Dean, Public Enemy #1 - Again
by Jeremiah Bourque
All right, all right, I surrender: History really does repeat
Imagine my shock at waking up on Monday morning, having,
by my nocturnal schedule, completely missed the Sunday talk
shows as usual, which I normally don't shed a tear over, to
find that John Dean has replaced Osama Bin Laden as the #1
enemy of the United States of America, freedom, and our way
of life. This traitor (?) has apparently done something very,
very bad. Everyone's upset at him. You'd think that we're
going to have a Two Minute Hate sometime soon, from the material
Now, I've read a couple of things about John Dean lately.
I'm too young to remember Watergate, but I knew of the name
for years. I didn't think he had any kind of legitimate job
anymore. I didn't even know if he was alive until this year.
I had assumed, given the rehabilitation of Richard Nixon,
that his name would be stricken from everything but his role
in Watergate, ignored by his peers and former friends as someone
who helped Take Down A President, which we know from the Clinton
era, is the most grievous sin that anyone can contemplate.
It's our version of regicide.
So how did this guy become public enemy #1?
Now, I'd also read an article on the legal aspects of the
Cheney stonewalling, and the broader attempt to make the executive
branch immune from congressional oversight in most aspects
of its operations, broadly and in perpetuity. I'm not a big
fan of secret government. I read the article, and I'd seen
some kind of interview Salon did with him some time earlier.
So I look at the New York Times article. Looks like the same
article. It says that Cheney will delay, bait and switch,
and rely on the ultimate friendship of the Supreme Court for
victory. This is controversial?
This is even, from a Republican perspective, bad?
What's the big deal? What's here that hasn't been said a
million times since the last election? Or is it because it's
John Dean saying it?
Is this why Joe DiGenova was (supposedly) shouting him down
on a CNN program? I mean, we know Joe. We understand his role.
He's a loudmouth with credentials to scare people into submission
concerning the correctness of the Republican legal line. He's
a mercenary through and through. Everyone knows Joe.
So what about Pat Buchanan? Well, he also worked for Nixon.
A little bird is whispering in my ear that given that, he
would be inclined to do this for free, just to get free public
shots at John Dean. It certainly appears that Pat has taken
up the offer and done so.
We had Bill Schneider allegedly say that the public was not
interested in this, that none of this would stick on a popular
President, and that the Supreme Court would never go against
a President in a time of war.
Pardon me but... haven't we heard this line before?
Even I, too young to remember Watergate, can easily see in
my mind people saying precisely this about Nixon.
Because they said it about Clinton, they said it about Reagan...
The latest knock on John Dean is that, in the words of Master
Yoda, "He's too old."
"And it appears to be a cry for attention by someone from
a different era."
Uh, yes, it is. He's trying to say that the other era and
this era are not very different. This is not exactly biotech
or Enron-style accounting. Of course he's trying to cry for
attention. He thinks that this administration is trying the
same garbage all over again, and trying to permanize the victory.
Ladies and gentlemen, conservatives and liberals alike. How
can this not be the literal truth? Cheney wants to restore
the prestige of the Presidency. He wants to permanize the
doctrine that the Presidency is above oversight because he
sees this as a vital requirement for good government. He wants
pre-Nixon power and secrecy. To achieve these things, he will
roll back public access to executive knowledge and decision-making
until the secrecy is greater than what Nixon could maintain.
Why is this controversial? I know a lot of people who don't
even think this is bad. Why is this strange? Why is this surprising?
Why can't we just recognize the obvious here? I mean, let's
go into part of Pat's response... and I don't mean the usual
garbage of how John Dean used to be a friend of his, a long,
long time ago, in a faraway galaxy. It was only a few administrative
planets away, folks... it's not quasar-style distance, much
as Pat tries to make it out to be.
"Paula, he's completely over the top. He said if Mr. Cheney
wins his battle in the Supreme Court, not to give out the
names over folks he met with, it will be worse than anything
Bin Laden could do to the United States of America.
Now does anyone seriously think this is on par with September
What about all that rhetoric of, they can kill us, they can
blow up our buildings, but they cannot take away our FREEDOM?
Think Braveheart. You know, "FREEEEEEEEEEEDOMMMMMMMMM!!!!!"
Bin Laden can't take that away from us, but Cheney and the
Supreme Court just might. Doesn't that, you know, mean something?
Also, Pat knows how to write speeches. He and I both know
how incredibly cheap his statement about 9/11 was.
He'll probably say the ends justify the means, and I'll say,
that's what John Dean's afraid of.
He should be.
We should be, too.
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