Dave Winer wonders:
What if you were a criminal President?
President Bush wants to give the phone companies immunity.
Who would you like to give immunity to?
What crimes are you willing to excuse?
Interesting question. Here’s one answer: If I were a criminal president, my wife might be running to be the Democratic party’s nominee in the 2008 election.
I might be willing to pardon several fine fellows who liked to make bombs and were convicted of conspiracy and sedition. I might pardon my friends’ and relatives’ crimes along with those of corrupt Democratic party members.
I might be willing to lie under oath in front of the entire world and utterly demean my office to the point that it – and I – became a national joke.
I might, 8 years later, still be under the impression that my wife and I are entitled by right and sheer force of will to re-assume the office in which I humiliated myself, my party, and my country. I might attempt to bully voters, delegates, party officials, and the press into believing in our divine right to lead this nation.
I might. But I would be wrong, as the voters have clearly stated in recent weeks. And it might be that my association with my wife’s campaign has injured it so badly that no amount of "personnel management" will be able to drag it’s depleted carcass to the finish line despite the fact that she is a far superior candidate for the office than her opponent is.
And I might, in my old age, finally realize that there are times in which the wisest course of action is to sit down, shut up, and let other, better qualified people manage the world’s affairs. But probably not.
There are other answers, of course.
President Bush is unlikely to face any sort of criminal charges over the way he has conducted the America’s campaign against Islamic terrorism, though he and his administration are far from blameless when it comes to moral and legal "compromises".
The telecom immunity issue is one of the lesser of these. Democrats persist in whining about this triviality because they have nothing else to do.
Consider why it is that they have failed to deliver on their promises to check President Bush’s changes to FISA, eliminate Guantanamo, et al, and bring the troops home from Iraq. Why is that?
The simplest and most likely answer is that the administration’s assessment of the national security risk is reasonable and real and that Democrats believe it despite themselves.
If that’s true, it would truly be criminal to act in a way that compromises our efforts to make the world a safer place.