Thursday, May 10, 2007

The boy gets his first real sit-down lecture.

When Richard Nixon had pushed his power-grabbing and obstruction of justice too far in the wake of the Watergate scandal, when Congress was drawing up the Articles of Impeachment against him for high crimes, some Republicans finally had to sit him down and explain what was happening outside his inner circle: that he was bringing the whole Republican Party down with him, and if he didn't resign the GOP would probably lose the White House (as well as any chance of future control of Congress) for a very, very long time. The boy who had turned the presidency into his own personal delusion of monarchy was told in no uncertain terms that if he didn't step down, he'd be taken down. And he'd drag the party down with him. So Nixon, perhaps wising up for the first and only time in his wretched existence, resigned the presidency. He did it because the Republicans were scared if he didn't, they would lose what power they'd managed to obtain and never get it back again.

But that sit-down came only after years of a presidency in which Nixon had committed numerous high crimes, with little real opposition until he went too far and the Democrats had had enough--and were preparing to impeach him. Until that moment of reckoning, when he had exhausted all his alliances, it truly did not occur to the boy that his childish quest for absolute power at any cost (so long as somebody else paid the price for it) had done so much damage. It wasn't until some grownups finally sat him down and explained--firmly--that he had screwed up so very badly that Nixon decided it was time to think of someone else before himself.

A similar moment may have come yesterday for the Shrub, when eleven Republican members of Congress sat him down and told him he'd lost whatever shreds of credibility he might have had with them, and that his stubborn refusal to obey the will of the public was hurting the party. These eleven represent districts that are vulnerable in next year's elections, and which could very well go Democrat because of the growing backlash against the Shrub. I don't think they told him to resign, and I'm not sure if they mentioned firing Cheney, Gonzales or Wolfowitz, but the very fact that they had to have such a sit-down with their party's little tin dictator and explain to him that they now view him as someone who cannot be taken at his word on anything is a significant development.

The Articles of Impeachment have not yet been drafted against George W. Bush, but they have been introduced against Dick Cheney--and those articles have gained co-sponsors. It is no laughing matter anymore to suggest that the level of disgust with the regime has grown to the point where members of the dictator's own party are effectively calling him a liar and that he's hurting their chances of retaining their hold on power. Nor can the ever-mounting calls for impeachment be dismissed anymore as the mere ravings of extremists, for support for impeachment among the public is over fifty percent and climbing.

So some grownups have finally sat this boy down and explain a few things to him. Time will tell if he actually bothered to listen, but it's doubtful that he did. But one thing is certain: the Shrub no longer enjoys the level of support from his own party that he once did, and it is evident in the way the GOP candidates vying for their party's presidential nomination are making a big show of distancing themselves from him. I'll have more to say about how the GOP bears as much responsibility for the current state of the nation, and the party's troubles, in a future entry.

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