Tinfoil hats, part 2

I wrote previously about the whacky conspiracy theories that the 9/11 inquiry, and the Bush administration in general, engender. I had another thought along these lines today.

With a budget of $3 million (compared to, what, $110 million spent on Whitewater?), it seems clear the Bush administration doesn’t want the inquiry to get ambitious. With Kissinger as the first appointee to lead the commission, it seemed all the clearer that Bush didn’t want to hear any unwelcome news.

Kissinger’s appointment became an issue largely because of an outcry from the blogosphere. This was reported in the traditional news media. Now we are seeing Kean, his replacement, generating some outcry in the blogosphere as well. Is it possible that the president is gaming the system?

The commission has an 18-month lifespan. Two months have already been shot. Could the administration effectively negate the commission by appointing a succession of controversial chairmen to it and exploiting the resulting outcry? Running down the clock? I know, crazy talk. I don’t quite believe it myself. But still…

Meanwhile, in related news, the Slacktivist has pointed to a brilliant, and disturbingly prescient passage in a satirical book about George I and Gulf War, Episode I.

A big part of the problem is that, since even before he took office, Bush has shown a contempt for the openness and accountability that allow a democracy to function. And why not? His entire life has been a finger in the eye of meritocracy. He has always traded on his name and gotten preferential backroom deals from backslapping buddies. Shoot, he didn’t even win the presidential race, exactly. So it’s no surprise he should be contemptuous. But his predilection for secrecy, old-boy networking, etc, apart from the damage it does to democracy, makes it impossible to resist seeing conspiracies.