You have to feel bad for so many of the highest officials of the Bush years. Iraq, torture, Katrina, Rovism, etc. permanently damaged some of the finest resumes in country, including Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and most especially Powell (who should have been the GOP prez instead of the boy-king). For some, like Powell, this is a genuine tragedy, a dirtying of his high reputation to serve coarse politicization. I admire Powell’s willingness to take his punishment and retreat from public life, and his rectitude in the face of Bush’s cold-blooded exploitation of his credibility highlights Rovism’s deviousness even more.
But that must be hard for so many…so what to do when you are an ex-Bush flack, once respected for quality pre-Bush work, but now a known defender/obfsucator of torture? How about writing cloying op-eds, sheltering yourself under the banner of military courage, while insulting the rest of the planet by reciting that most nationalistic, exceptionalist, and self-serving of Lincoln’s comments: ‘America is the last best hope of mankind.’ Mukasey could slide right into the hack neo-con universe of all-too-easy American exceptionalism that flatters rather than challenges the reader.
Like so many other Bush figures, Mukasey was a respected, serious operator. The temptation to reach for power must be so great, the belief that you could change things so high… but in the end, Rove-world corrupted so many of them. Consider that none of Bush’s national security officials have the reputation that Cyrus Vance does. Vance had the courage to resign out of conviction (regardless of one’s opinion of it), and this principled stand has served him well in history. I can’t imagine many Bush officials will enjoy this; speaking truth to power was never a virtue of the W years, and that sullied several, like Wolfowitz or Rice, who could have been truly historic public servants in a Powell administration.
How nice and easy it must be to write for the Wall Street Journal when the simplistic invocation of mawkish Americana plus a Bush-era vita get you op-ed space. I think the right-wing think-tank industrial complex has a machine that simply recombines expressions like ‘America,’ ‘amazing,’ ‘hero,’ ‘greatest,’ ‘unique,’ ‘freedom,’ etc. into ever-changing combinations of pro-American blather. It’s like the music-machines boy bands use, only with hawkish Americana the output instead of junk-pop. I used to read the Journal, because I thought it was a firewall against the populist nonsense of Hannity & co. I figured that the readership – presumably serious, money-making, educated broker-types – had little time for the flat-earthism of the Palin wing. You’d think a journal so insistent on the virtues of international trade would actually care more for the rest of the world than the populist GOP types…
I guess not.
I have said this before, but WILL US CONSERVATIVES PLEASE LIVE OUTSIDE THE US FOR A LITTLE WHILE BEFORE THEY TALK THIS WAY! You have no idea how insulting it is to the rest of the world, when America’s claim the mantle of World Historical Amazing Awesomess so easily and consign the rest of the planet to the ‘Old World.’ All that does it tell you how extreme American nationalism can become, and how little the writer knows about the world beyond the US. Pluralism is an American value too, and that means seeing the rest of the world as more than just a cipher for tired banalities of Americana. Please travel!!!!