20 June 2012
Partisan Immunity and Partisan Witch-Hunts
Bipolarchy enables corruption in government through its presumption that any investigation of corruption, or even any investigation of error, is no more than a "partisan witch hunt." That bad-faith presumption amounts to a principle of partisan immunity which is also sustained by the balance-of-terror reasoning that anticipates a tit-for-tat when the balance of power shifts in any direction. To illustrate my point, Democrats are now circling the wagons around the President and the Attorney General following the President's denial, on the beloved principle of "executive privilege," of documents demanded by a congressional committee investigating the Attorney General's management of "Operation Fast and Furious," a botched ATF sting operation targeting cross-border gun-runners. By any measure an episode of incompetence, "Fast and Furious" became a cause célèbre when one of the guns involved, which had been lost track of by investigators, was found at the scene of the killing of a Border Patrol agent. The public should know what went wrong here, but Democrats, who were all for investigating executive branch abuses when Republicans ran that branch, now cry "partisan witch hunt." Republicans, many of whom had few problems with executive privilege a decade ago, now find Obama's assertion of it abhorrent. But the objective questions to be asked and answered about "Fast and Furious" should have nothing to do with whether Republicans benefit in any way. Yes, Republicans hope to benefit, and the President has probably given them just what they wanted by claiming executive privilege and confirming, to the conspiratorial mind, that his administration has Something To Hide. But does the potential for Republican benefit, or any presumption of cynical motives on the part of Republican congressmen, oblige us to take a "nothing to see here" attitude toward "Fast and Furious?" If you think so, you've just put partisanship ahead of truth and accountability -- but remember: Bipolarchy put you in this predicament. When scandal threatens one party, it takes evasive action and tries to change the subject because the scandal, in our present political environment, can only benefit the other major party. This attitude assumes that anyone disillusioned by Obama's handling of this matter will either vote for Romney or aid Romney's election by denying Obama a vote. The implicit principle is that preventing the enemy party from taking power has a higher priority than enforcing accountability in your own elected officials. I don't want Romney to win this fall, but I also want to get to the bottom of "Fast and Furious," and Democratic stonewalling is as much to blame for that as Republican pressure. Call the Republicans hypocrites to your heart's content: as far as I'm concerned, you're absolutely right. But does that give Democrats a free pass? It had better not. I await the opinions of independent parties, particularly those on the left that have remained critical of the President's policies. "Fast and Furious" should not be a right-vs-left thing, after all. If we've reached the stage of ideological immunity, then things are even worse than I thought.