Will the sad detritus of the Saint Ronnie administration ever stop fouling American public life? We have Our Lady Of The Magic Dolphins on the teevee almost every weekend. We had a whole clutch of the foreign-policy fantasts rehabilitated during the late reign of C-Plus Augustus. And now, this guy, who once advocated concentration camps for student demonstrators, who personally oversaw the most embarrassing "investigation" into the porn industry ever conducted, and who functioned as lookout and getaway driver for the Iran-Contra crooks, up to and including the increasingly dim president himself, comes back to help screw up the nation again. Nobody listens to Gary Hart, but Edwin Meese III still has a place in public life. Wingnut welfare is forever.
At least part of the blame has to be shared by those nominal Democrats who, either through their silence on the crimes of that era, or in their admiration for Reagan's "style" and toothy obliviousness. (The latest of these, alas, is Chris Matthews, who has written a book about how Tip O'Neill and Ronnie made politics "work," and who, between 1980 and 1982, probably sold out truly progressive politics for at least two decades.) A number of truly horrible things were set in motion in our political life in the 1980's. The people responsible never have really been called to account for it. Now, one of the worst of them is back, doing further damage. I am, frankly, stunned.
I'm not. Meese's big brag back in the day was that there wasn't quite enough evidence to indict him when he worked for the Alzheimer's President.
Insufficient evidence to indict. The words are not an endorsement. Yet Edwin Meese III waved them like a badge of honor Tuesday as he announced his long overdue resignation as U.S. attorney general.