The Talking Dog

July 20, 2007, If the President does it, it can't be illegal

That statement was famously attributed to Richard Nixon; his ideological heir in executive abuse (and abuse of so-called "executive privilege") and the "L'Etat c'est moi" sentiment, President George Walker Bush, has taken the statement to the next level, perhaps if possible even out-doing Vice-President Richard Bruce Cheney's assertion that the Office of the Vice-President isn't in the executive branch when it comes to following security clearance and document protection protocols, though it is when it is time for the Vice-President to claim "executive" privilege: the White House has announced that where the President invokes executive privilege on anything, the Justice Department (statutorily designated as the agency that enforces these things) cannot enforce contempt citations brought by Congress to challenge those assertions of executive privilege-- even-- or especially-- if the assertion is abusive, wrongful, or in clear bad faith.

As the President's poll numbers keep declining, the assertions of power-grabbing just keep getting broader and broader.. now it's not merely about "keeping us safe" (for which former official ideologue John Yoo asserted would have made it o.k. for the President to order a child's testicles crushed and otherwise torture children simply because the President says it's ok)... but simply, because the President says so! We've told you before that the U.S. Attorney scandal is about creating a permanent Republican majority by cheating-- Watergate on high-powered steroids, as the very institution charged with neutral objective law-enforcement is converted into an arm of the Republican National Committee by bogusly prosecuting Democrats and deliberately failing to prosecute Republicans.

Needless to say... the President would rather the rest of us not look at this particular scandal... or any other. For at least the next year and a half, anyway (after which he will pardon himself and his entire team on his way out the door)... a year and a half is presumably his bet on at least how long legal wrangling will take-- longer if the agency charged with litigating it suddenly "lacks the authority to do so".

Given that the entire Clinton impeachment fiasco took but a few months, there's certainly plenty of time here. Insofar as the President is ostensibly sky-writing the words "impeach me, you miserable cowards" all over the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, one marvels at Madam Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid and their remarkable political tone-deafness, as more and more of the country now outright favors doing something dramatic to rein in the insanely out of control executive, impeachment if nothing else will. But Pelosi and Reid they won't even consider upsetting the apple cart and jeopardizing the perqs and swag they get with their cool jobs by actually doing them. (Worse... they might be called names.)

Because this present privilege assertion-- and this assertion alone-- is a per se impeachable offense... i.e., both obstruction of Justice (the Department) and obstruction of justice, the crime... as always, one must admire the brazen cojones of the President: he knows that he'll get away with it, again, and again.

All I can say is that I'm a little pissed about having worked so hard to get a Democratic Congress elected last year, only to have them reinforce every stereotype of ineffectualness that can be thrown at them. And there seems to be no "last straw". That said, I guess as much as I and many others have a number of problems with Cindy Sheehan, at this point, we have no choice but to wish Ms. Sheehan the best of luck in her quest to unseat Speaker Pelosi from her House seat. What else can you say?