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Jul 05 2008

John Dean Loses His Fucking Mind

John Dean is one of my favorite columnists ever. There’s just a certain something wonderful about a disillusioned conservative with brains like a Ginsu knife that delights the mind. He’s provided me much insight into the neoconservative mind over these last several years. He’s annihilated their illusion of compassionate conservatism and revealed their authoritarian fuckery for what it really is. He possesses one of the finest analytical minds I’ve ever come across in politics.

Which is why his recent FindLaw column on Obama’s FISA flop left me sputtering.

He’s taken the breathing space opened up by Senators Dodd and Feingold and studied the FISA atrocity in some detail. His conclusions appear to be those of a man who desperately needs to believe that Obama has some cunning plan shoved up a nether orifice, and shall whip it out like a lightsaber upon being elected.


Because this legislation addresses only civil liability, Senator Obama has a unique opportunity to show that his leadership as President would, in fact, bring a change to Washington. Indeed, he can both support the amendments now pending (for the reasons he stated), and make clear that as President he will request that his attorney general determine if criminal actions should be taken for the blatant violations of the criminal law. Actually, he has already said this, but in a larger context.


What the fuck?

First off, shorter Senator Obama on why he flopped on FISA: “I’m shit-scared the Republicons will call me a sissy, so I’m going to roll over, show my belly, spew their party-line on national security, and hope they don’t hit me in the face.”

Secondly, this is not a “unique opportunity to show that his leadership as President would…bring change to Washington.” It’s a unique opportunity to show the right they’ve still got Democrats by the balls and are twisting hard. This “he’ll have his AG look into it” meme is complete and utter bullshit. What it really means is, he’ll put on a dog and pony show for the party faithful, but he won’t do jack fucking shit as far as taking these fuckers down, because that would just cause too much drama on the right. Trust me in this. A politician who doesn’t have the cajones to stand up now isn’t suddenly going to find them once he’s in office.

And thirdly, who’s to say that even if this is Obama’s master plan, Monkey Boy Bush won’t throw a gigantic wrench in it?


If Senator Obama is going to honor the statement he made to Will Bunch, then he should place the Bush Administration and telecommunications companies on notice of his intentions. This will provide President Bush an opportunity to immunize those who broke the law at his request from criminal prosecutions, which he can do as long as he is President with his power to grant pardons. For Bush to issue a blanket pardon in this situation would be unprecedented, and it would offer Bush a chance at historical ignominy far exceeding what he already faces, and thus potentially become a powerful issue for the Democrats to campaign on during this 2008 election year.

Are you fucking kidding me, John? This is George Fucking W. Fucking Bush we’re talking about. He doesn’t give two tugs on a dead dog’s dick about precident. This is the batshit insane little megalomaniac who authorized torture. This is Bubble Boy. This is Mr. “I can do whatever I want – ExecutivePriveledgeNationalSecurity neener neener neener!” man. You want to tell me again he wouldn’t issue a blanket pardon and fully believe history will judge him a hero for it?


If it were issued by Bush, however, a blanket pardon to his “national security” miscreants would require acceptance by them of the fact that they had broken the law, and thus an admission of guilt. Were Bush to issue such a remarkable pardon, it would, of course, cement his historical stature as several notches below even that of Richard Nixon, who refused to pardon those who (many “for national security reasons”) engaged in the so-called Watergate abuses of presidential power on his behalf. Not many presidents want to be viewed by history as worse than Nixon. And a blanket pardon would be an admission by Bush that his war on terror has been a lawless undertaking, operating beyond the bounds of the Constitution and statutes that check the powers of the president and the executive branch. It would be an admission by Bush, too, of his own criminal culpability (which is why Nixon refused to grant
his aides a pardon.)

Bush is very politically savvy.

*massive spit-take*

Well.

All righty then.

Hey, John. Wanna buy a beachfront condo in Yuma? Because if you can sit there with a straight face and tell me that any of what you just said would stop Bush from issuing blanket pardons if he got the idea stuck in his constricted cranium, if you believe for an instant this man has any sense of shame, decency, or for that matter reality, and you furthermore think he’s very politically savvy, you’re a prime target for my nefarious real estate deals.

And just how rosy are the glasses through which you’re viewing Obama these days?


In short, Senator Obama has much to gain by restating his position, unless his beliefs on the subject have changed. Conversely, Bush and
McCain have much to lose if a blanket pardon becomes an issue. However, if Obama now has no stomach to enforce the criminal law, as he once proclaimed he would, he may pay a significant cost for balking. In particular, he is likely going to lose more than a few among his base of supporters who are upset with his flip-flop on the FISA amendments, for many of these unhappy supporters may currently take comfort in knowing (as few others know) that he could hold violators responsible for their criminal actions – and will retain that power even if the current legislation becomes law.

Holy fucking shit. Which supporters have you been talking to? The airy-fairy ones who think Obama walks on water, eh? Let me ‘splain a little something: his realistic supporters (Dana waves madly) take not one jot or tittle of comfort in knowing that he could hold these lawbreaking assbandits responsible for sodomizing the law, because we’re pretty damned sure such a thing isn’t going to happen.

Look, the man’s a pol, and he’s acting like a typical spineless Dem in the face of Republicon attack dogs. If he caves now, nothing’s going to keep him from caving later. Even if he locates his balls, the Bush regime will have sabotaged any possible chance he has of prosecuting lawless telecoms and the government crooks that paid them to rip up the Constitution and use it to wipe themselves off after their orgy. And the government will still have these sweeping surveillance powers that make a mockery of the Fourth Amendment.

Nothing can change that if this law passes.

If Obama wants to show us what a sensational, unique leader he is, he’ll do it by going back to his original position and putting his foot down. He’ll show it by voting down this bill. He won’t do it by winking and nudging and hinting that he might just have this amazing idea for bringing the telecoms to justice.

It’s not even about them, John. That’s the hook. It’s the prestige. It’s the smoke and mirrors that we’re having to use to protect what’s really at stake: the fucking Fourth Amendment.

And if Obama can’t do that, he deserves to get his ass kicked. He’s not a fetish or an object of worship: he’s a servant of the people. He’s sworn to uphold the Constitution.

It’s time you both remembered that.

1 comment

  1. 1
    Cujo359

    Good for you, Dana. Reading about this subject has been so depressing, lately. I suspect that folks like Dean are just trying to find a silver lining, because the truth is that with these guys in power, we are just screwed. And I’m not just talking about the Bush Administration.I don’t know how else to explain it. Dean, of all people should know better. Glenn Greenwald has made a convincing case that with immunity from civil suits, there may be no way to punish anyone for wrongdoing in this matter. The courts are usually happy to accept government claims about national security.Oh, and about that paragraph that starts with Bush is politically savvy, you don’t have to be too savvy to read a calendar. The election is in November, and Bush doesn’t leave office until January. There’s plenty of time for a pardon. In the Libby case, Bush showed that his word is good when it comes to granting a pardon. There will be no panic among the thieves.

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