The New American Exceptionalism: Disdain For The Rule Of Law

Glenn Greenwald has a great post that highlights how the Bush Administration, and its Establishment enablers, Democrats, Republicans and the Media, have severely tarnished the idea of American Exceptionalism. Glenn comments on a WaPo piece by its Deputy Opinion Page Editor Jackson Diehl criticizing, in completely unironic tones, the failure of "the rule of law" in Russia:

How can a member of an Editorial Page which has endorsed some of the most grotesque abuses and violations of law within their own country -- and which continues to believe that those responsible should be protected and immunized -- possibly continue to parade around as some sort of crusaders for those principles when it comes to others? Who is the target audience that they think they are successfully fooling with that charade? What mental process allows a person like Jackson Diehl or Fred Hiatt to declare that their own Government is exempt from the rule of law and the most basic international norms yet still believe they are in a position to condemn other governments for insufficient regard for the rule of law and human rights?

Glenn is right of course, but this holds true for the entire Beltway Establishment and beyond, from Fred Hiatt to Cass Sunstein to Nancy Pelosi and yes, to Barack Obama. The abdication of any moral standing by the American Establishment in the past 8 years has been nothing short of shameful. No one in the Establishment has the standing to lecture anyone about anything. All the lawlessness, all the outrages and abuses, all in our name - the Establishment has gone along every step of the way. This is what American Exceptionalism means now. And all done in our names.

Speaking for me only

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    We Need Enemies (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by squeaky on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:58:10 AM EST
    To focus on so that our wingnut enablers can distract us while our leaders embrace fascism in the name of freedom.

    Does anyone get a pass on this statement: (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Lil on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:08:58 PM EST
    "The abdication of any moral standing by the American Establishment in the past 8 years has been nothing short of shameful. No one in the Establishment has the standing to lecture anyone about anything."
    I thought maybe Russ Feingold.

    I would add (none / 0) (#14)
    by MichaelGale on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:34:09 PM EST
    Russ Feingold and the citizens themselves.

    The capitulation of the (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:17:06 PM EST
    American left on all things right wing is the saddest part, even more gross than the right wing's increasingly vicious tactics of subjugation. Everyone can see the left struggling to push back hard, but our leaders are still too afraid.

    There is still rule of law? (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by Lahdee on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:27:32 PM EST
    Coulda fooled me.

    Hey don't tase me man!

    It's time for accountability (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by mmc9431 on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:33:18 PM EST
    This is one of the points that has upset me throughout this administration. Our moral standing in the world has been destroyed. How can we lecture the world about the rule of law or human rights when we've become the one of most prominent abusers of these values?

    Earlier I thought all these hearings were for fact gathering and that the Dem's were saving their ammo for this election cycle. Now I believe they were just stroking us along.

    This Is Why (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by BDB on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:21:45 PM EST
    Glenn is wrong to target Chris Carney.  He should be targeting Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.  Of course, it's essentially risk-free to target small fry like Carney.  But you can get rid of Carney and it isn't going to change a thing so long as the current crew - Dems and Republicans - are in charge.  At least not on the issue of accountability.  They all agree, there shouldn't be any.  Now my own guess is that if the Dems take the WH, the GOP will change its mind about that, but the Dems have turned into such pathetic political non-fighters, I'm not going to lose a lot of sleep over it.

    Since "America" was built on the (none / 0) (#1)
    by zfran on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 11:52:17 AM EST
    "rule of law" which candidate is going to put us back under the Constitution by pulling back on what has been done to the law for the last 8 years. My answer is, neither one! Again, the answer you expected, but true, imo.

    Well, we learned (none / 0) (#4)
    by lilburro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:11:37 PM EST
    the libertarians have money.  Someone should be primed to take over for Ron Paul, maybe in a lower level office.

    Beg your pardon.... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:27:35 PM EST
    what does the turning of American ideals to Mudd have to do with the libertarians?  Libertarians have no power in this country...I know because I have the lack of liberty to show for it.

    I just think it's interesting (none / 0) (#16)
    by lilburro on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:05:28 PM EST
    in light of Ron Paul's major success in riling people up about their basic rights, that the establishment types don't see the America that's really angry about what they've done.  The excitement Ron Paul generated has now been overshadowed by Obama, but Paul's voters had dough and focus, and IMO will only become more significant in the coming years.  Both Obama and Paul draw heavily from young people too which I think is interesting.

    Gotcha... (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 01:20:51 PM EST
    misunderstood you there.

    Paul turns me on because he's not gonna promise you the moon and fail to deliver.  He's selling one thing...liberty...and at this point that's all I really want or need.


    I hope that someone in the (none / 0) (#5)
    by hairspray on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:12:27 PM EST
    Washington area at the very minimum, writes a LTE bringing up these points.  Why must a blogger who is obscured to most of the American public be the only one to call them out?

    Real World (none / 0) (#6)
    by bocajeff on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:16:04 PM EST
    Because in the real world of international politics that's what countries do - they know they aren't perfect but they prod other countries to conform to what they want -

    Think about Switzerland and their "neutrality" which is suppose to be so high-minded of them yet lets them prosper off of other countries misery (bank accounts of dictators, Nazi era loot, etc...). To paraphrase Geddy Lee - Even if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

    LOL! (none / 0) (#8)
    by tek on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:21:26 PM EST
    Slamming Bush for disregarding the Rule of Law and then arguing that people who have broken the immigration laws should be rewarded.  Oh that's right, those laws are different, it's like a traffic misdemeanor.

    That's a pretty good comparison. (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by MarkL on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:22:31 PM EST
    Torture vs. traffic tickets.

    And... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Lil on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:31:59 PM EST
    2 wrongs don't make a right. And... shouldn't we expect leaders to set an example, why should the plain folks follow the rules and not the big shots...do as I say, not as I do. You are right MarkL, the comparison stunk. Reminds me of all the right wingers thinking lying about an extra marital affair is worse than lying about WMD's.

    "Government of laws." Faint hope . . . (none / 0) (#15)
    by wurman on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 12:39:35 PM EST
    Mark Twain
    Laws are sand, customs are rock. Laws can be evaded and punishment escaped, but an openly transgressed custom brings sure punishment.

    It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress.

    We have the best government that money can buy.

    Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.

    And from longer ago . . . .


    The laws are silent in the midst of arms.

    Julius Caesar

    Arms and laws do not flourish together.

    A constant state of war is a constant tyranny.

    no, no one does. (none / 0) (#19)
    by cpinva on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 02:50:46 PM EST
    Does anyone get a pass on this statement:

    everyone in the country, either directly or indirectly, is complicit. if the american populace was really all that concerned, john kerry would be running for his second term. he isn't.

    if we were that concerned, our men & women in congress would be getting an earful from their constituents. they aren't.

    for the most part, as long as it doesn't affect them directly, most people could not care.

    Sunstein's biography includes (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 28, 2008 at 06:17:46 PM EST
    his work writing Constitutions for other countries, a job I've always wanted!