Friday, July 15, 2005

 

Needed: Better People in Politics

For me, the "sins" of Karl Rove, if you will, go far beyond his treachery in the matter of Joseph Wilson and his wife. Although it's likely that the Vice President is equally culpable, for me Rove embodies what is wrong with the Republican party, with politics, and with America today. There's no real reason why this country has to be at war right now; no real reason why we should be so widely hated in the world, even among our traditional allies; and most of all, no reason--and no excuse--for the bitter, angry partisanship which has so badly divided this country, neighbor from neighbor, brother from brother, citizen from citizen.

The Republican party, as even longtime Nixonian conservative Pat Buchanan contends, was hijacked by extremists during the Clinton years. It resulted in the most questionable election in American history; the election of the least qualified individual to hold the Presidency in more than a century; the return of Nixonian-style secrecy to government; the polarizing of the national debate; the dirtiest electioneering I've seen in my lifetime, at least; and any number of anti-Democratic turns of policy, from the rollback of environmental protections to the corporatizing of the media. We're suffering from unprecedented budget deficits, high gas prices, and the widest gap ever between rich and poor, and a dozen other regrettable symptoms.

And there's really no good reason for any of it. After the Clinton years, we should have been able to maintain a stable and prosperous track. Yes, even with 9/11.

The most avoidable aspect of our current malaise is the poisonousness in the current political atmosphere. That has many causes, of course, and Karl Rove is not to blame for it exclusively. But he embodies it for me. His vicious, vindictive, bullying style of politicking and backroom skullduggery is fundamentally un-American...or at least, anti-what-used-to-be American. It is totalitarian in nature. Republicans no longer fight fair, and Rove is a big part of the reason. The Plame affair is only the most public, most provable of his dirty tricks. It is the tip of an enormous iceberg. It may be the only thing of which he can be proven guilty; but the real scope of his evil behavior goes far, far deeper.

We need better people in politics and government.



The Quotidian Meander


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