Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Planting Juicy Impeach Seeds

There was a time when Ben Bradlee's Washington Post was a journalistic version of a Old West hero — make sure you're right and go ahead. Lackaday, the asthenic and spiritless version of the D.C. paper is nothing like that. Perhaps the book and movie on the new version of the Post might be All the President's Lapdogs.

Even the MSM has started muttering, "Impeachment." The timorous, barely Democratic Congress has yet to show that they respect the rule of law and the separation of powers enough to go after Gonzales, Cheney and Bush. When and if the mutters become roars, they will suddenly pretend to have been responsible and fair all along.

Meanwhile, let us consider the Post and the New York Times editorials. The Post struck first, but with a foam bat. While pretending to be shocked, shocked at Bush's commutation of Libby's prison term, their Too Much Mercy: Scooter Libby's prison sentence was excessive, but so is President Bush's commutation was a mealy-mouthed apology.

Many years ago, my wife used to work for Scholastic's sixth/seventh-grade weekly, Newstime. There and then, politics and criticism were flat out. Everything fell into the on-one-hand this, but on-the-other-hand that. It looks like the Post's editorial board could write for kiddy newspapers.

The gutless, gormless editorial in question contorted mightily to conclude that Libby's 30 months for conviction of false statements, perjury and obstruction of justice were excessive. They worked in all manner of extraneous crap, including comparing President Clinton's national security advisor's lack of jail time for lying about borrowing documents from the National Archive. Even worse, the board nailed up that canard of maybe Libby wasn't all that guilty if they could find enough hidden evidence to charge anyone with outing a CIA agent.

The thick smokescreen the Post laid down seemed only for the purpose of making kissy-face with the White House and conservatives in and out of Congress.

Likewise, today, the same group goes soft on professional liar Alberto Gonzales. In Mr. Gonzales's Inattention, they didn't call for his resignation or impeachment. Instead, they wrote that he either blew off reports of the U.S. attorneys scandal or didn't read them. As harsh as they get, they concluded that maybe he "showed an alarming degree of disengagement in overseeing the use of one of the administration's most potent -- and potentially invasive -- tools against terrorism."

Do you suppose the Post screens its editorial board to limit it to only those born with no courage gene?

In contrast, the NYT appears to be ready to roll this ball down the alley. Today, in Overprivileged Executive, they nail the posters to the wall:
  • ...Mr. Gonzales and his aides have twisted and mutilated the truth beyond recognition.
  • But instead of aiding that search for the truth, President Bush is blocking it...
  • ...privilege does not apply if a president’s privacy interests are outweighed by the need to investigate possible criminal activity.
The NYT view of executive privilege includes:
Mr. Bush’s claim is baseless. Executive privilege, which is not mentioned in the Constitution, is a judge-made right of limited scope, intended to create a sphere of privacy around the president so that he can have honest discussions with his advisers. The White House has insisted throughout the scandal that Mr. Bush — and even Mr. Gonzales — was not in the loop about the firings. If that is the case, the privilege should not apply.
On the White House aides Congress has subpoenaed, it adds:
Ms. Taylor is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, and Ms. Miers before the House committee tomorrow. They are expected to claim executive privilege. If they do, Congress should use the powers at its disposal, including holding them in contempt, to compel their testimony.
I have to wonder how guts and insight have migrated 225 miles North/Northeast since the Watergate era. Be that as it may, the NYT at least is muttering. A few in Congress area already speaking out to protect their branch's independence. There's talk of contempt citations and a bit of chatter about impeachments — plural.

Let the muttering continue and expand. The Libby commutation may not have been illegal, but it may have been too much, too long, too far. He might even become the Scooter that wrecked the Presidency.

Update: Listen for more muttering and outright calls for impeachment. Today as the NYT describes it, speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee, former political director Sara M. Taylor refused to testify as to whether her boss, Karl Rove, knew of or was involved in the U.S. attorney firing. Later, George the Lesser ordered former White House counsel Harriett Miers not to appear tomorrow before the House Judiciary Committee. If either house of Congress has a shred of honor, they will cite the lackeys for contempt and increase the muttering volume. The game is afoot!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you heard about H Res 333? I urge you and your readers to take a few minutes to look at:

http://www.usalone.com/cgi-bin/transparency.cgi?paper=1&qnum=pet45

It's a list of the 25 most recent comments made by real Americans participating in an online poll/letter-writing campaign concerning the impeachment charges recently filed against Vice President Cheney, which are now being evaluated by the House Judiciary Committee. Comments can be sent to elected representatives and local newspapers at your option. The participation page is at:

http://www.usalone.com/cheney_impeachment.php

Since this campaign began, several members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors, in part due to hearing from their constituents. Has yours? Make your voice heard, and let others know!

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