The next time someone tries to sell you some snake oil about moving forward in a spirit of bipartisanship and forgetting about the problems of the past, refer them to Digby:
The founders understood how power can corrupt, which is why they designed a clunky system of government that would impede its application. But nothing can stop it when so many people are working in tandem to do so. The answer then, is not to depend upon personal integrity but to insure that our systems are working properly and that those who corrupt it are held accountable for what they have done when they lose institutional power at the hands of the people. If there is one consistent mistake that Democrats have made over the past 40 years, it’s the impulse to forgive and forget which has created a radical Republican party that believes it can get away with anything. (“Reagan proved deficits don’t matter … this is our due…”) Our system has been so thoroughly corrupted by this lack of accountability that partisan impeachments, stolen elections and illegal wars are taken for granted as perfectly normal (if “dark”) political arts.
So, as much as I value it as a personal virtue, personal integrity is beside the point. There have always been crooks and liars in politics. It’s the failure of our institutions to properly guard their prerogatives and police the political system that is the true failure. And that is something that we can fix. The Republicans must be held to account for their reckless rule, and that means following these investigations all the way to 2020 if that’s what it takes. We may not have time to impeach Bush or Cheney, but if we hold both houses of congress we have years to ensure that these crimes are not covered up and that the people of this country are reminded that corruption and cheating have negative consequences.
One of the things the blogosphere does well is serve as institutional memory. It’s going to be a lot harder for the crooks and knaves to bury their crimes in time and apathy. If it takes until 2020 then that’s what it takes.
Hugh’s list of Bush Scandals grows longer every day, and it ain’t going anywhere.