Friday, February 09, 2007

Are Republicans Evil?

Almost all Republicans have the same basic goals we on the left do, although they usually prefer very different ways to achieve them. But there are some things done by some Republicans that any rational neutral observer would have to conclude are evil in the sense that they directly harm individuals, or our country as whole, to further the interest of those Republicans, with no conceivable offsetting justification. Here are two recent examples from the news for you to think about.

The vast majority of us, right and left, would agree that illegal drug use by children is bad. And we would agree that anyone knowingly taking actions that promoted or caused drug use by children is evil.

By that standard President Bush, his administration, and a number of Congressional Republicans are indeed evil. Bush is proposing to increase funding for an anti-drug media campaign that a huge independent study, commissioned by the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, showed actually increases drug use by kids. Not only that, but the administration hid the results of the study for a year and a half by claiming that it wasn't finished, while continuing to fund the campaign! This is shameful. I haven't found a link to the original study, but here's an extensive Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of it that concludes simply "We believe the Westat study is sound."

My other example is the deliberate subversion of our Democratic system of government. The true wisdom of our founding fathers was that they recognized that we are all deeply flawed, and any government built on good will or trust in individuals will inevitably fail. It's all about building a system of government that forces all those imperfect people to keep a watchful eye on each other by creating coequal institutions that compete for power and influence. Checks and balances, or, for the scientifically inclined, a somewhat rigged Darwinian system that forces competition while limiting its results. However you want to think about it, it's beautiful, and it works.

But perhaps not so beautiful to some Republicans. It seems that in 2005 an aide to Senator Arlen Specter secretly slipped a provision into the Patriot Act renewal that breaks a critical part of the system. Nobody noticed, not even Specter. Which is pretty bad in itself, but not what I want to focus on.

The change lets the White House appoint US attorneys to vacant positions permanently and without Senate confirmation. US attorneys are the people that prosecute corrupt politicians, and therefore they have traditionally been somewhat insulted from politics by the Senate confirmation process. Any administration that can find a way to own all of the US attorneys is effectively above the law, and this administration has now done that. They have fired and replaced, apparently without cause, seven US attorneys, and at least some of the replacements are pure political hacks, with one being a Republican operative with close ties to Karl Rove.

I'm not saying that the left doesn't have it's own faults and bad actors, but almost without exception the we believe in using science to help make wise policy decisions, and we support our democratic system of government. Republicans once shared these values, but for many Republicans politics now is just about winning, whatever the cost to our people or our country.

1 comment:

Critical Badger said...

I am a man of the left, but I have a hard time defending the argument that the mainstream left is not acting in just as strategic of a lens. Million dollar consultants are a dime a dozen.