Friday, February 29, 2008

Fig leaves? We don't need no stinkin' fig leaves.

Just a few days ago I characterized our nominally tripartite government as one branch with two fig leaves. That has been where we have been since at least 9/11/2001. The reason for the fig leaves was some residual sense that the populace might not appreciate their naked power grab. Thus the pretense of the early years.

When John Ashcroft ran Justice, he felt the need for modesty. In a sense, you could say Alberto Gonzales did too: he preferred lies or leaving the impression of his own utter incompetence to openly expressing the utter disregard with which he and his bosses held Congress and an independent judiciary.

No more.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused Friday to refer the House's contempt citations against two of President Bush's top aides to a federal grand jury. Mukasey said White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former presidential counsel Harriet Miers committed no crime.
The new AG responds to contempt with, well, contempt. When the executive branch announces that contempt of Congress is not a crime, their arrogance can only be interpreted as naked, undisguised assertion of a totalitarian viewpoint. We decide what the law is; we decide who breaks it. Congress can go to hell.

And it ain't just the big stuff. They are now going scorched earth pretty much everywhere:
The Agriculture Department abruptly ordered congressional auditors to leave its Washington offices this week and told employees not to cooperate with them.

"You are hereby instructed not to meet with any member of the (Government Accountability Office) today, or until this matter is resolved," Michael Watts, head of the department's office of adjudication, wrote to employees Wednesday in an e-mail obtained by The Associated Press.

With only 11 months left in the reign of error (assuming they go quietly), this could all get interesting. Will they really want to set the precedent (assuming, again, that they care about such things) that the Obama Administration will be able to ignore Congressional subpoenas?

In any event, there can be no doubt that the Constitution lives on only as a historic artifact in the mold of Plato's Republic.

Update: While good works fade into memory, our nation gravitates toward new greatness:

I'm off to waterboard myself now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

take heart under the next democratic administraton republicans will rediscover the Constitution and the rule of law and greatly abetted by democrats will reign in many of the excesses of hte lawless Bush regime. Dare I say we will even have a rebirth of the Special Prosecutor law before the first year is out.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Eric Soderstrom said...

Anonynous - Let's hope - but Bill Clinton gave the criminals in the Reagan and Bush administrations multiple passes.

I don't hear anybody talking about prosecuting the crimes of W and his crew as part of the "Change" that America wants. But it's certainly on my top ten list of priorities for a Democratic administration.

2:54 PM  

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