Saturday, July 21, 2007

What a constitutional crisis

Looks like. Bush declares executive privilege makes him and all those connected to him above the law. Mustang Bobby at Bark Bark Woof Woof explains:
A couple of thoughts come to mind. First, I'm trying to imagine the thermonuclear reaction this would have caused among the Republicans and the wingnutosphere if President Clinton -- or any Democratic president, for that matter -- had tried to assert this level of executive privilege. Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House would have been littered with the bloody remnants of exploded heads of Republicans and all the punditry who would proclaim that Mr. Clinton is a rogue and a charlatan and all sorts of other Victorian terms that they dredged up from the Newt Gingrich list of naughty words.

The second thought is that this, along with the Iraq war funding, will be the true test of the Democrats in the Senate and the Congress. If they don't stand up and fight back with all the forces they can muster and make every attempt to win this battle, then there is little hope for them. All of the energy that they put in to winning the election in 2006 and all of the effort they're putting in to winning back the White House and a larger majority in the House and Senate won't mean anything.

It's clear that Mr. Bush and his administration are calling out the Democrats -- and anyone else who believes in the balance of power -- to defend the role of Congress and its equal place in our nation. If they don't rise to the challenge, we might as well just give up now and let the comfortable numbness of dictatorship and one-party rule lull us gently to our doom because we don't deserve to have our republic any longer.
Mustang Bobby then links to Greenwald:

Yes, it is true that, as various Democratic statements are claiming, this theory poses a constitutional crisis since, yet again, the President declares the other two branches of government impotent and himself omnipotent. But we have had such a crisis for the last five years. We have just chosen to ignore it, to acquiesce to it, to allow it to fester.

There is no magic force that is going to descend from the sky and strike with lighting at George Bush and Dick Cheney for so flagrantly subverting our constitutional order. The Founders created various checks for confronting tyrannical abuses of power, but they have to be activated by political will and the courage to confront it. That has been lacking. Hence, they have seized omnipotent powers with impunity.

At this point, the blame rests not with the Bush administration. They have long made clear what they believe and, especially, what they are. They have been rubbing in our faces for several years the fact that they believe they can ignore the law and do what they want because nobody is willing to do anything about it. Thus far, they have been right, and the blame rests with those who have acquiesced to it.

It has been six months since the Democrats took over Congress. Yes, they have commenced some investigations and highlighted some wrongdoing. But that is but the first step, not the ultimate step, which we desperately need. Where are the real confrontations needed to vindicate the rule of law and restore constitutional order? No reasonable person can dispute that in the absence of genuine compulsion (and perhaps even then), the administration will continue to treat "the law" as something optional, and their power as absolute. Their wrongdoing is extreme, and only equally extreme corrective measures will suffice.

It is up to the Democratic Congress to win or lose this fight. It is one that we cannot afford to lose.

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