I was driving to visit my brother this past Sunday and was flipping through the dials to find something to listen to on the radio. 1130-AM, Bloomberg's radio station, was replaying the Sunday morning talk shows and I happened to catch Fox News Sunday and Chris Wallace's interview with Senators Diane Feinstein and John Cornyn.
Most of it was Cornyn rehashing talking points, but he did say something I found very disturbing about the speculation of AG Holder investigating if the CIA misinformed Congress on various operations during the Bush, Jr. Administration.
WALLACE: Senator Cornyn, your reaction to the decision not to tell Congress and the vice president's apparent role telling the CIA not to tell Congress.
CORNYN: Well, Chris, this, of course, comes on the heels of a statement — unproven, by the way — of Speaker Pelosi that the CIA had lied to her about enhanced interrogation techniques, and this looks to me suspiciously like an attempt to provide political cover to her and others.
I agree with Senator Feinstein — the CIA should brief the Congress. Congress should exercise responsible oversight. But to trot out the vice president and say he's the one that's at fault — this is — unfortunately sounds like a new theme where they still want to blame the Bush-Cheney administration for the economy and for other things that, frankly, are in the — squarely within the...
CORNYN: ... control of...
WALLACE: Finally, if I may...
CORNYN: ... this administration.
WALLACE: ... because we are running out of time, and I have one other issue I want to discuss with you — and along those lines, there's another story in the paper today, Senator Cornyn, that Attorney General Holder is leaning towards appointing a criminal prosecutor to investigate whether or not CIA personnel tortured terror detainees after 9/11. Good idea?
CORNYN: So after the Obama administration leaves, the subsequent administration will conduct a grand jury to determine whether the president or any person in this administration should be indicted and prosecuted.
This is a terrible trend. And I hope that the attorney general listens to the president, who says, "We need to look forward, not backward." This is high-risk stuff, because if we chill the ability or the willingness of our intelligence operatives and others to get information that's necessary to protect America, there could be disastrous consequences.
What truly disturbs me about Cornyn's view that investigating improprieties under the Bush, Jr. administration would create a "terrible trend", is the total lack of qualifiers in his remark.
There's no mention of "if" the Obama Administration had "potentially" or "allegedly" violated existing laws, the new Attorney General would have to investigate.
His comment is a straight forward tit-for-tat sentiment that if Obama investigates Bush & Co.'s violations of the law, then the next Republican President has a green light to try and dig through anything and everything done by his (I would say 'or her', but why bother given the GOP's demographics) predecessor.
Part of me understands Obama's reluctance to investigate Bush, Jr.'s administration, because I bet "Big" John's sentiment is shared by many Republicans. I've read commentary that all the investigations into Clinton's "wrong doings" as President were in retaliation for Watergate and Iran-Contra.
Given the determined lack of empathy in the Republican Party, I would say it is safe to assume the next time a Republican is elected to the Presidency, they would retaliate with a vengeance against his predecessor, if Obama does anything to bring Bush & Co.'s legal violations to light.
One of the issues that keep people supporting the Republican Party is the assumption the Democrats are equally as corrupt, when they enter the White House. They don't have an appealing platform and got by with voter anger at the "system", but if voters ever find out how systematically corrupt the last Republican Administration has been they would lose what little credibility they have left. Bush & Co. may well have broken more laws than anything Nixon did regarding Watergate. Watergate has shaken the nation's faith in politics and politicians till this day.
As chilling as the thought of revenge for revenge's sake makes me feel, by our elected officials, I can see the vested need for Republicans to maintain the belief everyone is as corrupt as they are. If the public realizes Bush & Co. were every bit as corrupt as Nixon was, whatever credibility Republicans have may be badly damaged and never repaired.