I almost spit my beer out this evening laughing at the prospect of a criminal probe of the Bush Administration's actions by Democrats. I should begin by saying I suspect, nay, KNOW that laws were broken during Bush's term in office. Hell he was the most powerful guy in the world - of course he broke laws.
Without making a normative case about presidential law breakers, I give you a group of highly respected people who broke laws:
Abe Lincoln - who suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War which is a legal right we all have under the Constitution.
John Adams - who signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which basically allowed the government to throw anyone in jail who opposed the government.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt - who threw a bunch of U.S. citizens into detention camps during World War II because of their ethnicity (by the way, check out this excellent collection of Ansel Adam's photos of Americans, held captive by their own government).
Ronald Reagan - who of course had the Iran Contra mess, which helped launch the annoying career as a media pundit and friggin paid motivational speaker of Oliver North............Good Lord, talk about hitting the lottery, the guy actually has a full time job talking when his diction makes Bush look like Cicero.
William Jefferson Clinton - Hey, not matter how you slice it, the guy lied to a grand jury about a blowjob. You can dispute the political motivations of the investigation (and the looks of the provider of said head), but you cannot dispute the stupidity and ILLEGALITY of lying to a grand jury.
What's my point here? Well as a bonus I have 2 points. The first is simple. Anyone who exercises the power of the American Presidency, especially the modern Presidency, is going to break some laws. That's why these people need to be limited. They have too much power. Imagine Bill Murray walking the Statue of Liberty through New York in Ghostbusters 2. It's too much power to not have a few cars crushed.
The danger in too much power is that it blinds us when one of "our own" is in office. We excuse the excesses. We should instead trim the power of the office and not invite the risk of human frailty. That is, after all, one of the main arguments behind having our Constitution isn't it?
Second, the last thing Obama wants is a political trial of Bush. He's got more than enough problems to deal with. And I can tell you right now that the precedent it would set would be beyond bad. Sure laws matter, but people don't want political trials in this country. We have Court TV here - that's enough judicial action for anybody.
The Hard Left in San Francisco and Manhattan can have fantasies about Bush spending time in jail with Cheney as his cellmate, but it's just not going to happen. In this country no one outside of Liberal Land is going to get worked up about the violation of the rights of Arabs. It just doesn't sell in Red States. And I suspect that everyone sort of suspects that the government is listening to our conversations once in a while since 9-11.
No, I honestly believe that the political cons really, really outweigh the pluses. Which is not to say that I wouldn't like throwing him in the slammer, but no politician likes throwing one of his own kind in jail.......I suspect it hits a little too close to home.