20 July 2007

Bush to America: Do Not Question Your King

Washington Post:
Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege.

Breathtaking in its audacity. I've said for quite some time that the most serious damage Bush is doing to our country is the structural damage to the system of checks and balances. So if the President can claim executive privilege for any reason and there is no Congressional or Judicial oversight, what does this do to the ability of the other branches of government to restrain the imperial president?

Before the conservatives respond with a reflexive defense of Bush, bear in mind that in 2009, there may well be a President Hillary, and you just might want to exercise oversight on her administration.

I really can see only one recourse left to Congress at this time:

Article 3: Contempt of Congress.

In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon [...] had failed without lawful cause or excuse, to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas [...] and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas. The subpoenaed papers and things were deemed necessary by the Committee in order to resolve by direct evidence fundamental, factual questions relating to Presidential direction, knowledge or approval of actions demonstrated by other evidence to be substantial grounds for impeachment of the President. In refusing to produce these papers and things, Richard M. Nixon, substituting his judgement as to what materials were necessary for the inquiry, interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by Constitution in the House of Representatives.

In all this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial and removal from office.


  1. In a thoughtful world, the people calling loudest for his impeachment ought to be those America-loving, Constitution-quoting conseratives. Bush, without exaggeration, is leading the country toward dicatorship, and those cheering the loudest are those that ought to be most appalled. Ironically, it is also they who, by impeaching Clinton for a reason hardly as significant as the overthrow of democracy, have insulated bush against it: it'd simply be played as "political theater" and the Dems are too inept to counter it. Your kid is peeing on a counter. bush is crapping on the Constitution.

  2. He can fire all the attorneys he wants, for any reason he chooses. It's his Constitutional right.

    Impeachment = liberal wet dream. Wake up and change your shorts.

  3. Scalpel,

    As conservatives were so fond of saying in 1998, "It's not the crime, it's the cover-up." In Clinton's case, the 'crime' was a perfectly legal blowjob but the coverup involved perjury. In this case the crime is legal but dubiously ethical firing of USAs, but the coverup involves obstruction of justice.

    And there's no more likelihood of impeachment and conviction than there was in 1998, because there aren't 16 honest republicans in the Senate. But it is at this point the only way for Congress to re-assert itself as a co-equal branch of government.

  4. Now you're comparing the crime of lying under oath (confirmed by DNA evidence, no less) to the suggestion of impropriety based upon a debatable interpretation of presidential constitutional authority?

    Apples and oranges.

  5. Scalpel,

    It is you who needs to wake up. This has nothing to do with impeachment. It has to do with how you want a Democratic president to govern. I honestly don't want to see the FBI infiltrating pro-life groups. I don't want to see people who own guns having their phones tapped. I don't want to see a liberal president who believes she does not have to answer to the Congress for anything.

    Impeachment is appropriate when the president misuses his authority, as Bush did in having attorneys fired because they failed to conduct specific investigations to his liking. But more importantly, outrage is appropriate.

    If you aren't angry, you aren't paying attention. Stop worrying about identity politics for just a second and look at what this man has done to our government.

  6. scalpel,

    You are right -- they are apples and oranges. lying about legal but embarrassing sex is a petty crime. By Bush's own actions we see that it is not even worth jail time! But for a president to arrogate to himself more power than any previous president in American history, for a president to attempt to fundamentally shift the balance of power between the branches of government, for a president to view his office as above the law and beyond accountability -- that is dangerous. There may be no law against it, but this is exactly the sort of behavior the founders intended impeachment as redress for.

  7. Not all conservatives wanted to impeach President Clinton; for all I care, it is his business (and that of his contract partner, Hillary) whom he bonks. Well, assuming that such person(s) are mentally competent to offer informed consent to said bonking.

    I will add that the fired attorneys are political appointees and serve at the pleasure of the president. No pleasure, no serve.

    But the funny thing about your quote re the Nixon impeachment is -- on the day he left office, Nixon _still_ had a higher approval rating than the current Congress. :-)


  8. If you'd stop watching Olbermann's tripe and take a break from reading the rabid mouth-foaming rants on Kos and Huffiepoo's sites, you'd have less angst about the fact that Bush has never been defeated by any liberal ever.

    And maybe, just maybe, you'd quit your futile and desperate attempts to try to take him down (just once!) and focus more on making our country a better place than trying to teach Daddy a lesson.

    Hillary will never be president. Change your shorts again.

  9. Watch how fast executive privilege and 'Hey, the consitution only means what i say it does' disappear as noble and lofty concepts in the eyes of conservatives the first time President Obama or President Clinton uses them.

  10. you'd have less angst about the fact that Bush has never been defeated by any liberal ever.

    oh man, you hit the nail on the head! that's why we all detest bush!! you got us! he's got us, shadowfax!

    it's not the coke-binging, draft dodging, warmongering, gay bashing, mexican hating, wet braining, muslim inciting, zenophobe coddling, science detesting, bible thumping, constitution hating, torture sympathizing, fear infesting, gas guzzling, creativity hating, abstinence-pushing, embryo kissing douchebaggery that makes us dislike the man.

    it's that a liberal has never beat him... EVER!

    has any conservative ever beat Bill, by the way?

    put on your blue dress, then.

  11. I'm sorry, but didn't Clinton fire all 98 attorneys in his first year?

  12. micheal,

    Hi, welcome to the fact-based community. Every President "fires" every U.S. Att'y (USA) when he takes office. Bush did at the beginning too, but then fired USA's midstream. And he fired them because they were not investigating Democrats or they were investigating Republicans. In NM, for example, the USA failed to yield to unethical pressure from a Senator & US Rep to investigate a Democrat, and so that guy lost his job.

    So, the Democratic President will "fire," actually they'll just resign, all of the USAs. Then new ones will get put in. If, that President then fires one or nine of those USAs because he or she wants the USA to go after his or her political enemies and the USA refuses, that's wrong. It's unethical. It is a crime against our system of government.

    How is it that there is a person on the planet who doesn't know that? Did you read any stories on it? Seriously. I mean, if you think it is okay to interfer with on going investigations, alright, whatever. But you really should know what is going on.

    Other bits of trivia: we did not find WMD in Iraq; human beings are the cause of global warming; and random mutation coupled with natural selection is responsible for the various species of animals on the planet.

    The more you know.

  13. Jimii,

    of course WMD were found in Iraq, in the form or 155mm artillery shells with chemical-warfare payloads.

    On global warming, I am forced to take a contrarian position just because your glib cedulous statements irritate me:

    "Greenland" was, a thousand years ago, actually a green, verdant, land, abundant with crops. If, for the sake of argument, I accept the hypothsis that any increase in temperature over the past decades is due to humans, that still doesn't show why this would be a bad thing at all.

    More solid arguments, less ideology, please -- or leave the arguing to our host, who seems much better at it.


  14. One thing I can say for Shillary, if, and God forbid when, she gets her dick sucked by a White house intern, I think she will have to forsight not to lie about it. She learned that from Billy.

  15. I meant foresight, or was it foreskin. Either one works.

  16. Presidential legacies tend to be based on factoids for the most part. George Washington is the wooden teeth guy on the dollar bill. Abe Lincoln is the civil war guy. Andrew Johnson was the impeached guy. Taft was the fat guy. Know anything else about Taft? I didn't think so.

    Clinton will be known as the other impeached guy who got the blowjob from the fat chick. So yes, conservatives beat him in a sense.

    Good luck on trying to beat Bush. I predict he will be known as the terrorist ass-kicking guy when all is said and done. But you've got 18 months left.

  17. i didn't think we had a king in america. and i thought the earth was semi-flat. i'm glad you are here to explain it all.

  18. I predict he will be known as the terrorist ass-kicking guy when all is said and done. But you've got 18 months left.

    and every historian that has ever graduated high school, can count to three and knows that a book is something you read chuckles at you...

  19. people...

    It's not about Clinton. Or Hillary. Or that Bush fired the attorneys (yes, that is his right, whether or not I agree with the firings.)

    The issue is, he just issued an executive order saying "I can fire who I want, and if I make an executive order about it, then YOU CAN'T QUESTION ME." THAT'S what goes against our system.

    The whole basis of our government is checks and balances...the Exec does something, Justice and/or Legislature go "whoah there pardner...let's take a look at that." What Bush is doing is TAKING AWAY THE OVERSIGHT.

    I repeat what has been said here often...people who think this is about "hating Bush" (Scalpel)...take a step back from your defensive, cocky, liberals-suck attitude, and imagine if President Hillary or Obama were to make a decision that YOU DIDN'T LIKE, and using Bush's precedent, said "oh, so sorry...it's done, and you can't question me. I'm the President, and don't have to answer to you."

    If that doesn't bother you, that's fine. But then how about admitting, right here and now, that you would have no problem living in a monarchy. That's what your saying, isn't it?

  20. (and to make sure nobody gets distracted from the topic and berates my grammar instead of my argument...)

    that should have said "that's what you're saying, right?"

  21. Felix,

    "More solid arguments, less ideology, please -- or leave the arguing to our host, who seems much better at it."

    There is no ideology in the fact that human beings are causing global warming, or the fact that we did not find WMD in Iraq.

    Here's the frustrating thing, every single peer reviewed article on the topic has come to the same conclusion on global warming. There is no way I could add anything to that. There is no way someone other than a scientist writing a peer reviewed article could add anything to it.

    Ditto for the WMD. Old artillery shells that were not usable is not a WMD. The Bush administration did not claim they found the WMD we invaded for. But again, this is not something you argue for. This is a fact that everyone who looked at it agrees on. There were no WMD in Iraq.

    The ideology would be involved in how to address the problem. Not the presence or absence of the problem. There is no ideology in anything I wrote. (Except I suppose that you should be angry about a president inteferring with on-going investigations by US attorneys. But is that controversial?)

    See, the country can't function if we stop using facts. If you insist on asserting things that are untrue, we can't even get to the point of talking about ideology.

    No one, no one, is say the president doesn't have the authority to fire attorneys. He doesn't have the authority to fire them for the reason he did. Bringing up nonsense like the fact that other presidents did the same when they took office doesn't help.

  22. Bill Clinton invoked executive privilege during the course of 6 separate investigations (including the Lewinsky scandal, which was denied by a federal judge).

    Don't suggest that President Bush is the first president to try to use that technique, or that his use of it is somehow worse than his predecessor. The precedent has already been set, and it wasn't by Bush.

  23. You win. It is just about politics. Whoever is in office can do whatever they want. The only way to evaluate their actions is to determine if you belong to their party. You've changed my opinion.

    It is actually quite a burden lifted; worrying about what is right.


  24. Actually, Dianne Feinstein, Demo of CA, was calling for the firing of at least one of the DAs. Or was she part of the conspiracy, too?

    Clinton didn't "lie", he committed perjury and denied justice to a third party. And lost his law license.

    And, btw, he lied every chance he got.

  25. So you don't believe in the power of executive privilege. Great. I sort of agree with you. But it would be nice if you guys didn't act all high and mighty by suggesting that Bush invented the concept.

    Hypocrisy is unbecoming.

  26. Felix said:
    << "Greenland" was, a thousand years ago, actually a green, verdant, land, abundant with crops. >>

    Say what?

    The story I heard was that when Leif Erickson and his crew re-discovered the place around 1000 AD, they called it "Greenland" in order to put a positive spin on it and encourage more people to come there.

    Meanwhile, the other place they'd put on the map, the one with the hot springs and fascinating rock formations, the one that isn't totally horrible climate-wise and might be a place where you'd actually want to live, they called that one "Iceland."

    Greenland might be okay for part of the year on the southern coast, but it's never been a verdant expanse.

  27. I never said he invented the concept. And I don't care if someone else set a precedent, or who it was.

    My point is the same...ANY time one branch of the government attempts to circumvent the system, it is cause for concern.

    And please GOD stop talking about what Clinton did or didn't do...THAT'S NOT WHAT THIS DISCUSSION IS ABOUT. The fact that every time a Republican is criticized, people answer with "well, Clinton this and Clinton that" BOGGLES MY MIND.

    Is your argument that it is ok for any given president to do this? (by this I mean "whatever the hell he wants") Fine, we disagree on that.

    Or is your argument the one I used when my parents got mad at me..."well, he did it first!!!"?

  28. You said Bush set the precedent. Read your own comments, and try not to yell.

    Apparently it IS OK for a president to use executive privilege. The precedent was set a long time ago. If you don't like it (like some of you didn't like the electoral system in the 2000 elections - hehe) we have a mechanism through which it can be changed.

  29. But oddly enough, it doesn't involve yelling at other anonymous commenters on internet medical blogs.


  30. Hillary for prez......


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.