There have been a variety of issues occupying my attention this year, but none that would be sufficient to keep me away from this blog if I had anything that needed posting.

The fact is, I'm bored with this whole mess. I'm not enthusiastic about the Dems or their tepid rationality, or the pathetic partisan tit-for-tat of two power structures jockeying for advantage. Political maneuvering is a point of personal fascination for me, but keeping a chronicle of political gamesmanship isn't an appealing prospect for me, especially with a thousand insiders available to do the very same thing.

I didn't adopt the handle "catastrophile" so I could agonize over the nuances of Swamp combat or analyze fifteen angles on the merits and drawbacks of defunding the Iraq war. Those things interest me, but what I really enjoy is reading into an agenda, and there's just no challenge left in that at the moment. The only people left who don't see what a resounding error the Bush administration has been for America are more than simply deceived, they are willfully blind to reality.

America understands that Iraq was a lie, even if they don't agree on what to do next.

America understands that Bush is a puppet.

America understands that the administration has no regard for the truth or the righteous path; that they will say whatever they need to say to move their corrupt agenda forward.

There's simply no point in continuing to say so. Finally, finally this bizarre shell has cracked, and now it's for the vultures to set in on it. For my part, I can take no joy in the fact that now, too late, people finally come to understand. I can only sit here and watch it crumble, and hope against hope that we've learned something (because we really haven't, as far as I can tell).

Here is the long and short of it:

The Cheneyists are trying to cover their tracks in the hopes of riding out the next two years. The old-school realists -- Daddy's people -- are cultivating a faction of former Bush-adminstration believers to try and repair or dump a raft of bad policies before they explode.

The national Reeps are scrambling to repair their reputation without turning on Gee-Dub too vehemently. The "peripheral" players -- Cheney to some extent, but even more the Miers and Gonzales and Libbys of the administration, those close to the figurehead President who cooperated with the Cheney agenda rather than trying to rein it in.

The Dems are the Dems. On the Iraq issue they'll play for a draw, wanting to create the appearance of standing up to Bush while trying not to give him the excuse that he could have done it if those nasty liberals hadn't tied his hands. It won't work. The best they can hope for is to get a Gates plan rather than a Cheney plan, and that will go out the window if Cheney's thugs manage to provoke Iran.

At they same time, the Dems are going to attempt to damage the administration as much as possible with a slow, creeping investigations process that is going to keep uncovering crimes and corruption as long as it's allowed to continue. I can safely say that there's not enough time between now and January 2009 to hold this administration to account for every last act of greed and corruption and dishonesty. It remains to be seen how much will, in fact, be exposed, but with the way the DoJ stonewall is collapsing, I can no longer completely rule out the possibility of impeachment proceedings, though I'll go ahead and leave removal of Bush from office off the table. Removal of Cheney or other officials is just barely possible, though it's much more likely that a flurry of resignations and some pardons will preclude such action.

It certainly appears at this moment that the DoJ bureaucracy is revolting against the administration's efforts to politicize its operations. The rapid unravelling of the rationale we were offered for shitcanning those US Attorneys is just a manifestation of this. Furthermore, this is not a war started by the bureaucrats.

Firing the prosecutor that brought down Duke Cunningham was, if not a foolish move, at the very least openly hostile to the Department and its career employees. However, this is nothing new -- we've already seen how the administration treats civil servants who put doing their job above political loyalty.

What was new here was the scramble, the rapid succession of shifting positions and the avalanche of documents and evidence to counter each new lie. The administration was caught off guard. They had no time to concoct a story that would keep them ahead of the evidence. They still have not recovered, though they seem to have found the story they're sticking with. ("So what if we're politicizing the DoJ? We can fire whoever we want, nyah!")

Their lack of sure footing in this mess -- the simple fact that they've made enemies of the very people they depend on to provide justifications for all their other terrible policies -- this is what makes it interesting to watch. A criminal administration cannot hope to win a political war against the Department of Justice, period. If Alberto Gonzales is forced to step down, his replacement will have to get past a narrowly Dem-controlled Senate -- meaning he'll have to be evenhanded and rational enough not to offend either party too greatly.

That means that it's over for the crooks. A new Attorney General might not start indicting the administration for every criminal act he gets briefed about upon taking office, but he will almost certainly make "cut this shit out" a central element of damage control. We might never even hear about it all, though the aforementioned flurry of resignations will probably be a telltale sign.

But at this point, there's not all that much to talk about. It's as if the administration has finally been forced to put its cards on the table, and there's hardly a comment to be offered.

"We did this because we wanted to," they're saying. "What we want is all that matters."

And America already knows what to think of that argument.

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