Thu
Jul 5 2007
01:01 pm
By: lovable liberal

Our Constitutional democracy is in grave peril. Dick Cheney and his sock puppet, George Duhbya Bush, claim that they want to restore the powers of the Executive Branch. In this, as in practically everything they say, they are lying.

The continued safety of our bold American experiment in democracy requires that we reject the Bushist despotism explicitly and legally. Otherwise, the Cheney-Bush precedent will be that the words of the Constitution are just words and that they can be redefined at will to mean whatever the Executive Branch wants them to mean

The final remedy the Constitution provides for a President who refuses just and legal oversight and separation of powers is impeachment.

How can patriotic Americans accomplish this act of loyalty to our founding ideals?

The powers that Cheney and Bush have usurped for what they call the unitary executive are powers that the Founders feared to repose in any branch of government, particularly in the Executive, since its power is concentrated in the hands of a few. The Founders rejected exactly the sort of despotic power Cheney claims, which is the power of a king to be beyond the oversight of the other branches, beyond any law, beyond all accountability to the people. It is also the power to make war on whim and to extend the battlefield's fetters on liberty to citizens at home in the United States.

What we have seen over the past six years has been an autocratic restoration in slow motion. With the connivance of Republican Congresses and the elite media and with the acquiescence of frightened Washington Democrats, this restoration has swept away 231 years of shared and separated powers. We now have authoritarian rule, not democratic governance.

Resistance to the Bushist misrule must come from the people. The Democrats are far better than the Republicans but, even so, they are too timid to push through impeachment on their own. They think they're winning and don't want to risk their lead or their fragile coalition, and they accept the false equivalence between Clinton's hysterical, disproportionate, unwarranted impeachment and Duhbya's warranted impeachment. The fundamental difference is that Bill Clinton betrayed his wife, while Duhbya has betrayed our entire system of government with his serious public crimes.

Even so, we require the help of the Washington Democrats. The people have awakened to the incompetence of the Bushists in Iraq and to their arrogance at home, but even I don't think they understand the full story of corruption at the heart of this administration - of how fast and loose they've played with our liberty, our money, and our lives.

The way to reach the people is a steady drumbeat of investigations. The Bushists will stall and stonewall every one. Just as they did in 2000, they will try to run out the clock.

The Democrats in Congress must make Duhbya defend his imperial Presidency and its shameless secrecy every week for the next eighteen months. Congress must constantly stand firm on its demands, must find the White House in contempt, must use every process and finding to refuse its tacit assent to Cheney and Bush. If that means no more confirmations to any office, so be it, and that will mean no more recesses at all, lest Duhbya make recess appointments.

Once the people see where their taxes and the blood of their sons and daughters have been going, there will be outrage. That's the ticket. The Constitutional crisis that has been simmering along since 2001 will come to full boil. It will hurt, no doubt, as all surgery does. Sadly, the time we could have had a painless remedy was December 2000, when Florida was in limbo. Or, maybe that wouldn't have been painless, either. The media could have covered Al Gore fairly in 1999 and 2000, and then Duhbya never would have won the Presidency 5-4.

To win conviction of Bush and Cheney and remove them from office requires many Republican votes. Joe Lieberman will never be one of those votes for conviction. It's a high burden, reachable only if enough angry constituents threaten to take their votes and their money to another candidate. Much as I would rejoice to see President Pelosi, conviction would probably require a deal that would make that temporary at best.

If this deal requires keeping the Bush Cabinet (shudder!), Alberto Gonzales must also be impeached. Any deal must also forbid pardons.

If this fantastic, difficult (impossible?) scenario does not come to pass, there is one more way to hold the Republican would-be tyrants accountable to the law. They have broken laws that carry punishments:

  • FISA
  • war crimes statutes against torture

  • We should have learned from Watergate that crimes unpunished are crimes encouraged. Dick Cheney and the Republicans certainly learned that lesson. Now they stonewall every subpoena with the same lame rationales that Richard Nixon could not make stick. They evade all disclosure, and evidence mysteriously disappears. The same news media that foamed at the mouth about the missing Rose law firm records (yes, the ones that confirmed Hilary's story) ho hums at the White House's thoroughgoing evasion of official recordkeeping laws. As the Republicans have done ever since Gerald Ford let Nixon off the hook, they pardon their convicted cronies - Caspar Weinberger, Elliott Abrams, and now Scooter Libby.

    We also have a remedy seldom broached - the bill of attainder. The Constitution explicitly forbids "corruption of blood", that is, holding a family responsible for the acts of one member. But we can still attaint by law all members of the lawless Cheney-Bush White House staff and forbid them ever holding any position in the government of the United States. Then, from this group anyway, we'll never suffer the return of this generation's Dick Cheney or Elliott Abrams.

    This is not a time to play it safe. This is a critical point in history. We face the same scale of gamble that the Founders faced - our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Or we can watch "reality" TV and forget about running our own government.


    UPDATE: All that stuff about the bill of attainder is just wrong, and I apologize for getting it wrong.

    talidapali's picture

    -

    Amen.

    _________________________________________________________

    "You can't fix stupid..." ~ Ron White"

    "I never said I wasn't a brat..." ~ Talidapali

    CBT's picture

    talidap... That should be

    talidap...

    That should be 'ditto'.

    talidapali's picture

    Seeing as how

    I'm a pagan...I can say "amen" whenever I want to and really mean it. Or I could have said...

    So mote it be.

    Blessed Be.

    _________________________________________________________

    "You can't fix stupid..." ~ Ron White"

    "I never said I wasn't a brat..." ~ Talidapali

    Eleanor A's picture

    Ditto, then.

    Ditto, then.

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