by Scoobie Davis
The Criminalization of Politics or The Politics of Criminality?
Recently I noticed the phrase “criminalization of politics” has been used by the right to describe how law enforcement, prosecutors, and the media at long last has taken a look at rampant corruption, thuggery, and nihilism of the modern Republican Party. The Center for American Progress reported that the phrase has been used by several Fox News operatives on that channel—possibly spurred on by the notorious Fox News daily memo (If you’re not familiar with the Fox News daily memos, watch Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism).
These Fox News operatives want us to believe that the indictment of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff, the forthcoming indictments in the Plame Treasongate investigation, and the scrutiny of Bill Frist’s finances are part of a plot to discredit the right. William Kristol’s recent article in the Weekly Standard is the epitome of this pathetic reasoning.
Actually, it isn’t an issue of the criminalization of politics; no, the issue is that the modern Republican Party is the institutionalization of The Politics of Criminality. The GOP’s criminality has theological roots: members of the American right believes that God is on their side and since they are the elect, whatever they do—no matter how noxious, despicable, and underhanded--is okay.
This mindset explains many Republican behaviors. It explains why George W. Bush called a hopped up thug who said that liberals secretly cheered the Madrid terrorist bombing as "a great American. " It explains why Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris would knowingly and illegally scrub valid voters from the voter rolls. It explains why Tom DeLay and others would send thugs to assault people and disrupt the vote counting at the Miami Dade vote counting center. It explains why Rove would—among other things—start a whisper campaign that a political opponent who protected children was in fact a child molester. It explains why Jerry Falwell would bilk his flock out of their hard-earned money by selling them fraudulent videos via phony infomercials claiming that President Clinton was involved in murder and drug smuggling (and also why Sean Hannity would defend Falwell’s actions). It explains why Limbaugh, Hannity, and their talk radio clones lie on a consistent basis. It explains Ann Coulter’s fraudulent book that incredibly claims that the breakdown in political discourse is “all liberals’ fault.” It would explain why Rove and Scooter would engage in treason to get back at critics. In sum, contemporary Republican ideology/theology emboldens horrible people who are even worse Americans.
Their theology and ideology are wrong and their actions are worse. Another theological concept is now in play: karma. When I think about lowlifes like Rove, I pray that karma exists. The only problem with karma is that it often comes into play after the person leaves this life. When I saw the film Bush’s Brain, I took to heart what one of the interviewees had to say: that possibly one day, Rove will find it impossible to sleep at night. It looks increasingly like that might be happening soon—not so much due to a guilty conscience (Rove doesn’t have a conscience), but because adjusting to a prison cell might be difficult.