I will no longer pretend that George W. Bush has any principles

I used to be very comfortable talking to people who support Bush. I could acknowledge that while I disagree with some of his positions and actions, he at least appeared to make the majority of his decisions from a foundation of principle. The benefit of this is that you "know where he stands". And I do think there is an argument to be made for predictability in an administration and the gov't overall - hell, if you're gonna fuck shit up at least warn people. But I also think it's important for people to have principles on broad philosophical issues so that their policies can be informed by a coherent system of intellectual inquiry. The alternative, of course, is doing only that which is politically convenient and expedient, which leads to inconsistent and overall unjust outcomes and policies that play off of special interests without a comprehensive understanding of the common good (or one's conception thereof).

Now, Bush has advanced and / or supported some policies in the past that are inconsistent with his stated principles, such as steel tariffs and prescription drug coverage for seniors. But this takes the cake:

The Supreme Court is considering whether Texas and other states can execute 51 Mexicans who say they were improperly denied legal help from their consulates, a dispute testing the effect of international law in U.S. death penalty cases. ... The case also pits the authority of state courts against the Bush administration, which in a surprise move last month ordered states to comply with the ICJ (International Court of Justice) ruling and hold new hearings. At the same time, the administration said it was withdrawing from a section of the treaty so that the ICJ could no longer hear U.S. disputes.

Now, I'm not a fan of the ICJ. I'm not in favor of holding U.S. courts accountable to some international authority. And I'm not really a death penalty advocate whatsoever. And I'm pretty ambivalent about the legal necessity for consular help, especially after the conviction (where was this argument during the trial?).

With all that said, I have no doubt whatsoever that were these inmates not Mexican they would be getting no support from the administration. Given the admin's stance on issues related to the detainment of foreigners by the military and their general support for the death penalty, I think it strains credibility to argue that Bush has a principled problem with death row inmates getting killed simply because they didn't get any help from their government. This is a move to get Republicans in with the Latin American consituency and it goes against everything that my Republican friends claim is principled about the party.

Face it: Bush is no better than Clinton. They're both a bunch of opportunistic thugs with no higher principles than their own political success. And it's so blatantly plain it disgusts me.

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Written on Monday, March 28, 2005