Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Richard Nixon Was an Intelligent Man

I'll be honest- I, like probably everybody else who's ticked off about what happened with Libby, enjoyed Keith Olbermann's incendiary special comment calling for Bush and Cheney to resign. The principal reason, according to Olbermann was that Nixon recognized that he had gone too far, and decided to resign rather than put the nation through such pain.

On this, I disagree.

Nixon knew what was coming. He knew that impeachment would go badly for him, and that he WOULD be impeached. He was smart enough to realize that the only thing he could salvage of his reputation would be that which he gained by resigning, so he did so. It was a smart move.

Bush is nowhere near as intelligent. No, he's unlikely to be vindicated by history; far from it, the only historians who don't think he's the worst president in American history are those who are waiting for his term to actually be over. A perceptive president would realize that, and realize that he went too far in pardoning Libby in all but name. He'd resign, because it would be the only shot he'd have of rescuing his reputation as anything but a horrible president in the eyes of history and a lame duck in the eyes of the current Republic. He's not smart enough to figure it out.

Cheney, in turn, is sort of smart enough, but just doesn't care. He doesn't care about the verdict of history, doesn't care about his popularity ratings, doesn't care about the future of the Republican party, even. All he cares about is enriching his friends and crippling his enemies, whoever or whatever they might be. The Republic can hang, together or seperately, and he doesn't care. It's about enriching the people he wants to in as short a time as he can, and hang the consequences, he won't be around to see them anyway. That's an appallingly stupid thing to think, which is why he's only sort-of smart, but there you go.

So, sorry, Keith, but it isn't just about them being immoral, venal people. It really is about Bush being an idiot too.

(That said, the rest of the commentary is gold. Highly recommended.)

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