Sunday, July 24, 2005


In my phone conversation with John this morning, we were both musing that our country's political scene has become simply absurd. Since I take politics pretty seriously, it's kind of liberating for me to acknowledge the utter absurdity of our system right now, as at least I have something to laugh about.

What do we find absurd? Well, seeing that Karl Rove is coming back swinging with his "I'm a source, not a target" button is comforting in a way: Rove, as he always has, is fiercly defending an action he would surely come out against if it was committed by a political opponent. In a way it's kind of comforting to know where he's coming from though: if he's a target--well, he shouldn't be a target, as he says.

As this article points out,
WHEN IT FIRST happened 10 days ago, I just glanced over the story and shrugged at a classic example of how political parties distort policymaking to the point that no one in Washington seems capable of simply doing the right and reasonable thing for the good of the country.
and this,

But if the unsuccessful Democratic initiative in the U.S. Senate on the 14th was tainted by partisan interest, it still didn’t smell as bad as the Republican response.

Majority Leader Bill Frist put forth an amendment to strip Minority Leader Harry M. Reid and Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of their security clearances. There was no serious attempt to pretend that this was anything but naked retaliation. It was so bad that 20 of his fellow Republicans joined Democratic senators in rejecting it, 64 to 33. (The vote on the “get Rove” proposal was along party lines, 53-44.)

Oy, I mean that Frist bill is just nuts! He's using the Senate as a floor for pure, unadulterated political retaliation. Is this what we've come to? Does anyone else feel, based on the political system, at least, that our society is going nuts?

The fact that Republicans have rallied around Rove is consistent with their tendency to be fiercly loyal, especially in recent years. That Senate Republicans voted down that amendment that would deny security clearance to an official who releases classified information (basically what Rove is accused of doing) is just the latest example of partisanship taking precedence over security concerns. I take comfort though in the fact that this party loyalty is nothing new. It is consistent with the state of our country's politics today. What is truth anymore? Facts? Ethics? Seems these things have all been occluded by the fierce partisanship. I can be relilably sure that, if nothing else, our country's political state is escalating towards absurdity, and when one briefly forgets the consequences of this, it's all kind of humorous. We're living the strange fiction that I once thought could only be conjured up by a mid-twentieth century playwright the likes of Samuel Beckett.

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