Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Heavy Hand of Authority

Written by The Cranky Liberal from Bring It On!

You have to hand it to the White House, they know how to wield authority. If leadership were measured solely on their ability to demand conformity within the ranks, then this White House might go down in history with the likes of Lincoln.

Too bad there is more to leadership.

The latest example of the executive heavy handedness comes with a great price to American freedom. The administrations strong arming of key Republicans looks like it will kill any chance that we will see an investigation into the White Houses illegal domestic spying. According to the Washington Post:

Lawmakers cite senators such as Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) to illustrate the administration’s success in cooling congressional zeal for an investigation. On Dec. 20, she was among two Republicans and two Democrats who signed a letter expressing “our profound concern about recent revelations that the United States Government may have engaged in domestic electronic surveillance without appropriate legal authority.” The letter urged the Senate’s intelligence and judiciary committees to “jointly undertake an inquiry into the facts and law surrounding these allegations.”

In an interview yesterday, Snowe said, “I’m not sure it’s going to be essential or necessary” to conduct an inquiry “if we can address the legislative standpoint” that would provide oversight of the surveillance program. “We’re learning a lot and we’re going to learn more,” she said

She cited last week’s briefings before the full House and Senate intelligence committees by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and former NSA director Michael V. Hayden.

Wow I didn’t understand that Alberto had such a big impression. What I remember was the Attorney General stonewalling and twisting the law. I remember Russ Feingold demolishing the AG’s defense, and I don’t remember any rational legal justification. Yet somehow, that was enough to get a moderate like Olympia Snow to abandon her duty to the American people.

Come on Olympia - the issue of the probe isn’t about how much over site is needed, it’s about whether the President repeatedly and purposefully broke the law. It’s a very simple question. Oversite is another issue. Important to be sure, but not a replacement for following the law as written.

It’s a startling change from a few weeks ago don’t you think? The change of heart couldn’t have anything to do with what staffers are calling the “full court press” by the White House to kill this controversy. Who knows maybe Dick Cheney’s fun with guns moment was a message. I mean anything is possible with old Triggy Dick (and for the sake of the few “can’t take a joke” Republicans who might read that statement, no I do not think Dick shot a man to send a message to Congress. I think he shot him over money or women. See that’s another joke. God you people are irritating).

Even sadder than having the probe squashed is the fact that now they want to legalize Bush’s actions and hand even more power over to the President. Senator Mike DeWine is leading the charge to anoint our new King George.

[DeWine] supports the NSA program and would oppose a congressional investigation. He said he is drafting legislation that would “specifically authorize this program” by excluding it from the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established a secret court to consider government requests for wiretap warrants in anti-terrorist investigations.

We should not be making it legal, we should be investigating to see if the President should be impeached!!! It is hypocrisy of a grand and dangerous nature.

Where is the party of LAW that investigated every hair cut of Bill Clinton? Where are the pious men who proclaimed with grand solemnity that they were only upholding the Constitution? They are in line like the good little boys and girls George demands.

If only leadership was measured in conformity.