The announcement made today that the US Office of Special Council is investigating White House political activities is catastrophic for the Bush Administration and is widely believed on Capitol Hill to be the beginning of the end for George W. Bush.
If this investigation is conducted honestly, which will be to reveal that Karl Rove and others violated federal law by making political presentations to federal employees prior to the 2006 elections, it could lead to a White House meltdown on a scale not seen since the collapse of the Nixon Administration.
George W. Bush is widely believed to be the worst president in American history, and Republicans are determined to save their party by any means, including his impeachment. The investigation, headed by Bush appointee Scott Bloch, was inspired by the alleged loss of millions of emails that were required by law to be preserved, and by the disasterous testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales last week, which has been viewed as extremely damning to the White House.
But that isn't what this journal is about. I don't think that we have had an effective president in the second half of the 20th century, and I don't think we will have one in the foreseeable future because the institution of the presidency doesn't work and, unless it is reformed from top to bottom, cannot work.
So I'm not surprised that a man as ideologically rigid and poorly trained for government as Mr. Bush would fail, and do so in a spectacular manner.
What worries me is not that another president has failed. Of course he has. Not even a consummate political genius could succeed in the American presidency, and he is far from that.
What worries me is that something else has happened just as the administration must be realizing that it is doomed, and that is that British Intelligence is reporting that Al Qaeda is talking about a Hiroshima-like attack somewhere the the world soon.
This has been reported in the London Times, but not anywhere in the US media, and I find that chilling.
I think that, at the very least, the administration let the 911 attack happen because they knew that it would make them popular and enable them to pass laws that would enforce greater government control, such as the Patriot Act. I say this for a simple reason that I have repeated in these columns before: the National Security Council was warned 11 times by the FAA prior to 911 that terrorists might fly planes into the World Trade Center.
Condoleeza Rice, as head of the NSC, chose to ignore these warnings, and that fact was classified until after the last presidential election. It is skillfully avoided in the 911 Commission Report.
At the least, they let it happen, and maybe they did worse.
So, what are we to make of a situation where the only thing that might save the administration is another attack, and Al Qaeda is warning, essentially, that they are about to go nuclear?
The Department of Homeland Security had as one of its top priorities when it was formed the 'hardening' of US ports against the movement of nuclear materials. But nothing was done. Just recently the Port of Los Angeles began to be outfitted with detectors, six years late!
And it isn't the only port that has, perhaps intentionally, been left unguarded for all these long years.
If Al Qaeda has a nuclear weapon of some sort, it could undoubtedly have gotten it into this country. Or--the horrible truth--more than one. Easily.
Now, one would think that, if there was another terror attack here, the administration would literally be run out on a rail, and that certainly would happen...unless the attack was so overwhelming that the president could impose martial law--a martial law that might not be lifted for a very long time.
I see the administration as a cornered animal. If Scott Bloch proceeds with the integrity for which he is famous, he is going to put Karl Rove and possibly Dick Cheney in jail. It is as simple and stark as that. And, as a hand-picked Bush appointee, he is above administration reproach. They cannot play the political card with him.
So, what card CAN they play?
The answer is obvious, and it is terrifying. If we see another terrorist attack, one thing will be clear this time: most certainly, it was allowed to happen by the years of neglect that has been the only real contribution made by the Department of Homeland Security.
Or will it have been just neglect?
We have 18 months to go before the election, and probably less time than that before the administration comes apart at the seams.
Will we make it? I hope so, but fear not.
Frankly, the fact that Bloch is an ultra-conservative political appointee actually might save lives, because his investigation might just be a whitwash. As outrageous as that would be, it is also true that it might save lives.
Cornered animals are dangerous. You want to leave them a way out.
NOTE: This Journal entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.