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Blog - The Polity

Deep Throat Revealed
After more than 30 years, the identity of Deep Throat was finally revealed this past Tuesday, May 30. As it turns out, W. Mark Felt was the man responsible for taking down the horribly corrupted and self-destructive Nixon administration. Since the 1974 resignation, reporters Woodward and Bernstein, who initially broke the story, have vowed to keep their source anonymous. The question everyone seems to be asking now is why would Felt come clean now, in poor health at the age of 91?

I have been very discouraged over the last few days, watching extensive coverage of this story on the cable news networks. I am not one to cry media bias very often, but watching ex-Nixon administration convict after ex-Nixon administration convict explain why Felt should be considered a criminal has frustrated me to no end.  Following Woodward and Bernstein’s report in, many members of the Nixon White House received jail time for their roles in the illegal activities that went on at that time. Apparently, these people now believe that Deep Throat should have received a similar punishment.

The truth is, it must have taken a lot of guts for Felt to come clean in Vanity Fair. Without question, he had to be fully aware of the reaction the story would get, and he certainly knew he would face critics from sea to shining sea. I think it is quite possible that money was involved, based simply on the way he chose to reveal himself. If that is the case, I hope we can all forgive the man, who single-handedly saved the United States government, for making a few bucks to tell the story. In my opinion, though, money was probably not the main objective here.

Divide and (don’t) Conquer - June 2, 2005
One of the key differences between George W. Bush and his last several predecessors is the fact that for the first time in 35 years, America does not have a divided government. In other words, Congress and the President will not be doing as much compromising as Madison intended. While I certainly believe that the politicians in office at any given time should reflect the views of the country, I also recognize that in such a diverse nation, that means having a diverse government. The American government was built to be a system of deadlock. Interest groups battle to have their voices heard, congressmen battle over legislation, and it all results in a whole lot of compromising and very little progress…and that is just what (most of) the Framers wanted. With these two branches of government united, though, there is a much greater potential for major legislation to pass, not all of which could be beneficial.

With Congress on his side, the President passed the No Child Left Behind Act, a highly controversial piece of legislation, during his first term in office. Under a divided government, I think it is quite likely that this bill might not have passed, because liberals would have been more likely to see the many flaws in the legislation. Under the law, schools are denied funding if their test scores do not meet a certain criteria. I must admit that on the surface, the idea is a good one. Schools are one of the most critical parts of our nation, and they should be held to high standards. Forcing them to live up to these standard, though, via what is essentially an unfunded mandate, is irresponsible. Add to that the fact that the law puts all children - even those who are mentally disabled - on the same level, and the law becomes that much more unfair. It is not only through legislation, though, that the country can be hurt when Congress and the President are on the same side of the spectrum. According to the 1973 War Powers Act, Congress - only Congress - has the ability to declare war. In the wake of September 11, though, President Bush was able to deceive Congress, and the nation, into believing that Saddam Hussein was partially responsible for the attack. Congress proceeded to essentially give the President the authority he does not - and should not - have, undermining their own power in the process.

Now, what I am about to say may sound crazy, but bear with me. As we look forward to 2008, what we need to find is a Presidential candidate who will Unite a Divided Government. Even as a democrat, I will be okay if the country elects another Republican in ‘ long as he (or she) has a Democratic Congress serving as a check on his power. The problem is, though, I fear that the Democratic Party may not feel the same way, and will once again throw all of their eggs in the Presidential Election basket. A repeat of 2004 would be an even bigger step back for a party that needs to set their sights on Congress while they still have a chance at regaining it in one or two elections. In the age of dealignment, with the weakening political parties, each Presidential election is truly up for grabs. Congress, though, has the potential to become much more of a stronghold, which is why the Democrats need to act now while they still can.

2008: A Race Odyssey
President George W. Bush was reelected only 8 months ago, but with the way things are going, I cannot help but look forward to better days. The “W” Presidency has been about anything but smooth, with the largest terrorist attack ever on American soil, the retaliation against Al Queda, a war that was started under false pretenses in Iraq, and a country that is (despite what the Republicans will tell you) more divided than ever. As I have said before, the true problem that the country can - and must - solve in the next few years is not the fact the Americans are divided, but rather that our government is not.

The fact that Americans are divided, however, is a very important one to examine, because it should have a lot to do with the candidates each party chooses. In my opinion, the politicians in this country who will actually work to unite America are few and far between. In looking forward to 2008, in fact, only one name comes to mind as the candidate who would, if elected, work not for his own benefit, but rather for the benefit of his country. That person is former New York Mayor Rudy Giulianni.

On September 11, 2001, Giulianni found himself dealing with the largest terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil in his own city. Facing an unknown enemy, and with no knowledge of what each minute could bring, the Giulianni threw himself in harm’s way. Instead of staying clear of the area and directing the rescue effort via telephone, he immediately went as close to the twin towers as he was allowed to, and personally witnessed the downfall of the two tallest buildings in the world. Even in the face of danger, though, New York’s mayor somehow managed to remain calm.

Now, I am aware of the fact that not everything in politics had to do with 9/11. After finding out that America was under attack, President Bush sat in a classroom and listened to kids read to him for an additional seven minutes…and he still got elected to a second term. Somehow, voters did not have 9/11 on their minds on November 2, 2004. In ’08, though, I believe that Giulianni’s actions, with the eyes of the nation upon him, will make the difference.

As for the other half of my prediction, have you noticed how Hilary Clinton has all but disappeared lately? Hmmm…what could she be doing? Okay, so maybe considering the family, that’s a bad question to ask. All joking aside, though, it seems as if Hilary Clinton will attempt to go where no woman has gone before. Whether or not America is ready to have a woman at the helm, is yet to be determined. What we can nearly be certain of now is that the former first lady will be the first female to test the icy waters of a national election. Her past will be ripped apart, her private life will be exposed (as if it’s not already), and she will face scrutiny at every turn, and anyone who has not watched the news in ten years will realize that she is not the morality queen of the universe. Beyond that, though, I do believe that Senator Clinton does have a legitimate chance at coming out on top.

And, if not, Rudy Giulianni should be President anyways.

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