As this administration winds down (can we really still have more than 400 days left to this pack of idiots?), they're apparently looking to secure some kind of legacy other than thousands of unnecessary deaths in an unnecessary war, running the deficit back up to record levels, using the Constitution as toilet paper, straining relations with long-time allies, etc. Apparently they want to try one big Hail Mary pass, and attempt to settle the half-century old dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. It's apparent to me that they're taking a page from former Illinois Governor George Ryan's playbook.
In 1994, there was a horrible automobile accident in Wisconsin. A piece fell off of a truck that was driving on an Interstate. A minister and his large family were driving behind the truck in a van. The van hit the debris and they lost control. Six of the family's children were killed in the resulting crash.
When the police questioned the truck driver, who had an Illinois license, they discovered that he spoke zero English. How, then, had he acquired his truck driver's license? Investigators backtracked until they discovered that the Secretary of State's office (Illinois' version of the DMV) was full of corruption. There was a racket going on in which certain driving schools regularly bribed the Secretary of State's office to guarantee that their students would pass driving tests, even if they spoke no English, or for that matter, couldn't even drive. As long as a portion of the bribes were kicked back to the Illinois State Republican Party, it was all overlooked.
And who was the Secretary of State of Illinois back then? Funny you should ask-- it was George Ryan. Yes, that George Ryan.
Mr. Ryan went on to become Governor of Illinois. And investigators continued following the evidence. And the evidence led right up to Governor Ryan's door. The last couple of years of his governorship became embattled, as he was indicted in what came to be known as the "Licenses For Bribes" scandal.
Ryan, in trying to save his legacy, tried for one Hail Mary pass. Another scandal that was brewing in Illinois was how many innocent people were on Death Row. A professor at Northwestern University and his students began systematically examining the cases of people on Death Row in Illinois and discovered that there were serious flaws in procedure in the cases, and that a many people were probably innocent. A number of people were eventually exonerated and freed. Finally, just before he finished his term, Governor Ryan commuted the sentences of every person on Death Row in Illinois, including those who were probably guilty, and set up a review process. For the time being there is, for all intents and purposes, no death penalty in Illinois.
This made national news. Ryan recieved international accolades for what he did; there was even talk of a Nobel Prize. Meanwhile, here in Illinois, we saw it for what it was-- a blatant attempt to divert attention from his scandal and save his legacy.
So Bush and company are trying the same thing-- one Hail Mary pass to try to save the legacy of the administration, an administration that makes those of Harding and Nixon look great by comparison.
I won't go into whether they can do it or not-- should I mention that the Palestinian Authority "leader," Mahmoud Abbas, who they are going to negotiate with, controls only a part of Palestinian territory? The fundamentalist terrorist group Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. No, I won't mention that. I'll just mention the outcome of Governor Ryan's attempt to deflect attention from his scandal:
He reported to a Federal Prison Camp in Oxford, Wisconsin on November 7 to begin a six and a half year sentence.
Good luck guys!