If there was any question in your mind as to whether or not President Bush meant what he said Tuesday about taking responsibility, you can now feel vindicated for your skepticism. Today, the Senate voted down Hillary Clinton's measure calling for an independent commission to investigate Katrina, proving that the Republicans will not allow their leader to be held accountable for his criminal lack of leadership.
Every single Republican senator voted against the proposal. Sure they did -- they can do whatever they want, right? Even if it means fostering a colossal miscarriage of justice. But why should that matter? Bush accepted responsibility, right?
We're supposed to believe that Bush has accepted responsibility for the unnatural aspects of the disaster (on the federal side... where there were mistakes made... and there might not have been... sorta kinda... not really) but when it comes to being held accountable, can this group be trusted to run the investigatory show? To put it in terms all senators will understand: the steroid dealers are intending to investigate the Major League juicers.
Independent commissions scare the white out of the Republicans because these things can't always be controlled through suspicious elections and Fox News talking points. And the idea of this particular one scares the hell out of the Bush administration because it's quite possible that his inaction and neglect caused the deaths of a lot of Americans, as well as wholly disproving his much ballyhooed "America is safer because I rule!" claim. Not to mention the total destruction of (don't laugh) Bush's legacy. Away goes Karl Rove's thousand year Reich, too -- I mean single-party government rule. Did I say "Reich"? I meant single-party Reich -- rule! I meant rule.
When my daughter was four years old, we had to take away her TV privileges for three days after she kept a dead goldfish (named "Meat Chicken") in her bed for a week. Long story, but the upshot is that she apologized profusely after the petrified corpse of Meat Chicken was discovered in the bed, with the sincerest apologies coming while my wife was, you know, yelling at her.
But when her punishment was handed down, she literally ran out of the house and nearly two blocks down the middle of the street screaming, "AHHHHHHHHHHHH!" as if we had replaced her Elmo doll with one of those freakish kids from THE GRUDGE.
No accountability. Big on apologies, but her reaction to the punishment indicated terror and, well, borderline insanity when it came down to facing the consequences for her very weird burial of Meat Chicken.
With the president and his ilk, apologies may abound (in a vague way, which they don't truly mean), but accountability will be nonexistant.
George W. Bush prides himself on decisive action and, interspersed with that freakish spastic jaw thing he does now (what IS that?), he likes to say that he doesn't react to polls. But his "responsibility" remark was a direct response to polling data and, if the 9/11 Commission was any indication, any substantive action to determine what went wrong will prove to be farcical and ambiguous with accountability directed sharply down the ladder and deflected far away from his office.
He most certainly did react to polls with that statement. If he's so willing to stop the buck then clear it like some Crawford brush, then were was that statement on Abu Ghraib, WMD, 9/11, and the whole damn Iraq fiasco?
"To the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," he said yesterday. I believe that there was actually more to his sentence, ie. "I take full responsibility... for finding out who the few bad apples were." But when the president heard the word "responsibility" flow from his puckered mouth, he choked, then stopped the sentence short.
Seriously, though, "extent" is the operative word here because "extent" can never truly be discovered as long as the Republicans control the investigation. (The GOP investigation might also be labeled an "independent commission" -- in the same way George Lucas fancies the STAR WARS movies as "independent films".)
But let's wait and see what the White House and the Republicans come up with by way of a commission. My money is on the investigation taking place on Trent Lott's rebuilt front porch. The commissioners will be Lott, Cheney, and Sean Hannity, and the research materials will be nothing more than the tokens from an old Clue board game.
And if there's anything at all damning uncovered in this Republican-controlled "independent" commission, we won't see it until after the midterms -- kind of the same way the 9/11 Commission finally released its full report... yesterday.
George W. Bush Investigates! Part 1 here.
If there was any question in your mind as to whether or not President Bush meant what he said Tuesday about taking responsibility, you can now feel vindicated for your skepticism.