Posted by lex, on March 21, 2007
Auto-rotation, is what helicopter pilots do when they lose their engine(s). Since they can’t eject – that dern rotor is still whirring around up there – they try to convert whatever potential energy is left in their altitude into kinetic energy stored by the rotor blades, plunging down towards the ground and then heaving up on the collective at the last moment in order to cushion the blow. Whe I was a lad, an experienced prop pilot once told me with maybe a bit of exaggeration, that an autorotation is actually what the Navy teaches helicopter pilots to do in order to keep their hands and feet busy while they’re waiting to die. It doesn’t really do much for their survival prospects, he said, but neither can they do a great deal of harm and you know, it… keeps them preoccupied.
I’ve resisted until now the tempation to comment upon the brewing scandal of a politician firing political appointees for what may or may not have been political reasons because the whole thing has become a kind of absurd kabuki theater – so much so, that I cannot but think I’m missing something fundamental: It’s different, we are told, when an incoming President Clinton fired all of the US attorneys in his first term because they were at-will employess who serve at the pleasure of the president and who were – in this case -appointed by a previous president from the other party. President Bush on the other hand fired eight of the country’s ninety-odd US attorneys because they were at-will employees who serve at the pleasure of the president but – and this is important – all of whom were members of his own party, whom he appointed. Which makes it so much worse.
But of course, the “scandal” such as it is, boils down to what the internal process was that the adminstration chose to terminate one set of political appointees from their party and appoint another set for, what? The next 21 months? That’s a pretty big deal. Or something.
The same folks who screamed “separation of powers” when Louisianna congressman William Jefferson’s office was tossed by the FBI after he’d been filmed taking a $100k bribe – and after he’d been found with $90k of that cold cash in his kitchen freezer – are now prepared to precipitate a full-on Constitutional crisis by demanding the right to root through the White House garbage looking for something incriminating on Karl Rove. Because after, all, it’s Karl Fricken’ Rove, people! The guy responsible for Florida in 2000, the whole country in 2004, and Global Warming. And all that stuff.
The guy who brought you Bush!!1!!
I think I’ve seen this film before: No underlying crime has been committed – unless the admittedly seedy but time-honored tradition of political patronage has been outlawed in political appointments – and yet we’re very keen to have a congressional investigation, with sworn testimony and all. Because, crime or no crime, Karl Fricken’ Rove might screw up and say something juicy, even incriminating. About something. Or even – still my beating heart – perjure himself even if he wasn’t guilty of anything!
I know, I know: It sounds crazy, but hey: Could happen.
So. This is what we have to look forward to: Congress as a source of endless of Third World-style political persecutions and partisan score settling. A wounded chief executive going to the mattresses with nothing left to lose. Twenty-one months of screaming past one another.
Ah, well – look at the bright side: As long as the legislature is busy running investigations and not engaged in, you know – actually legislating, then they can’t do a great deal of harm. It keeps them preoccupied.
Not like there’s anything else to do.
Update: Now this, on the other hand, deserves investigating.
Update 2: Patterico notes that Sen. Leahy didn’t always get all a-trembly at the notion of White House subpoenas, and after which he does it the lawyer. Which he’s qualified to do, so it’s cool.