My Sunday morning ritual, and I may have posted this before is simple — I watch the Chris Matthews show (Religiously, if I miss an episode not only does my day get off to a bad start but my week seems to suck, too. And as I have said before, I need my Chris Matthews fix so when he was ill last winter/fall/whenever it was or when they give him a vacation, he does deserve them, his shows are different and I cannot watch and suffer a minor depression until he returns.), then Meet the Press then Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. I do a lot of channel surfing throughout the morning and afternoon and inevitably I get all worked up and frequently yell at the TV. This morning was no exception.
C-Span showed the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings with Atty General Alberto Gonzales and I got to see some of that and recorded what I missed — I do leave the house from time to time and did so this afternoon. What I saw was appalling. Whether he was lying to the committee about what he knew, which is against the law, or if he really did not remember everything he claims to have forgotten, neither make this situation better. In fact, the more he spoke the clearer it became that the line between where the White House ends and the DoJ begins seems to have disappeared completely during this administration. While all Executive Branch agencies are going to change somewhat with each administration, they need to maintain some separate identity to be able to carry out their work. No where is this more true than at the Justice Department. That partisan politics may have altered which cases were pursued and how is appalling. Some may call me naïve and insist this is just 'politics as usual.' That should not change our outrage at this lack of respect for our system of government.
Vive la France!
Across the ocean, in the country everyone loves to hate, except me — I LOVE FRANCE, history may be made there. Believe it or not, OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE ELECTIONS and more THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS DUE TO US INTERVENTION, though I have read our campaign style has crept into their campaigns, we'll have to wait and see how that works out for them. Better, I hope. For those who have not been watching, French candidates Nicolas Sarkozy (conservative) and Segolene Royal (liberal) got the top votes on 22 April and will face each other in a runoff election on 6 May (LA Times):
"On a warm sunny day, voters in shorts, sunglasses and other casual attire stood in long lines caused by a turnout of about 86%, the highest since 1981. Some first-time voters needed help with the process.
The high turnout reflected intense interest in a particularly suspenseful and significant election…
Nationwide voter registration rose by more than 4 million since 2002. The Socialist Party carried out a vigorous get-out-the vote drive to avoid being blindsided again by an upstart candidate as in 2002."
Personally, as a liberal and a woman I am pulling for Ms. Royal — she would be the first female president of and that would be fantastic on many levels. It is also amazing to see such a high voter turn out, one not marred with the polling problems we have at each election. Lines, it seems to me they are always worse in poorer areas, were so long at polling places that many people went home because they could not afford to stay and wait. Election day should be a holiday but back to France, where we might see we have a lot more in common with them than we think. This description of the French electorate looks eerily familiar:
"The country suffers from the fastest-growing public debt in , high unemployment, entrenched protectionism, a bloated public sector and concerns about both immigration and the failure to integrate ethnic Arab and African populations…
Voters “clearly marked their wish to go to the end of the debate between two ideas of the nation, two projects for society, two value systems, two concepts of politics,” Mr. Sarkozy said.
More than an hour later, Ms. Royal appeared before a rally in the Poitou-Charentes region, where she is regional president, promising to change , but softly.
Many French people, she said, “do not want a ruled by the law of the strongest or the most brutal, sewn-up by financial interests, where all powers are concentrated in the same few hands.” She added, “I am a free woman, as you are a free people.”"(The New York Times)
One thing that struck me was the desire to change the way the government is viewed and how similar the issues are. More on 6 May!