardoned Nixon, I mean, it’s not like we emboldened more severe crimes and power grabs down the road by all his acolytes…

    But then again, they throw the best parties…so there’s that.

  82. 82
    SGEW says:

    @DougJ:

    [Not] one time in American history [has] a Democratic president served four years with a Republican-led House without being impeached.

    I did not know this. Neat.

    Of course, arguing from an example of one is hardly dispositive.

  83. 83
    tripletee says:

    @Fulcanelli:

    DougJ, I enjoy many of your posts and I don’t want to troll yer ass, but how fucking many times are you gonna hyperventilate over some wasp fuckstick villager pundit doing exactly what wasp fuckstick villager pundits do?

    Personally, I think it’s important to keep shining a big-ass klieg light at the cockroaches. They’ve been able to get away with leaving oil trails and dropping their shit all over the public square for too long.

  84. 84
    Roger Moore says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor:

    Broder: Still going wrong after 35 years.

    I think you mean “Consistently wrong since 1974”.

  85. 85
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Makewi: OK, it’s long past, lost in the mists of time, old news, settled, time to move on, et cetera, et cetera, and so forth. Maybe the highest officers of the government knowingly lying to the country is illegal, without using starting a war of choice under the pretext of protecting us from nonexistent weapons as a pretext. Maybe firing and appointing US attorneys on criteria other than legal capability is illegal, without demanding information about religious beliefs and political sympathies. What we have here are possible crimes that should be investigated, independent of any particular action used as an excuse to investigate and prosecute.

  86. 86
  87. 87
    Roger Moore says:

    @SGEW:

    Of course, arguing from an example of one is hardly dispositive.

    It’s actually arguing from a sample size of 2. You forgot Andrew Johnson.

  88. 88
    Mike G says:

    When President Ford pardoned Nixon in 1974, I wrote one of the few columns endorsing his decision, which was made on the basis that it was more important for America to focus on the task of changing the way it would be governed and addressing the current problems.

    And America proceeded to do jack shit in the way of such housecleaning, thanks to the whining of criminal-enabling establishment don’t-upset-the-cocktail-party minions like Broder who lost their appetite for reform the moment Tricky Dick got his pardon.

  89. 89
    SGEW says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I didn’t forget Johnson, but he can’t really be accurately described as a “Democratic” president (he was elected vice-president as a member of the National Unity party, and succeeded Lincoln’s Republican administration).

  90. 90
    Chad N Freude says:

    @DougJ, @SGEW: Even with my lack of the requisite historical knowledge, this struck me as a non-starter.

  91. 91
    Fulcanelli says:

    @tripletee: Hypocrisy is a feature, not a bug, with professional wormtongues like Broder. It’s been mapped out in their genome. I’d rather pay Vince to take take a Slapchop(TM) to the hood of his BMW, video BoBo’s reaction and put it up on teh u tubez.

  92. 92
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Chad N Freude: I think that should have bween @Roger Moore. Oh, well.

  93. 93
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Chad N Freude: “been”. My keyboard hates me.

  94. 94
    tripletee says:

    @Fulcanelli:

    I’d rather pay Vince to take take a Slapchop™ to the hood of his BMW, video BoBo’s reaction and put it up on teh u tubez.

    I’d be down with that. But he’d just turn around and blame it on the culture of incivility fostered by the Far Left.

  95. 95
  96. 96
    Maus says:

    “I’m sorry to keep repeating myself about this, but it blows me away every time I consider it.”

    If it made sense, you’d still be a conservative.

  97. 97
    burnspbesq says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Apologies if someone beat me to it, but Andrew Johnson was a Republican.

  98. 98

    […] I’m with Doug J over at Balloon J. Too much stupid to overcome for us to retain any moral or economic control* over anything anymore. We’re going down. The good news is that I figure I won’t care one way or another by the time our death-spiral has become Conventional Wisdom. […]

  99. 99

    Here’s a question: If I were incredibly, filthy rich, like George Soros, rich, and had the DFH tendencies that I do would it be possible to take out ads in every newspaper in the country and have a TV show that refuted the bullshit of columnists like Broder’s, point by point. I’d like to see someone take out an ad in the NYT, WaPo, Seattle Times and PI, everywhere you could saying “Are you fucking serious, Mr. Buchanan?” and then just tear the shit out of Pat Buchanan. Do you think that newspapers would sell you the ad space to let you tear the shit out of their columnists?

  100. 100
    Roger Moore says:

    @burnspbesq:

    No, Johnson was not a Republican. He was a Democrat, and the most prominent Southern Democrat to remain loyal to the Union. He ran with Lincoln on a “National Union” ticket, which was an attempt to get votes from the War Democrats. He tried to win the Democratic nomination in 1868.

  101. 101
    JK says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    Pat Buchanan is a teflon pundit.

  102. 102
    drillfork says:

    @ellaesther:

    Oh I disagree with you. You keep thinking Obama’s on your side. He ain’t…

  103. 103
    Ailuridae says:

    I liked it more when people engaged the troll.

    FWIW, I am by no means thrilled with President Clinton’s decision to lie under oath to a grand jury. While I don’t think he ought to have been impeached I think its possible other reasonable people, like Jonathon Turley, can come to that conclusion.

    That being said Broderism in cases like Cheney and Libby is confounding and embarrassing to me. Its tough to argue as Broder did that Clinton embarrassed the office of President and should be prosecuted but that the criminal offenses of Cheney/Bush et al which addressed much more serious underlying issues ought not to even be investigated.

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    I think that would be the best use of new media imaginable. A dedicated youtube channel with a telegenic and personable host who is actually the primary writer and longer linked written pieces that offer point by point rebuttals.

  104. 104
    Steeplejack says:

    Night shift checking in late, as per usual. I have only skimmed the comments, because DougJ’s post at the top hit a nerve, so I apologize if I repeat something or don’t take into account some development in the comment thread.

    In times like these, the understandable desire to enforce individual accountability must be weighed against the consequences.

    For a second I thought Broder was going to continue, “The institution must be held accountable,” but then I remembered it was Broder, so, no, he wants to give everyone involved a free pass in the interests of “non-partisanship” and “Let’s move forward.”

    What strikes me is that there can be no true institutional accountability without individual accountability. Look at the example of a corporation: if there are no potential sanctions against the individual officers of a corporation for, say, killing people through gross negligence or a faulty product, then the “consequences” become simply an analysis of cost vs. benefit. “Well, we had to pay out x in lawsuits and y in fines, but, hey, the product line is still profitable, so what the heck.”

    So, too, with government entities. If the individual actors can simply say, “Gosh darn it, it’s a shame that things turned out that way, and, in retrospect, I can see how people would consider that a bad thing,” with no adverse personal consequences, then there is no incentive for them to modify their behavior. And, worse, they remain “in play” and will continue to pop up again in positions of authority, as Nixon’s minions did, to our eventual sorrow. Only the realistic threat of personal consequences is likely to make one of these people stand up in a meeting and say, “Uh, maybe we shouldn’t do this, because, uh, according to the Geneva Conventions, we could be tried as war criminals.” Or, at the least, resign, so as not to be caught up in the eventual fiasco. (Resignations themselves would be a red flag to the public about possible bad shit going down.)

  105. 105

    @Ailuridae

    think that would be the best use of new media imaginable. A dedicated youtube channel with a telegenic and personable host who is actually the primary writer and longer linked written pieces that offer point by point rebuttals.

    “Telegenic”. Damn! That leaves me out. I suppose that I could always appear as the ranting, semi-unhinged Lewis Black kind of guy. I mean I’m built like him and am really goofy looking in a sort of amiably unhinged sort of way. And I think I can do ranting and semi-unhinged pretty well.

    It would be cool to do it the way you outline though. Damnit, I need to win one of those huge lottery jackpots so I could fund this.

  106. 106
    hamletta says:

    @Steeplejack: You’re on to something.

    The fucker trajectory: Watergate –> Iran-Contra –> Iraq.

    Nobody got shamed out of office, out of government.

    Watergate was just campaign shenanigans, but 25-30 years later, those fuckers are getting soldiers killed.

    I like to stick with the theory above, that Holder wouldn’t go after the peons without a plan to eventually go after their enablers.

  107. 107
    Sly says:

    To understand people like Broder and Cohen (and entities like Politico), you have to understand how Washington works.

    It’s essentially like any other urban center, where a cadre of “insiders” with social capital dominate the public discourse. The underpinnings of this cadre will shift depending on what social capital is relevant in a given place (it could be purely financial, or academic, or cultural… in D.C. it’s based on political influence and lobbying), but it always has disproportionate influence vis-a-vis the rest of the population. And because these people derive their social capital from the status quo, they will defend it to the death. Because if it loses power, they lose power.

    At issue is that what goes on in D.C. dramatically effects the rest of the country, for obvious reasons, and a good deal of the rest of world. Anyone who tried to change the status quo is treated as a pariah and, what most people fail to grasp, those agents of change tend to be mostly on the left, primarily because of the convergence of large financial interests and political influence. Plus, D.C. is a very conservative town in the traditional sense. The people who run things there, and their defenders, are not inclined to counsel any element that seeks to change anything.

    Broder saying of Bill Clinton that he “tried to wreck the place, and it wasn’t his place” needs to be taken for what it is. Its a person who is invested in the ruling structure reflexively defending it, because his place in that ruling structure depends upon its unabated existence.

    So when I say that Broder is getting the vapors over torture prosecutions because he doesn’t want to see someone he knows through the Georgetown Dinner and Cocktail Party Network go to jail, I mean that in a very literal sense. He and those like him will go to any lengths, even justify the efficacy or moral value of torture, to defend the people he thinks are his friends.

  108. 108
    Makewi says:

    @JackieBinAZ:

    My mistake. Why is it not politically useful that Armitage was the leaker?

    Good question. I don’t know that answer. He wasn’t closely affiliated enough with the WH?

    @DougJ:

    Here, it is sort of interesting to see the makeup of our government over time. As it’s already been pointed out, your argument is more than a bit empty.

    Are you trying to say that Johnson got a raw deal? Maybe you and Pat B could start hanging out.

    For the record, I voted for Clenis both times and was against his impeachment.

  109. 109
    Makewi says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    The problem is that the truth isn’t on your side on that stuff, although I do believe that you believe it with all your heart. There is a whole cottage industry that is dedicated to ensuring that those ideas are kept alive.

    The reason why there will be no Nixon moment for the Bush folks is that the only thing you can actually prove he did was to start a war on what turned out to be faulty evidence. Worse, he had the support of both parties in doing so, despite attempts by some to whitewash that later.

    So you’re just going to have to deal with that.

  110. 110
    Makewi says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Andrew Johnson was a Democrat prior to secession, and while it is true that he was a National Unionist (what the War Democrats came to be called) while he was POTUS, it is also true that he tried for the Democratic nomination in 1868. He is considered a Democrat for all these reasons.

    In any case, Johnson worked against the Republicans on every policy initiative they introduced in attempts to fully integrate freed slaves into society.

    “This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.”
    — A former Democratic POTUS who DougJ is apparently sad that the Republicans impeached.

  111. 111
    kay says:

    @Makewi:

    It’s pretty simple, really. When people die in US custody, there has to be an inquiry.
    That’s what “custody” means: when you remove the power of an individual to defend himself, remove his basic human autonomy, by taking him into custody, he’s yours. You’re the custodian, and responsible for his welfare. The corrections officers at our local county jail know this. CIA officers know it too.
    Holder didn’t have any choice.
    He can’t ignore that, and still remain attorney general. The two things are incompatible.

  112. 112
    chopper says:

    @xyzzy:

    not quite. clinton lied under oath, but that isn’t in and of itself against the law i.e. perjury. it was an immaterial line of questioning (as decided by the judge), so it couldn’t legally be perjury.

  113. 113
    DougJ says:

    As it’s already been pointed out, your argument is more than a bit empty.

    Gee, thanks for pointing that out. You know I was dead serious.

    Some of you people….

  114. 114
    Rick Taylor says:

    It blows me away how the concept of the rule of law has disappeared from our discourse. It’s taken for granted that Obama can personally decide to prosecute or not prosecute whoever we wishes. That the justice department does not have a choice in whether to investigate what appears may be a breach of law is completely beyond them. Evidently we do live in a monarchy, as far as they are concerned.

  115. 115
    Leelee for Obama says:

    The fact is, both Presidents who were impeached, and there have only been the two, were impeached by Republican Houses. Johnson was all kinds of a bastard, but he was impeached for trying not to enforce a law that he had vetoed and Congress overrode. The law prevented him from removing from office persons appointed by a previous President and confirmed by the Senate. While his racism and Democratic Southern sympathies were no doubt involved in his efforts, and those of the Republicans trying toremove him, that was ancillary.

    Clinton, who should have behaved himself in the first instance, was impeached for lying in a deposition that a judge deemed not dispositive. Therefore, Clinton was indeed impeached for being a Democratic POTUS with a Republican Congress, mainly because they could not stand the their guys lost both times to an opponent who did not get the majority due to their own batshit crazy member, Ross Perot. Someone had to get punched for that, and Clinton, sadly, gave them an opportunity. Real men would have censured Clinton and moved on, but real men are few and far between anywhere in the GOP.

  116. 116
    Leelee for Obama says:

    BTW-not defending the Impeachers here, at all.

    As to Johnson, guess he didn’t know about signing statements, or maybe that’s what he tried to use?

  117. 117
    DougJ says:

    A former Democratic POTUS who DougJ is apparently sad that the Republicans impeached.

    He was a Unionist, not a Democrat. I wasn’t referring to him. You can consider him a Democrat if you like and I see your point. But I was not referring to him.

  118. 118
    kay says:

    @Rick Taylor:

    “It’s taken for granted that Obama can personally decide to prosecute or not prosecute whoever we wishes. That the justice department does not have a choice in whether to investigate what appears may be a breach of law is completely beyond them. Evidently we do live in a monarchy, as far as they are concerned.”

    Cheney himself said that last week, and it’s gone completely unchallenged by the media. The former Vice President said the President was the chief law enforcement officer of the United States.
    The media bobbleheads are nodding along. Think how radical that statement is-where does it stop? The irony of this whole thing is how RADICAL the “conventional wisdom” has become. Holder is like a stodgy traditionalist compared to both “centrists” and conservatives.

  119. 119
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @Makewi:

    Right, but Scooter’s the one who perjured himself. And many of the people who called for Clinton’s head over his perjury in the Whitewater investigation claimed that Scooter’s perjury in the Plame investigation was no big deal, and that he had suffered enough and didn’t need to serve the minimum possible sentence for it.

    There’s always some element of “it’s okay for me but not for thee” when it comes to politicians and the rule of law, but it was pretty breathtaking in this case.

  120. 120
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @kay: Hi, Kay! The CW is the basic line that DC has embrace since Watergate/Nixon Pardon. Time for the nation to heal-my Aunt Fanny. When an infected wound is allowed to heal over, gangrene is what you get. And so it goes.

  121. 121
    kay says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    I’m personally sort of a wimp. I mean, I would be the person who wants to avoid discord, or whatever, if this were indeed a “policy dispute” as pundits and the VP are trying to portray it, and I don’t have a real retributive sense, either. Frankly, I’m not at all sure that punishment acts as a deterrent. I’m practical, maybe to a fault.
    But there are thirty redacted pages in that report, and Holder saw them. If what he saw under those black bars is someone dying in our custody, he can’t very well just ignore that, or his position is a joke, and our legal system is a joke.
    Are these pundits and conservatives really saying that Holder has to ignore any and all illegality because not doing so will upset the political apple cart? That is in itself a radical thing to say. They’re saying that “politics” has no relation to serious governance, or that “political comity” is an end in itself. That can’t be right.
    Do you feel as if WE are the moderates and all these “centrists” are the radicals? I do. It’s upside down world.

  122. 122
    Leelee for Obama says:

    {{They’re saying that “politics” has no relation to serious governance, or that “political comity” is an end in itself. That can’t be right.}}

    This, as far as I can tell, is the CW. It is absolutely unconstitutional, IMHO

    {{Do you feel as if WE are the moderates and all these “centrists” are the radicals? I do. It’s upside down world.}}

    Yes, I actually do! I don’t need hangings to satisfy me, I just want the powers that be held accountable, as I would expect to be if I did such things.

  123. 123

    David Broder on Individual Accountability for Bush Operatives & Policy Makers: “A Dangerous Precedent” …

    Here comes pundit David Broder a-punditing upon Eric Holder’s decision to name a special counsel to determine whether interrogators of detainees during the last administration broke the law. “This just may be the most reprehensible column of a long a…

  124. 124
    Chris Baldwin says:

    “The cost to the country would simply be too great.”

    That’s what they said about freeing Alfred Dreyfus. Maintaining the army’s reputation was more important than justice.

  125. 125
    kay says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    Greenwald writes today that mainstream media are publicly pleading for Holder to drop an inquiry because they themselves are implicated if illegality is revealed.
    Because if illegality is revealed, the next (historical) question will be: “how did this happen here?” and the answer is “media protected the perpetrators”.
    Columns like this one are the paper trail.

  126. 126
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @kay: As Rabbi Heshcel (?)said, In a democracy, some are accountable, all are responsible.

    If I , as a citizen with only my own voice could make no difference in what was done, the media should consider that purging themselves of their reprehensible cheer-leading would do wonders for their ability to be taken seriously.

  127. 127

    […] Shorter David Broder: the laws only apply to the little people. […]

  128. 128
    Calouste says:

    I think we have the problem right here:

    in 1974, I wrote one of the few columns

    That’s f’ing 35 years ago. There should be more turn over in the punditry profession rather then having some calcified dinosaurs rehashing the same points they made when half the population wasn’t even born yet.

  129. 129
    kuvasz says:

    Yeah, justice is expensive, but lawlessness is worse.

    Fuck David Broder.

  130. 130
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Calouste:

    That’s f’ing 35 years ago.

    6 months is a Friedman Unit.
    35 years is a Broder Unit.
    Don’t even ask about Buchanan Units. You don’t want to know.

  131. 131
    Makewi says:

    @kay:

    It’s a re inquiry. So this isn’t just a simple case of the Justice department simply following the rules because they weren’t already followed.

    I detest it, but the fact is that there is nothing at that level that is not touched by politics or expediency. I’m not saying you always have to agree with it, but one of the reasons why we have enjoyed a peaceful transition of power is that the new incoming powers don’t prosecute the old ones for the bad or questionable decisions that were made. If Obama didn’t understand this before, which I doubt, he sure does now.

    @Grumpy Code Monkey:

    Libby was prosecuted for a charge as a result of the investigation itself, the original charges having already been dismissed. The perjury that he was ultimately convicted of was written off as faulty memory in the case of the reporter who made the same false testimony. The actual leaker was never prosecuted.

    A scalp was demanded and delivered. My gut tells me this won’t be repeated in the current CIA investigation because Obama will be told of the consequences to his administration should a scalp be required from them.

    I know. I’m a horrible cynic.

  132. 132
    Makewi says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    A responsible press would act as the 4th estate, treating all politicians (or anyone making any claim at all, but especially politicians) as liars in everything they say until it could be proven otherwise. What we have instead is profit machines, who are less interested in delivering truth in a confusing world than in ensuring fat wallets for whoever holds their leash.

  133. 133
    Stefan says:

    I’m not saying you always have to agree with it, but one of the reasons why we have enjoyed a peaceful transition of power is that the new incoming powers don’t prosecute the old ones for the bad or questionable decisions that were made.

    Well, traditionally that compact held up partly due to the fact that the old outgoing powers didn’t run a secret network of prisons where they tortured people to death. (Excepting the Benjamin Harrison regime, of course). But nice job at defining “tortured to death” down to “bad or questionable decisions”……

  134. 134
    Stefan says:

    I’m not saying you always have to agree with it, but one of the reasons why we have enjoyed a peaceful transition of power is that the new incoming powers don’t prosecute the old ones for the bad or questionable decisions that were made.

    If a current administration knows that its successor administration won’t prosecute it for any crimes it commits, even crimes as heinous as torturing people to death, then what exactly will constrain the current administration to adhere to the law? Because they’re just such nice fellows? If you know you have a get out of jail free card for theft, corruption, kidnapping, torture and murder, isn’t it rather an incentive not to obey the law if you find it inconvenient?

    Always boggles the mind that conservatives simultaneously argue that we can’t trust government to run healthcare but we can trust it to run a secret gulag of torture chambers…..Healthcare is fascism, torture is freedom. And up is down……

  135. 135
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @Makewi:

    Libby was prosecuted for a charge as a result of the investigation itself,

    The same can largely be said of Clinton; the original scope of the Whitewater investigation was over land dealings, not adultery.

    the original charges having already been dismissed. The perjury that he was ultimately convicted of was written off as faulty memory in the case of the reporter who made the same false testimony. The actual leaker was never prosecuted.

    The point isn’t who did what; the point is that Clinton committing perjury was a horrible affront to the rule of law, whereas Scooter committing perjury was no big deal.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Shorter David Broder: the laws only apply to the little people. […]

  2. David Broder on Individual Accountability for Bush Operatives & Policy Makers: “A Dangerous Precedent” …

    Here comes pundit David Broder a-punditing upon Eric Holder’s decision to name a special counsel to determine whether interrogators of detainees during the last administration broke the law. “This just may be the most reprehensible column of a long a…

  3. […] I’m with Doug J over at Balloon J. Too much stupid to overcome for us to retain any moral or economic control* over anything anymore. We’re going down. The good news is that I figure I won’t care one way or another by the time our death-spiral has become Conventional Wisdom. […]

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