Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Reasonable" Dictatorship

Our Federal government appears to be on the verge of the biggest Constitutional crisis since Watergate. Disgraced former-President Richard Nixon actually said, "When the President does it that means it is not illegal." Maybe George W. Bush thinks that mutated reading of American law extends to an unelected official, Karl Rove, as well.

It's a twisted path to the Alberto Gonzales Federal "Prosecutor Purge" crisis, now reaching showdown level as the Democratic Congress wants answers from the White House for their myriad stories on who made the decision and for what potentially nefarious reason eight essentially well-regarded prosecutors were replaced, unusually, mid-term, especially when several of them were leading prosecutions against corrupt Republicans.

With an email trail leading back from Attorney General Gonzales' office to key Bush inner circle members Karl Rove and Harriet Miers (yes, the one Bush tried to appoint to the Supreme Court), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has started issuing subpoenas. But President Bush has only offered a deal on Rove and Miers that Leahy calls, "nothing":
We're told we can have a closed door meeting, with no transcript, not under oath, limited number of people and the White House would determine what the agenda is. That to me is nothing.
Cue Jon Stewart, who blew the doors off President Bush's argument faster and more efficiently that all the cable pundits put together this week. In Stewart's vivisection of El Presidente's Titanic-like press conference on Tuesday night, he cuts together Bush's repetition of the "reasonable proposal" talking point -- 4 times, and the last is a doozy. "Senior Washington Correspondent" John Oliver drives the stake home with "It's a major concession from the President's initial offer to Congress, which was that they go f*ck themselves."

And, "the White House is adamant that its advisers retain the right, if they so choose, to lie.

Equally comic were it not so chilling was White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, the mouthpiece of the President, saying today that, "The Congress does have legitimate oversight responsibility for the Department of Justice. It created the Department of Justice. It does not have constitutional oversight responsibility over the White House."

Not only is Snow Constitutionally wrong, he's wrong in earlier statements that it is somehow unprecedented for Presidential aides to testify under oath. It's completely, uh, "precedented".

What's at stake here?

Aside from our Constitutional system of checks and balances, the ones the framers created out of fear that an Administration like that of George W. Bush might come to power, there's the links to the most powerful Republicans in Washington. As with the Valerie Plame covert C.I.A. agent outing, Karl Rove's fingerprints (and emails) are all over this one, and El Presidente shielded his so-called "brain" back then as well. But there's an extra connection as well.

It seems that now-disgraced GOP Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham, the man being nailed by U.S. Attorney Carol Lam when she was fired as one of the eight (the one for which the others were smokescreen?) received one of his bribes with money paid to the grafter by the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Wow. It does lead one to ask, once all the doors are opened, if Congress is even successful in eventually opening all the doors, how big is this scandal?

Is this pretensions to dictatorship? Or just the start of the final season of a whole other show...

Crossposted to The Daily Reel.


swainchampagne said...

I heard someone (Bush or Snow) say yesterday that if the Dems shun the President's "offer" to let Rove and Miers speak off the record that they were "insulting" the president. Like they (Dems) should be lucky to speak to them at all! They are so fucking arrogant that they need to be brought down!

Mark Netter said...

Looks like Bush is going to spend a lot of his upcoming time being the nega-cider, since Congress just passed the bill to end the Iraq War!

A good week for the Dems, I say. Box him in!

slick said...

One of Bush's reasons for not granting testimony under oath is that he insists there's been no crime committed. Excuse me, Mr. President, but isn't it the point of the investigation to determine if there has been a crime committed? Oh, I forgot, we're just supposed to take his word for it. Just like Tricky "I am not a crook" Dicky tried, and look how that turned out...

Anonymous said...

I can't help but post this. This is the most pathetic thing I've ever seen from anyone over 10 years old. I mean, really, I just
can't believe this. On the Senate committee vote to get Rove to testify:

"Leahy ordered a voice vote and barked out for all those in favor of the subpoenas to say "aye" - and all 10 Democrats clearly yelled "aye", as did Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).

Specter, who is advocating a compromise in which Rove would testify publicly but not under oath and without being subpoenaed, clearly opened his mouth and seemed to move his lips.

Then Leahy asked for the "nays", and Specter's mouth didn't open a sliver. Capitol Briefing convened a meeting of reporters afterward to decide whether Specter had voted in favor of the subpoenas. There was no clear answer, no one could actually confirm whether they heard him say "aye".

We pounced on Specter and demanded an answer. But Specter refused to say which way he voted. He said he did what he did and if we didn't notice he wasn't going to help us. After trying a number of different ways to get him to show his hand, we gave up and left.

But Specter had a change of heart and decided to clear the air, tracking down a few reporters. He did not deny that his mouth might have opened during the call for "ayes", but Specter denied saying anything, uttering any sound.

"The fact of the matter is that I did not say anything. I did not vote and say either 'aye' or 'nay'. I just sat there hoping that it would all go away through negotiations," he said. "Factually, I did not say a thing."


(ps: lest anyone forget, this is the guy who 1) invented the "magic bullet" theory, and 2) cross examined Anita Hill as if she were a street criminal. A lot of Dems seem to like Arlen, but he makes me puke. Any Dem who ever expects anything from this assh*le is going to be sorely disappointed.)