Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Mighty Fall and We Can't Turn Away

The criticism of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales continues to increase. Four years ago, the Bush administration would have escaped such a situation unscathed. In fact, they would have turned the whole thing against their opponents and counted the matter a victory.

Now they can't even get the dang thing out of the news. Even their most ardent supporters are left with no better defense than feeble cries of "Clinton did it too!" Things aren't good in Bushland when you have to hide behind Clinton.

And all of this is exactly why us politics-junkies stay hooked. The storylines are classic, the characters are fantastically flawed and the gamesmanship stunning to watch. It's like Greek drama played for keeps. It's like Shakespearean football. And, best of all, it's Important (capital I).

The underlying drama is what makes the Gonzales case fascinating. How has one of the most effective and cut-throat political operations in history become so impotent? It has a little to do with the war. It has a little to do with the Democratic majority. But it has a lot to do with the nature of power and folly and the inevitable declines written into the meta-narrative of our political system.

We watch because it matters. But we're entranced because it's good drama.

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