Favorite

Mostly hypocrisy 

It’s never safe to assume that George W. Bush knows what’s going on in his administration. Famously uninterested in details and current events, the president may actually not have noticed that what he’s been saying about bipartisanship is very different from what his attorney general has been doing about it.

People are tired of party warfare in Washington, Bush recently revealed, adding that he personally is eager to work shoulder to shoulder with legislators who aren’t members of his own party. (The president didn’t dwell on the history of this excessive partisanship, but it has intensified in the last six years or so, starting when a Republican Supreme Court snatched a presidential election away from voters and installed a Republican president. Bush evidently didn’t notice what sins had been committed in the name of party loyalty until last month, after Democrats won a majority in next year’s Congress.)

While Bush was publicly repenting, his unreformed attorney general, Alberto Gonzalez, was appointing a Republican political operative as the new U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, circumventing the normal process for such appointments. That procedure would have required consultation with the Arkansas congressional delegation, consisting of five Democrats and one Republican, as well as confirmation by a newly Democratic Senate. The appointee, J. Timothy Griffin, is best known as a former aide to Karl Rove, the president’s close friend and adviser and a relentless partisan. Griffin has worked also for the Republican National Committee, which is generally unconcerned about the legal qualifications of its agents and may even prefer those more skilled at evading the law than enforcing it.

Sen. Mark Pryor too, an alleged Democrat now allegedly distressed about the Griffin appointment, previously had himself complained about Democrats being too Democratic. Pryor contributed to the Senate campaign of old pal Joe Lieberman, though Lieberman already had been rejected by Democratic voters and had become an honorary Republican. The idea that the opposing party should oppose is generally foreign to Pryor, though he seems to have grown some backbone, or at least his aides have, in response to the Griffin appointment. But his concern may have more to do with patronage than principle.

As for Bush, chances are that the great discrepancy between what he says and who he appoints is more a result of hypocrisy than ignorance. He can play dumb as well as any president of our time, but he’s bound to have noticed that he and his party are more at fault for interparty hostility than a generally quiescent opposition. Bush isn’t sorry for the excessive Republican partisanship; he’s sorry that it can’t continue, unless the new Democrats are like Mark Pryor.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
    • Apr 20, 2017
  • Death Row inmates argue to keep stay of execution in place; urge 8th Circuit not to 'rush' analysis

    Early this morning, attorneys for nine Death Row inmates, filed an argument with the 8th United States Court of Appeals contesting the state's effort to override Judge Kristine Baker's order Saturday that halted executions scheduled this month.
    • Apr 17, 2017
  • Federal judge denies execution stay for Don Davis but larger stay continues

    Don Davis, who's been moved to the killing facility of the state prison for killing tonight at 7 p.m. if a stay of execution is lifted in another federal suit, sought a stay in another federal court Sunday, but the request was denied.
    • Apr 17, 2017
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Event Calendar

« »

April

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30  

Most Viewed

  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Art bull

    • the nice thing about art is that it is what it is, but what it…

    • on April 22, 2017
  • Re: Executionpalooza

    • Fantastic work-from-home opportunity for everyone... Work for three to five hrs a day and start…

    • on April 21, 2017
  • Re: Erasing humanity

    • Exactly how I feel only written much better than I could.

    • on April 21, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation