Friday, March 31, 2006

Dean on Wiretaps

Not Howard, but John Dean, that is.

WASHINGTON - Nixon White House counselor John Dean asserted Friday that
President Bush's domestic spying exceeds the wrongdoing that toppled his former boss from power, and Sen. Orrin Hatch snapped that Democrats were trying to "score political points" with a motion to censure Bush.

It is a great, constructive addition to our national dialogue when politicians accuse other politicians of being politicians. I wish they did it more often.

Testifying to a Senate committee on Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold's resolution to censure Bush, Dean said the president "needs to be told he cannot simply ignore a law with no consequences."

"To me, this is not really and should not be a partisan question," Dean told the panel. "I think it's a question of institutional pride of this body, of the Congress of the United States."

Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said Feingold's resolution has no merit. "But it provides a forum for the discussion of issues which really ought to be considered in greater depth than they have been," Specter said at the session's open.

Great idea, Arlen! Maybe President Bush will read in Roll Call about the great discussion you're having, and decide to censure himself.

Feingold told the panel that censure is not only an appropriate response, but Congress' duty. "If we in the Congress don't stand up for ourselves and the American people, we become complicit in the lawbreaking," Feingold said. "The resolution of censure is the appropriate response."

Exactly. If the Senate is going to just let this one slide with mere "discussion," then it will have effectively relinquished its power to check the Executive branch. At which point Bush might as well just pull a Caligula and make his horse a senator.

But Hatch, R-Utah, said that passing a censure resolution would do more harm than good. "Wartime is not a time to weaken the commander-in-chief," he said.

Here we go with the wartime bullshit again. How does exercising constitutionally-mandated checks and balances weaken a President's wartime position? That assertion is materially preposterous. And even GOP hawks acknowledge that this "war" is open-ended and will go on indefinitely; thus Hatch is saying that censure of ANY offenses perpetrated by the executive, no matter how egregious, are off the table until we "win" this. People who refer to assholes like Hatch as "fascists" sound a lot less shrill when you consider what he's actually advocating here.

"Censure is destructive," Sen Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said. "Censure breaks us apart at a time when we need to be brought together."

Wrong!!! Even if everyone didn't "agree" on the issue of wiretapping in general or censure in particular, a strong message sent by the Senate to the executive would only strengthen our democracy and our nation. And doing one's constitutional duty is sometimes hard, dirty work. It'll only be divisive if you make it so.


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