One of the most deeply satisfying things to come of the last year has been the constant horrorshow of the Republican party; as a progressive American, the only antidote for the years 2000 through 2005 has been watching the G.O.P. wheels fly off their body politic.
I don’t know how many of you have been following the Alberto Gonzales scandal, but Republicans are hoping it’s slightly too complicated for you to have an opinion one way or another. It’s really quite simple: Bush, Cheney, Rove and Attorney General Gonzales fired eight U.S. Attorneys for not being loyal to the neo-conservative playbook and/or not going after Democrats enough. At least six of them had previous glowing reports from the Justice Department, and it’s a clear “duh” to everybody (except die-hard Republicans, of course) that the firings were politically motivated.
At worst, it’s illegal, and at best, it’s stunningly unethical. The female statue of Justice always holds a set of of scales and has a blindfold covering her eyes, but the Bush Administration’s version has the blindfold covering her nipples, and her eyes wide open with rage at Democrats. When we no longer have impartial judges and are left with a bunch of conservative ideologues, we have… well, the Supreme Court.
But all of this is beside the point. Here’s what fascinates me: in this era of advanced focus group testing, spin control and “conventional wisdom” experts, why are the Republicans doing every wrong thing in the book? Imagine George W. Bush calling a press conference tomorrow and saying “You know what? We screwed up. I apologize for Alberto Gonzales’ behavior. I’m firing him, I’m firing everybody involved, and we’re starting over.” His popularity would shoot from 29% to about 53% in one day.
Look at the cavalcade of shit heaped upon Dook and Koach K in the aftermath of Gerald Henderson’s intentional foul on Tyler Hansbrough. If K and G had simply marched over to the UNC locker room after the game and said “We’re sorry. It may not have been intentional, but it was obviously painful and scary, and we apologize” then K might have emerged as the leader he claims he is.
Instead, it was a week of “well, Tyler shouldn’t have been in the game” and “Duke University isn’t that kind of school” and “The person I feel most bad for is Gerald” and wham! Cue every pundit on ESPN, all the major newspapers, and all sports radio announcers calling Koach K an asshole. And somewhere, there is a 12-year-old future hoops phenom who suddenly decided he wanted to go to Carolina instead.
Why? Why are these institutions being so stupid? All you have to do is swallow your pride for about forty-five seconds, and you’re rewarded with weeks – years – of good will. Hell, it happens in marriages too. Just choose a different path, the one where you say “Yeah, I kinda screwed up,” and avoid hours of recrimination and defensive posturing.
As for BushCo., I’m happy they’re being such fools. GWB’s complete inability to show nuance and admit mistakes was bound to emasculate his Presidency sooner or later; I just wish it had been sooner. I’m not asking for much, just the perfect leader: someone who is binary in some instances (national security) and nuanced in basically everything else. Calling our President a cowboy is an insult to real cowboys. It takes a real man to say he’s sorry.