Saturday, January 17, 2009

Letting Sleeping Scandals Lie (again)

Tim O'Reilly's recent tweet pointed to an opinion piece written by Paul Krugman for the New York Times regarding how to address the latest government scandal. To quote, Last Sunday President-elect Barack Obama was asked whether he would seek an investigation of possible crimes by the Bush administration. “I don’t believe that anybody is above the law,” he responded, but “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.” Krugman disagrees, based on the principle that any abuse of power needs to be examined, and those responsible need to be held accountable. Apparently, that hasn't held true in past similar scandals such as Iran-Contra (Reagan), and while President-Elect Obama seems in favor of sweeping Bush's "possible crimes" under the rug, Krugman would like to drag them out into the light of day. I'm all in favor of "justice for all". If the Bush administration is guilty of illegal acts, then the individuals involved, right up to and including the President of the United States, should be held accountable. I believe that was the idea behind the Watergate hearings (remember Nixon?). It would seem like Obama should be all in favor of justice. Why would he suggest otherwise? The article states that healing bi-partisan wounds could be part of the motivation. Obama has made a point out of crafting an administration using players from both of the major teams (Democrat and Republican). This is a great time for "mending fences", and dragging Bush and Co. up before the inquisition would likely tear those fences down, crush them to sawdust, and then ignite them, burning said fences into ashes. The other thing to consider is what you get from moving forward and not back; letting the sleeping scandals lie. You get (ideally) the same treatment from the next administration as far as whatever mistakes or (gasp) misdeeds you may commit during your time in the White House. Could Obama be looking ahead, not only at the big picture, but also at the mirror? Who says that only Republicans are capable of making mistakes or (at least being accused of) breaking the law? Are Democrats scandal-proof? Bill Clinton would probably say "no" (though, he's bounced back rather nicely).

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