Cornyn lowers the bar

So now opposing making an advocate of torture Attorney General is “insurgency”? Yes, I can just see Gen. Shalikashvili as a suicide bomber, can’t you?

Being a Republican in Congress these days is a little like being a limbo dancer: they keep lowering the ethical bar, and more and more flexibility and ingenuity are required to keep passing under it.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas doesn’t look very limber physically, but ethically he seems to be virtually double-jointed. I think it’s possible he’s managed to go lower than anyone before him. If not that, at least he’s gone low enough to crawl under a snake’s belly.

A dozen generals and admirals issued a statement yesterday questioning the propriety of confirming Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General given Gonzales’s responsibility for the torture memos.

Signers of the statement included an officer of four-star rank from each of the services — Shalikashvili of the Army (who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs), Hoar of the Marines, McPeak of the Air Force, and Guter of the Navy — as well as John Hutson, retired Navy Judge Advocate General.

Of the twelve, five openly supported John Kerry in 2004, which isn’t surprising if they regard torture as an important issue. But of course under the rules of GOP Fantasyland, anyone who criticizes the Young Churchill must be doing so for strictly partisan reasons, and Cornyn was quick to point that out. “There was significant overlap – I counted five of them that were actively supporting Senator Kerry’s campaign for president, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence,” he harruphed.

Fine. Nothing surprising there. But Cornyn — naturally, a Vietnam-era chickenhawk — was just warming up.

“Opponents of the president were unsuccessful in beating him for re-election and now have decided to continue this sort of political insurgency against his nominees.” (Emphasis added.)

Hmmm … “insurgency.” Where have I heard that word before? Never in politics, as far as I know, except to describe an attempt from within a party to overthrow its leadership. It would be bizarre to describe the routine opposition of an opposition party to the ruling party as “insurgency.”

But of course the word is in current use outside of politics. It’s the usual designation for America’s enemies in Iraq.

And that was, of course, Cornyn’s point: to attempt to identify opponents of the President with enemies of the county, even if they’re career military men and women.

I’m glad to know from my colleagues in Right Blogistan that Republicans would never think of questioning the patriotism of their political opponents. However, I’m not so generous-spirited, so I’ll put the question bluntly: Why do right-wing chickenhawks like Cornyn so despise the uniform of their country and the men and women who wear it?

After this sort of declaration of war, I hope that the Senate Democrats will make the Gonzales battle as bloody as possible. Let’s see if he still regards the Geneva Convention as “quaint” after his contempt for it deprives him of the office he wants, and of a stepping-stone to the Supreme Court.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

3 thoughts on “Cornyn lowers the bar”

  1. Dems teeing it up to Bork Gonzales

    If the Democrats listen to their base, they'll Bork the president's nominee for U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales:
    The American Civil Liberties Union and other critics of the administration say the memo set the tone for the subsequent abuse …

  2. Update 2: The Shame Offensive

    Texas seems to be headquarters for the shameless these days, all over the state. DeLay of Sugarland, Bush of Midland, and now Cornyn of Idiotland. Senator-by-DeFault Cornyn has begun to attack retired generals and admirals who oppose Alberto Gonzales's…

  3. Update 2: The Shame Offensive

    Texas seems to be headquarters for the shameless these days, all over the state. DeLay of Sugarland, Bush of Midland, and now Cornyn of Idiotland. Senator-by-DeFault Cornyn has begun to attack retired generals and admirals who oppose Alberto Gonzales’s…

Comments are closed.