Michael Steel, spokesman for John Boehner:
The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the 'Fast and Furious' operation or the cover-up that followed. The Administration has always insisted that wasn’t the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?
Some House Republicans also tried to invoke the famous Watergate-era mantra, "Who knew what and when did they know it?" That was meant to suggest a more extensive scandal, though the lawmakers offered no new evidence to back up such a claim.
In a sane world, italics wouldn't be needed, because no such histrionic rot would be available to report. In a political season--by definition, insane--we expect bad, overwrought theatre from both parties; however until 14 years ago we never expected one of those parties to attempt a nullification of the last presidential election by congressional fiat--a coup, really. And until now, we certainly never expected the same party to so consistently reveal itself as ruthlessly hostile to the nation's best interests and better angels.
It seems there is no goodness, no virtue, no honor so historically engrained in the American character that it's to be left unmolested by the GOP. The party is fully deployed in the broadest of broadside assaults on all legitimate political opposition, on republican integrity, on any sense of fair play, on public civility, even on plain human decency.
There is, as they say, nothing sacred to these contemporary pseudoconservatives, except power--theirs.
Lately my memory banks have experienced some serious flashbacks to something Bertrand Russell once wrote on the pitfalls of a liberal democracy in which executive and legislative powers are separated:
Where such a doctrine is embodied in the Constitution, the only way to avoid occasional civil war is to practice compromise and common sense. But compromise and common sense are habits of mind, and cannot be embodied in a written constitution.
There, in a mere two sentences, is the heart of the Mann-Ornstein diagnosis, "The Republicans are the problem"--for among them, there is no corresponding compromising or commonsensical habit of mind. They are instead the embodiment of a mindless rage in full pursuit of total power regained. Should the country go down as collateral damage, so be it.
Prior to virtually every national election we are tutored by excitable pundits and sonorous politicians that this election could very well be America's most crucial one. We generally dismiss their alarm as self-serving hype. But this time, they'll be right.