Interesting article this morning from Real Clear Politics:
May 3, 2009
Presidents Don't Prosecute Their PredecessorsBy David Shribman
When Thomas Jefferson succeeded John Adams, a contest that put America on such a different footing that it is remembered today as the Revolution of 1800, he did not seek to put members of the Adams administration on trial. When Warren G. Harding followed Woodrow Wilson in the White House in 1921, he did not put Edith Galt Wilson on trial for usurping the office of the presidency after Wilson's stroke. When Bill Clinton ended a dozen years of Republican rule in 1993, he did not try to prosecute Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush for deceiving the Congress over the Iran-Contra affair.
In the span of 220 years there have been 43 changes of presidents, and always this rule, never written but never broken, has prevailed: Presidents let their predecessors be judged by the merciless jury of history, not by the temporal verdicts of courts.
Commentators and historians often apply a facile shorthand to describe the fundamental principle (and surpassing greatness) of the American political system: Here the transfer of power from one party to another, or from one president to another, is accomplished by ballots, not bullets. That shorthand has an unspoken corollary: Here presidents and parties do not criminalize the policies of their predecessors.That is why the nascent effort to investigate and perhaps prosecute members of the Bush administration is a dramatic departure from American tradition...
BO should go read the rest of this here. Change just for the sake of change is often a bad thing, with far-reaching implications. BO should really think very carefully about whether he - also - wants to be prosecuted, after he is tossed out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If he insists on breaking with history, in the name of change, he may find himself the subject of prosecution at a later date.
Change you can believe in?