After reviewing the most recent resignations in
Washington, are there lessons to be learned?
It is one of those quotes that you are sure exists – "Nothing
is constant but change" – but finding the source is difficult.
All too often the source is stated simply as "Old adage." Of
course there is always the old French saying: "Plus ça
change, plus c’est la meme chose" – meaning: the more
things change, the more they are the same. Then you
suddenly discover that 100 years before Plato, in the 6th
century BC, Heraclitus wrote, "The only thing that is
constant is change." A few centuries later, in the 19th
century, Benjamin Disraeli, Britain’s first and (to date)
only Jewish Prime Minister wrote, "In a progressive
country change is constant; change is inevitable."
So all the way from Heraclitus in the 6th century, to
President John F. Kennedy who wrote in the 20th
century, "Change is the law of life. And those who look
only to the past or present are certain to miss the future"
– there is a positive recognition of the ever-present fact
of change. And not that it is for better or for worse –
just that it constantly exists.
We have just become aware of several changes,
arising from at least three resignations at the federal
government level. The unifying political aspect is that
all are Republicans, and given the waning years of the
term of office for President Bush they perhaps might
not be unexpected. But when there are so many, and
at the same time, and at such a high level, they merit
a review on our part.
The first to mention is Tony Snow, White House
Press Secretary, who will officially leave his position
on September 14. At only age 52, Snow had a long and
successful career in journalism, including 4 years with
former president George H.W. Bush. He came to this
White House position in April 2006, from Fox Cable
News. In recent months he has undergone extensive
surgery for cancer but apparently has recovered
satisfactorily. His stated reason for leaving the White
House position was that he had taken a large cut in pay
to serve the president, and was unable to support his
family (wife and 3 children) on his salary of $168,000.
If nothing else, this is a sad commentary on the cost of
living in the capitol city of our nation.
Tony Snow was well liked and respected by a press corps
not favorably inclined toward the president, and leaves
his job with no words of complaint or criticism of the
president. It does not seem likely that a "tell all" book
exposing life in the White House will be forth-coming.
This appears in every way to be a normal change based
on personal reasons.
The second of these resignations is by Alberto Gonzales,
the first Hispanic Attorney General. Like Tony Snow,
Alberto Gonzaleshad attained a high position in government
at only age 52. Serving first as General Counsel to Governor
George Bush, he became Secretary of State, and Justice on
the Texas Supreme Court. All of those appointments were
made by then Governor George Bush. Upon the election of
Bush as president, Gonzales came to Washington in 2001 as
White House Counsel, and in February 2005 was confirmed
by the Senate as Attorney General of the United States.
His loyalty to President Bush was in constant evidence,
and the charge of "cronyism" was frequently heard. In
connection with the use and interpretation of the USA
Patriot Act, he was often in conflict with opponents of
President Bush, and when appearing before the Senate
Judiciary Committee in hearings resulting from his
firing of several federal attorneys, his lack of recall of
his own actions became almost a trade mark. On one
day he used his failure to recall 71 times. Although the
president never hesitated to affirm his confidence in his
attorney general, on August 27 Gonzales announced
his retirement to take effect on September 17.
As is the case with Tony Snow, there has been no evidence
of disagreement with President Bush by Mr. Gonzales.
Nor can any "tell all" exposure book be expected. His
main offense seemed to result from the "cronyism"
which marked his relationship with the president. It is
strange that cronyism can be considered such a serious
offense, when there was no charge of nepotism made
when President Kennedy named his brother as Attorney
General. Nepotism would seem to be a far more serious
accusation than cronyism. In a sense, nepotism can be
defined as inbred cronyism.
The resignation of Alberto Gonzales appears to have
been the right action to take. Criticism of his conduct in
the Senate hearings had led to disorder and confusion
due to lack of leadership within the Justice Department,
which department is the key to maintain the balance
between the Legislative, Judicial and Executive branches
of our system of government.
The third in this series of resignations at the federal level
is that of Senator John Warner of Virginia, who has
announced that he will not seek re-election in 2008,
after serving 30 years in the U.S. Senate. Prior to his
30 years as a Senator were 5 years as Secretary of the
Navy, and service in the Navy in WW II and as a Marine
in the Korean conflict. In the last Republican controlled
Congress he was Chairman of the Senate Armed Services
Committee, and serves now as ranking member, as he
does on the Intelligence Committee, among other
important committee assignments which include the
Senate committee on Homeland Security, and ranking
member of the committee on Environment and Public
Why bring to a conclusion a political career as successful
as this? Senator Warner mentioned the fact that he is now
80 years of age, and the demands of the Senate are more
extreme for a person of that seniority. His association with
the U.S. Military began more than 60 years ago, when at
age 17 he enlisted in the Navy. Our nation’s defense has
always been of prime importance throughout his career...
A fourth, and potential member of this list of resigners is
Idaho Senator Larry Craig, who has completed 27
years in the U.S. Congress, 10 of them in the House and
17 in 3 successive terms as Senator. Prior to coming to
Washington he served for 6 years in the Senate in Idaho.
Senator Craig had always been outspoken on moral
issues, and on "Meet the Press" in 1999 he said of then
President Clinton, "The American people already know
that Bill Clinton a bad boy – a naughty boy. I am going to
speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority
think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad,
naughty boy." Those words, and others in similar vein
about homosexuality, came back to haunt him after he
pleaded guilty to a charge involving lewd conduct in a
public rest room in the Minneapolis airport in June of this
year. Despite his assertions that he was not gay, the guilty
plea, and research by the leading newspaper in Idaho
caused his support even from Republican colleagues to
disappear, and he announced on national television on
September 1, his "intent" to resign effective September 30.
His actions throughout the "disclosure" process were in
stark contrast to the prevailing attitude of homosexuals,
who seem to be proud of their sexual orientation, as seen
in their "gay pride" parades. Senator Craig seemed to abhor
any such involvement, and kept insisting "I am not gay."
His wife and family have stood by him throughout this
ordeal, as has at least one Republican Senator, Arlen
Specter of Pennsylvania...
Subsequently he announced that he might attempt to
overturn his guilty plea and fight to retain his seat in the
Senate. Toward that end he has recruited a team of possible
attorneys, reportedly including the noted defense attorney,
Billy Martin, who most recently has been publicized as the
attorney defending the Atlanta professional football star,
Michael Vick, for his involvement in promoting dog fights.
Thus the inclusion of Senator Craig in the resigning group
is somewhat up in the air.
In reviewing these resignations, the one theme that is
common to all of them is that aspect we first touched upon:
the issue of change. It is not a question of who is right or who
is wrong, or of any reflection on one political party or another
(these all happen to be Republicans). Nor is it a reflection of
any sort on our national government. It is purely an issue of
change, but in the words of Disraeli, "change is constant;
change is inevitable."
This nation will survive and will recognize new leaders who
will maintain the founding principles of this nation.
An enduring quote from James Madison, Architect of
the U.S. Constitution: "We have staked the whole future of
American civilization, not upon the power of government,
far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political
institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern
ourselves, to control ourselves, and to sustain ourselves
according to the Ten Commandments of God."
And God’s word: "I am the Lord; I change not." (Malachi 3:6)
Afterthoughts . . .
An old stalwart heard from: a familiar Conservative icon,
William F. Buckley, Jr. has been relatively silent of late, but
his observations, as always, have merit. Speaking recently he
said that Great Britain is under attack from its relatively large
Muslim population. Britain’s problem, he opined, "is not, this
time around, in the shape of a continental army threatening
invasion or Nazi bombers darkening the sky, but instead
Muslim immigration." Although there are but 2 million
Muslims in Britain, he noted the custom of granting instant
citizenship to members of the Empire. This results to a
greater degree than in America the coping with demands for
compliance with their religious practices and for unique
education provisions for their young people. And there is the
underlying threat of violence against infidels – in this case
the rest of the British nation. Buckley concluded: "It is time
for the mother of parliaments to look the unruly creeds in
the face and say, No More."
The Temple Mount revisited. In last week’s issue (Sept. 5)
reference was made to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and
he Islamic demands that Israel relinquish control to a group
of Muslim nations. There is a new development of interest and
concern. Israel had contracted management of the Mount to the
Waqf, a Muslim entity, to supervise the Mount. Islamic workers
have been using bulldozers and heavy machinery to dig around
the mosques located there and have apparently been destroying
a portion of the outer wall of the Second Temple, one of the
holiest sites of Judaism. If this charge is found to be correct, it
will have serious, long term effects on the entire Temple Mount
controversy, and the archaeological aspects of the ruins.
The Mexican trucks are coming! The infamous 9th Circuit
Court of Appeals in California seems to have sided with the Bush
administration and denied issuing a stay on permission for
Mexican long-distance haulers to operate throughout this
country. Opponents of the plan fear accidents due to faultily
maintained trucks, and drivers who are not familiar with
American traffic regulations. Of concern also, is the possibility
for illegal aliens to be transported in the large trucks which
will have access to areas well beyond the few border states.
To say nothing of the danger of transporting terrorists and
terrorist weaponry. This can be an invasion with serious
overtones, but with no discernible benefit to America.
A new term from Australia. One of the Australian TV
networks is featuring a new comedy series described as "the
filthiest show on television." The title, "Californication,"
gives some idea of the sexual nature of the program. In
Australia churches are holding prayer meetings seeking
God’s help in taking the program off the air. Let us hope
that the title and the show do not migrate to America.
These nuns are not beating around the bush; but
they are beating on President Bush. They have called on
the Congress to impeach President Bush and Vice President
Cheney. The group wrote as follows: "The National Coalition
of American Nuns is impelled by conscience to call you to
act promptly to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice
President Dick Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors."
The other parts of the letter are in like vein. [Reported in
Winston-Salem (NC) Journal] For some reason it appears
that certain nuns have developed a keen dislike for our
president and vice president. An impartial observer would
likely conclude that we have enough vicious enemies
elsewhere in the world, and that as American citizens we
should stand together and act as American citizens.
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