Monday, October 03, 2005

The Paperless President

So now we have Harriet Miers, a lawyer with less judicial experience than Judge Judy, nominated for the highest court in the land. Why? There are two reasons (well, three, if you include the fact she has the right pair of chromosomes).

One is that she’s an old pal of Georgie’s, and those are getting harder to come by. He likes and trusts her. Maybe they pray together, or spend long evenings discussing the Dredd Scott case.

But the more important reason is that she’s got no papers. She has no record of judicial opinions—nothing by which anyone can gauge how she views the world. Nothing for the Democrats to hang her with. Her record is as thin as a pubic hair on the edge of a Coke can.

This is deliberate. John Roberts seems like a decent man (great teeth) and yet.... what does he think? We don’t really know. And by the time we find out, it will be too fucking late. That’s just the way the Bush administration likes it. Why else would they refuse to release the memos he wrote while working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

Now we have someone with even less of a paper trail than Roberts. But no one should be surprised. This is, after all, the Paperless Presidency.

It began by rejecting paper ballots in Florida. A Supreme Court split 5-4 in W’s favor didn’t hurt, but it started with hanging chads. When the ballots were examined later by an independent committee and all votes were counted, Gore won. But as they say in the burlesque biz, tough titties.

The 2004 elections hinged on electronic machines that deliberately left no paper trail. Thousands of federal documents have disappeared from public archives since 2001, and there’s an unprecedented backlog of Freedom of Information Act requests that are simply being ignored. The public’s right to know has become the public’s right to eat shit.

Oh yeah: Then there are the billions of paper dollars that have gone missing in Iraq and will no doubt disappear in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

No paper, no proof.

When historians look back at this train wreck of a presidency, they will find precious little evidence on which to base an opinion. W’s presidential library will be able fit inside a Filofax. His legacy will be as ephemeral as one of his speeches, as elusive as those weapons of mass destruction.

Ironically, the only thing that will survive Bush is a Supreme Court dominated by his pro-corporate cronies. That will be W's great legacy, and our great loss.


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