Administration supporters are mounting a smear campaign on special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, accusing him of being an " overzealous prosecutor" who is trying to bring down the administration on "legal technicalities." It's their hope that any indictments Fitz hands out will be on charges that stemmed from the course of the investigation--perjury, obstruction of justice, and so on--rather than charges derived from misdeeds committed outside of the investigation itself.
If this turns out not to be the case--if Fitz levys charges of treason or other high crimes--expect the right wing noise machine to switch frequencies.
The argument will go that having so many senior officials under indictment on felony charges will weaken the country, and that the charges should be dismissed for the sake of "national security." But the reality is that nothing could do more harm to our national power than this administration has already inflicted on it.
Some years back, the noted political scientist Samuel Huntington constructed the DIME model that identified the tools of national power as diplomacy, information, military, and economy. Under the Bush administration, America has lost ground in all of these areas.
Despite efforts by Condi Rice and Karen Hughes to repair America's image abroad, it's clear that we literally don't have a friend in the world except England. And given the divided opinion of U.S. policy in that country, it might be more accurate to say we don't have a friend except Tony Blair.
Our information environment is in shambles. The national intelligence is a joke, and our news media has become an echo chamber of political propaganda. As the New York Times/Judith Miller controversy illustrates, there is really no one we can trust anymore. The truth is in the talking point. Crime is "politics" opinion is "fact," spin is "analysis," and grade school insult humor is "wit."
Our "best-trained, best-equipped" military is bogged down in Iraq by a numerically and technologically inferior insurgent force. It is not only stretched to its limits by this rag tag opponent, it has decisively demonstrated the limits of military power to achieve policy aims.
Economically, we continue to accumulate national debt and trade deficits. Companies like Ford and General Motors--once the backbone of U.S. industry, are in the tank. More and more working Americans live below the poverty line. Middle class workers watch their retirement nest eggs disappear as government continues to bail out big business with tax breaks and no-bid contract awards.
The Bush administration came into office under false pretexts. The happy talk about "compassionate conservativism" and "uniters not dividers" was a smoke screen for a secret agenda: control of the world's oil reserves through military force, deconstruction of the "new deal," and dismantling of the middle class as an effective political body. If the neocon reign collapses on itself because of its own criminal actions, American can only be strengthened.
When all is said and done, America's greatest challenge may be to make sure it doesn't get bamboozled by another set of wolves in sheep's clothing.