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Intellectual luminary Karl Rove recently had this to say about the potential for investigations into illegal acts committed by the former administration:

What [Obama has] essentially said is if we have policy disagreements with our predecessor, we are going to do is turn ourselves into the moral equivalent of a Latin American country run by colonels in weird sunglasses.
Stalwart Clinton impeachment champion Peggy Noonan relayed a similar sentiment over the weekend:
Some things in life need to be mysterious. Sometimes you need to just keep walking. … It’s hard for me to look at a great nation issuing these documents and sending them out to the world and thinking, oh, much good will come of that.
Notwithstanding Rove and Noonan’s protestations to the contrary, a deluge of GOP leaders in recent days have come out with a full-throated call to open up wide-ranging investigations into the former administration’s abuses of power.

Here’s Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC):

We need to look at to make sure exactly what happened is known to the public and to deter any future president from doing like behavior, if it was wrong. In that regard, if we can do it in a bipartisan fashion, I think that’s what we should do. Every American benefits when you can control X abuse of power. If this was an abuse of power, then we need to know about it.
Former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott had this to say:
This is outrageous. We should at least take a look at what happened and ask ourselves, should we take some action to try to prevent abuses that do occur?
House Government Reform Committee Member Dan Burton (R-IN) is outraged:
Congress has an obligation to find out if this was appropriate. [My] panel will obtain subpoenas if necessary.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani can’t contain his umbrage:
It needs to be investigated. I think it is worthy of investigation. The facts cry out for an answer to be given… Until we get the answers to this question, [the Bush torture program] is put in some jeopardy of being misunderstood by the public.
Here’s Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY):
It’s important to remember that [the President] is not personally exempt from federal laws that prohibit the corrupt actions of all government officials.
Finally, Senator Joe Lieberman (?-CT) piled on:
I think the important question is, is there something more Congress can do to try to express through ourselves the will of the American people about a procedure for [approving torture]. [These practices] should be examined.
Amazing how much the debate can shift in just a few days, isn’t it?

…Oh, hold on a sec, I’m getting a call.

Hi, I just wrote a blog post, what’s up? Oh, you read it? Yeah, those quotes are amazing right?

What? They said them when!?

Crap, I gotta call you back…

Sorry folks, it turns out that the seemingly right-minded GOP quotes I posted above were made during the Republicans’ rabid campaign to launch investigations into former President Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich back in 2001.

My bad.

  1. socratic_me says:

    Followed the link from Balloon Juice. Well written. Thanks for the perspective.

  2. DB says:

    Nice, I love seeing the hypocrisy. It affects both sides to be sure, but for some reason the GOP is redefining the concept.

  3. Alb says:

    Members of Congress and the Senate are afraid any decision they make will effect their career in a negative way that they sit the fence until something happens. Then they wave their flags of approval and disapproval. Maybe thy should stop putting their careers above their country.

  4. Mr_DNA says:

    Great quotes you won't see on the MSM. Thanks for them.
    I remember seeing all those anti-War, anti-Clinton quotes from the right and Fox about Bosnia too.

  5. surfjac says:

    Came in from C&L, good post!

  6. Warren says:

    Ah nothing like the zealousness of repentant souls. LibraryGrape I just Buzzed(2) it up n Yahoo. If they don't bury it or ignore,the republican comments should be an interesting if not laughable read. Thanks

  7. Nikolai says:

    What I like are the quotes from the righties when Clinton bombed (the former) Yugoslavia. The republican outcry was literally the polar opposite of what they said about Iraq when THEIR boy was in charge. Check it out, you'll laugh until you cry (or you will become so frustrated and pissed your head will explode).
    http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/?q=node/view/31

  8. Jack Ash says:

    There's an important distinction which is being conveniently overlooked here: I don't recall anyone specifically demanding that Clinton (or members of his Cabinet) be "prosecuted" for his use of (constitutionally authorized) executive privilege. The above cited calls for investigation mainly focused on potential constitutional amendments to prevent perceived future abuse(s) by any president. The hysteria surrounding G.W.B. is quite a different animal altogether.

    What gets me, is the apparent conclusion that hypocrisy is a politically one sided trait, when the irony of that assumption is, in this very thread, staring you squarely in the eye: http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/?q=node/view/31

    • Metavirus says:

      A few thoughts:

      1) Republican complaints were over Clinton's exercise of the plenary pardon power, not executive privilege.

      2) — (a) In the above quotes, Republicans were calling for an investigation of former President Clinton's exercise of his plenary pardon power in order to determine if Clinton abused his power;
      — (b) Advocates of the rule of law are currently calling for an investigation of the Bush torture program in order to determine if there was any wrongdoing; thus
      — (c) whereas Republicans called for investigations then, they are now hypocritically calling for no investigations (i.e., calling for everything to be swept under the rug).

      3) I doubt many would truly argue that hypocrisy is confined to one party or another. There are corrupt assholes that are Democrats and corrupt assholes that are Republicans.

      • Jack Ash says:

        A few more thoughts:

        1) When I used the term executive privilege, I was being literal. The power to grant an absolute (or "plenary" if you prefer) pardon, is a privilege afforded only to the Executive. Therefore it is literally a constitutionally authorized, executive privilege as I stated.

        2) Let's not play games here. The tone of intent in each of these circumstances is markedly different in that:

        a) "In the above quotes, Republicans were calling for an investigation of former President Clinton's exercise of his plenary pardon power in order to determine if Clinton abused his power."

        In order to effect a change to the "rule of law," so that it might not be abused in the future.

        b) "Advocates of the rule of law are currently calling for an investigation of the Bush torture program in order to determine if there was any wrongdoing."

        In order to effect prosecution of individuals involved in (depending on who you quote -- I can provide them if required) anything from simply rendering an informal legal opinion, to devising/approving said tactics.

        c) Your inability/unwillingness to grasp the distinctions in these very different cases is clear, i.e., hiding your head in the sand, because the reality (or "rule of law") won't cooperate with your ideology.

        3) "I doubt many would truly argue that hypocrisy is confined to one party or another. There are corrupt assholes that are Democrats and corrupt assholes that are Republicans."

        Right you are, but this post was specifically designed to obfuscate that fact.

        • Metavirus says:

          1) Fair enough I suppose.

          2) a) Wrong, many were saying that if the investigation turned up wrongdoing, Clinton should be prosecuted or sued civilly.
          b) Prosecution is one option. For people like myself, I primarily want all the information to come out. Shame can be a good deterrent as well, and we can only shame these criminals if we get all the information. If there was criminal wrongdoing, then prosecutions should take place. We won't know if prosecutions should take place until there are investigations. If, after a full investigation, the attorney general/special prosecutor/truth commission decides not to recommend indictments, then I'll still be mostly satisfied.
          c) Wrong, for the reasons listed above. To an even bigger point, a potential "abuse" of the President's plenary pardon power (which the Supreme Court has routinely held to be absolute and unchallengeable) is a thousand times less serious than a President's administration systematically authorizing and executing a torture program. Bar none. On that, it is amazing, from a fundamental logical perspective, for Republicans to be calling for a full-scale investigation of the Marc Rich pardon while now calling for all that pesky torture to be swept under the rug with no investigation.

          Also, I find it interesting that you refer to believing that torture is illegal and a moral horror as an "ideology". Its pretty sad that we've come to the point where someone's "ideology" is determinative of where they stand on torturing people. I've got news for you, the laws against torture don't have an ideology.

          3) "this post was specifically designed to obfuscate that fact. " — Don't be ignorant, that is absolutely not what this post was designed to do. This post has nothing at all to do with Democratic hypocrisy because … the point of the post was to point out Republican hypocrisy, framed against the Rich investigation calls. This post also doesn't discuss how I think Harry Reid is a douchebag — was this post designed to obfuscate my opinion on that as well?

          • Jack Ash says:

            Was on vacation and intentionally unplugged for a while; Now we can get back to it…

            "…many were saying that if the investigation turned up wrongdoing, Clinton should be prosecuted or sued civilly." I fail to locate those particular sentiments. I don't doubt that there were the few oddballs who felt that way, but that wasn't the general consensus and tone of the argument. I guess we'll just agree to disagree on this one, since it's irrelevant to the broader picture, which is as you stated earlier: The Rule of Law.

            Here is hypocrisy, and it's close relative, contradiction, in action:

            "I primarily want all the information to come out. Shame can be a good deterrent as well, and we can only shame these criminals if we get all the information." This statement indicates that you don't have all the information yet, but that doesn't stop you from declaring those involved in interpreting the "Rule of Law" as "criminals."

            You then say that: "If there was criminal wrongdoing, then prosecutions should take place. We won't know if prosecutions should take place until there are investigations." I agree, but you have already revealed your motive -- to "shame these criminals," so your later attempts to whitewash that motive under the guise of the Rule of Law, is not only hypocritical, but disingenuous as well. This goes to the heart of this entire post, and what is still my contention: The tone and candor of these two separate events is so markedly different, that to attempt to compare them as you have, is ignorant rhetoric at best.

            "If, after a full investigation, the attorney general/special prosecutor/truth commission decides not to recommend indictments, then I'll still be mostly satisfied." You state that you'll "…be mostly satisfied" if the Rule of Law is [actually] upheld in this case. Again this belies your intent, which is to get blood from those you disagree with; Not to really uphold the Rule of Law you so obviously know very little about.

            [continued below]

            • Jack Ash says:

              "Also, I find it interesting that you refer to believing that torture is illegal and a moral horror as an "ideology". Its pretty sad that we've come to the point where someone's "ideology" is determinative of where they stand on torturing people. I've got news for you, the laws against torture don't have an ideology."

              This statement is a beauty, requiring a little further analysis:

              "…believing that torture is illegal and a moral horror…"

              That is an opinion. It isn't a statement of fact, nor does it apply to your theories on the Rule of Law (which is nothing more than a term of convenience for you). What you envision as torturous, I might not. To me, pouring battery acid into the eyes, ripping out fingernails with pliers, or applying a blowtorch to the genitals, would be torture capable of inflicting "…severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental… [from the UNCAT]." To my kid, mowing the lawn on a 95 degree day would qualify. Either way, an opinion or a belief is the very definition of "ideology."

              Unfortunately, the actual definition of torture in the UNCAT isn't so obvious. Fortunately, that's what lawyers, judges, and courts are for: To interpret those definitions into a [hopefully] clearer, widely agreed upon standard (usually over time, and through many revisions). An attempt to prosecute those responsible for the mere interpretation (whether found to be correct or not) of a broad, general definition (which as you have shown, is subject to belief and opinion, or "ideology") doesn't lend itself to the success of the Rule of Law you claim to cherish. Ironically, this (the UNCAT) definition of torture was probably intentionally written in a vague manner, precisely because the standing ideologies on the subject at the time, were themselves too broad to define in a mutually agreeable fashion.

              "Its pretty sad that we've come to the point where someone's "ideology" is determinative of where they stand on torturing people." The only thing that is "sad," is the fact that you are so caught up in your own rhetoric, that you fail to see the ignorance in this statement. Of course your ideology determines where you stand [on any issue].

              "I've got news for you, the laws against torture don't have an ideology." That's not news; This is news (apparently): Laws are created specifically because of ideology. They are an attempt to define the ideology of the majority (in the case of a [somewhat] democratic society), or of an individual (in the case of a dictatorship).

              I prefer facts, reasoned thought, and careful, rational analysis of issues before I form an opinion. One such analysis of both the "torture" issue, and your hypocrisy premise is here:

              http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NjRhNWQ2YTRl

              When you look at things from all sides, hypocrisy becomes at once, both obvious and irrelevant.

      • Jack Ash says:

        Odd. My rebuttal showed that it posted, yet has now "mysteriously" vanished. I wonder what could have happened?

        • Jack Ash says:

          Hmmm. Looks like a typical WordPress back-end glitch -- now everything's showing. Sorry for the additional posts, but WordPress needs to be coaxed into cooperation now and then, and this is one way of doing that.

    • Metavirus says:

      "What gets me, is the apparent conclusion that hypocrisy is a politically one sided trait."

      I'm not sure you could find anyone who would seriously make the argument that hypocrisy only exists on one side of the spectrum. This is a classic strawman. There are TONS of hypocrites on both sides of the aisle.

  9. Great diary, great double take from me. You hammered home that point so effectively, I wish more could see it.

    Have you ever considered posting on the community blog, http://www.Motley Moose.com? I think you'd fit in very well there

  10. jmb says:

    Let me know how that investigation went. Oh, yeah, that's right. Even though Republicans controlled the White House, the Senate and the House, no formal investigation took place because President Bush knew it was WRONG!!

    • Metavirus says:

      good job avoiding the entire point of this post. the point is not that an investigation actually happened. i am pointing out the sheer hypocrisy of the same republican leaders who are now calling for torture to be swept under the rug compared to their screaming and crying for clinton to be investigated for the marc rich pardon.

  11. angelonfire says:

    Let's discuss what's really may be going on here and why this bunch of cowards suddenly have decided to magically come to their senses. It is not because there is a shred of moral fortitude in any of these Republicans — I assure you, or the Democrats for that matter.
    Rumor is the 2000 photos of prisoner abuse are coming out, one way or another. Some of these photos allegedly show the raping of children of the prisoners, a brilliant idea someone (hiding in a secret undisclosed location) important thought would encourage the prisoners to disclose information that would provide job security for the freaks administering the enhanced interrogation techniques.
    I figure a few photos will leak and then the indignant congress will demand (the GOP will yell the loudest) the rest of the photos, audio, and video (what wasn't burned by CIA before Bush left office) be released. It should be a real dog and pony show that will bury the GOP and catapult Obama into the highest of esteem in our country's history. Like it or not, it's coming and Cheney, Bush, and the GOP know it, thus the sudden unexplained call to investigate the previous administration by the most unlikely sources. It's called, "covering one's ass", nothing more. Business as usual.

    • Metavirus says:

      re the photos, i figure obama wanted to make the courts force his hand so that he would catch less flak politically. seems like a reasonable gambit to me, as long as the photos are released soon.

  12. Schu says:

    The photos from the torture center in Cuba will have a long up hill journey to the public eye. Too many politicians from both sides signed of on this, and want it buried deep. It’s like the opposition to closing the torture center and moving the detainees to the mainland. This will allow the stories of their treatment to be verified, and these same politicians will have to defend themselves. I believe that the only way these photos will see the light of day, is for them to be leaked to the internet and distributed.

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