16 May 2007...11:24 am

Strange (Hospital) Bedfellows

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I knew a lot when I took a drafty bus down to DC to protest W. Bush’s first inauguration–I was sixteen, so of course I knew a lot. I knew that I really wanted All Things Considered to call me and not only be a Youth Radio reporter (so embarrassing and yet so rad), I knew that it was likely the FBI would be surveilling my vinegar-soaked handkerchief self, and I knew John Ashcroft was a Confederate apologist, woman-hating defeated Senator. In fact, I think the sign I made for the demonstration said something negative about him, instead of about Bush. (Remember the luxury of domestic politics?)

Much has changed in six years–Barbara, Jenna and I have all grown up, and at least one of us has never been arrested for trying to drink with a fake ID. The moral terrain has shifted so dramatically in the direction of egregious, malicious corruption during Bush’s presidency that, this morning, Ashcroft seemed like a victim.

The mad-cap race to Ashcroft’s hospital room would strike me as a thrilling, political-noir drama if it wasn’t so repugnant. Bush tried to take advantage of an incapacitated, doddering Attorney General who had clearly shown himself willing to bend the law to satisfy politics–that’s the kind of Attorney General you shouldn’t have to drug up before program reauthorizations.

But, then, anomaly of anomalies, a weakened Ashcroft staggered out of his bed and took a stand. When the line between the good guys and the bad guys has veered so far over into the bad, it’s hard to predict who our bedfellows will be. Compassionate Conservatism really backfired, eh? Wanton promiscuity and bed-sharing all around–and if Robert S. Mueller III is impregnated with Ashcroft’s baby, he still has time to abort it.

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