Friday, April 02, 2004

John Dean Roasts Bush/Cheney

John Dean, famous spiller-of-the-beans from the Nixon regime, uses his expertise on scary presidencies to skewer Bush/Cheney in Salon (and because Salon's own site is so annoying, I'm quoting here from Howie Kurtz's site, who summarizes and quotes generously):

"As Richard Nixon's White House counsel during the Watergate scandal, John Dean famously warned his boss that there was 'a cancer on the presidency' that would bring down the administration unless Nixon came clean. In his new book, 'Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush,' Dean warns the country that the Bush administration is even more secretive and authoritarian than Nixon's -- in fact, he writes, it's 'the most secretive presidency of my lifetime.'

" 'To say that the [Bush-Cheney] secret presidency is undemocratic is an understatement,' he adds. 'I'm anything but skittish about government, but I must say this administration is truly scary and, given the times we live in, frighteningly dangerous.'' "

Says Dean: "Nixon became a secretive president, as his presidency proceeded, while Bush and Cheney were secretive from the outset. Nixon actually tried to reduce the excessive national security classification of documents (through a panel headed by the man who is now chief justice of the United States), while Bush and Cheney have tried to increase classification (and 9/11 does not hold up as the reason for much of it). Nixon only abused executive privilege (the power of a president to withhold information from his constitutional co-equals) after Watergate, while Bush and Cheney have sought to abuse the privilege from the outset. Nixon was never taken to court by the General Accounting Office for refusing to provide information about executive activities, while Bush and Cheney forced GAO to go to court (where GAO lost under a recently appointed Bush judge). Nixon believed presidential papers should be available for historians, but Bush has undermined the laws to make such records available to the public.

"While Nixon's presidency gave currency to the term 'stonewalling,' Bush and Cheney have made stonewalling their standard procedure, far in excess of Nixon."

Yes, "frighteningly dangerous" ... which accounts for the ferociousness of the anti-Bush backlash ... and the unity of the Democrats to BE Democrats (even though Erskine Bowles seems to have missed that vibe).

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