Monday, July 23, 2007



Yesterday we ran a lengthy treatise from Milt Shook on the very compelling case for impeachment, something DWT has been advocating since Bush stole the presidential election in Florida in 1999, but with more vigor once he started seriously shredding the Constitution. In today's NY Times Adam Cohen looks at the impeachment question from the point of view the Founding Fathers meant it to be looked at.

Like many Americans, Cohen feels Congress and the Bush Regime are headed for a constitutional showdown. "The war is hardly the only area where the Bush administration is trying to expand its powers beyond all legal justification. But the danger of an imperial presidency is particularly great when a president takes the nation to war, something the founders understood well. In the looming showdown, the founders and the Constitution are firmly on Congress’s side." The Constitution is decidedly and very specifically anti-monarchial, a system Bush has publicly yearned for since the first moment he managed to weasel his way into the White House. Bush, who has probably never read the Constitution, at least not seriously, keeps yipping around yelling how Congress shouldn't try to manage the war, just fund it. Yet the Founding Fathers, in their wisdom were especially looking out for some two-bit tyrant like Bush who, as John Jay says, "will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it, but for the purposes and objects merely personal.”
Many critics of the Iraq war are reluctant to suggest that President Bush went into it in anything but good faith. But [DWT and] James Madison, widely known as the father of the Constitution, might have been more skeptical. “In war, the honors and emoluments of office are to be multiplied; and it is the executive patronage under which they are to be enjoyed,” he warned. “It is in war, finally, that laurels are to be gathered; and it is the executive brow they are to encircle.”

When they drafted the Constitution, Madison and his colleagues wrote their skepticism into the text. In Britain, the king had the authority to declare war, and raise and support armies, among other war powers. The framers expressly rejected this model and gave these powers not to the president, but to Congress.

The Constitution does make the president “commander in chief,” a title President Bush often invokes. But it does not have the sweeping meaning he suggests. The framers took it from the British military, which used it to denote the highest-ranking official in a theater of battle. Alexander Hamilton emphasized in Federalist No. 69 that the president would be “nothing more” than “first general and admiral,” responsible for “command and direction” of military forces.

The founders would have been astonished by President Bush’s assertion that Congress should simply write him blank checks for war. They gave Congress the power of the purse so it would have leverage to force the president to execute their laws properly. Madison described Congress’s control over spending as “the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.”

The framers expected Congress to keep the president on an especially short leash on military matters. The Constitution authorizes Congress to appropriate money for an army, but prohibits appropriations for longer than two years. Hamilton explained that the limitation prevented Congress from vesting “in the executive department permanent funds for the support of an army, if they were even incautious enough to be willing to repose in it so improper a confidence.”

It was shameful and repulsive that Bush's Republican lapdogs spurned their duty for 6 long years and rubber stamped all of his and Cheney's schemes and incompetent aggression. It is doubly shameful-- reflected in the polls-- that a Democratic Congress, though barking loudly, continues to let them get away with it, even with the overwhelming support of the public for a change in policy towards Iraq.
The Constitution cannot enforce itself. It is, as the constitutional scholar Edwin Corwin famously observed, an “invitation to struggle” among the branches, but the founders wisely bequeathed to Congress some powerful tools for engaging in the struggle. It is no surprise that the current debate over a deeply unpopular war is arising in the context of a Congressional spending bill. That is precisely what the founders intended.
Members of Congress should not be intimidated into thinking that they are overstepping their constitutional bounds. If the founders were looking on now, it is not Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi who would strike them as out of line, but George W. Bush, who would seem less like a president than a king.

My friend Hunter sent me a note last night telling me his gut tells him it's all over for Cheney and that impeachment is just around the bend. "Conyers said at a rally in San Diego on Friday that if three more Representatives sign on to cosponsor Kucinich's Impeachment bill he will formally begin the Impeachment Proceedings. Apparently fourteen cosponsors is not enough, but seventeen seems to be the magic number." If your congressmember isn't on this list, make a call or send a letter or e-mail. These are the co-sponsores of HR Res 333, which seeks to impeach Cheney:

Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Hank Johnson (D-GA)
Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Albert Wynn (D-MD)
William Lacy Clay (D-MO)
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
Yvette Clarke (D-NY)
Jim McDermott (D-WA)
Jim Moran (D-VA)
Bob Filner (D-CA)
Sam Farr (D-CA)

Suggestions of congressmembers who are sympathetic to impeachment but who just need some urging from their constituents: Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Peter Welch (D-VT), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Betty Sutton (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Paul Hodes (D-NH), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Hilda Solis (D-CA), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), John Olver (D-MA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Jesse Jackson, Jr (D-IL), Albio Sires (D-NJ), John Tierney (D-MA), Mike Honda (D-CA), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Mike Capuano (D-MA).



At 3:59 PM, Anonymous me said...

Cindy Sheehan has just announced against Woosi Pelosi for the Democratic primary. Hooray!!

Every dollar that I would have sent to some lame Democrat in the upcoming elections will go ONLY to Sheehan and those like her who DEMAND IMPEACHMENT.

Wanker Dems, get lost! No demand for impeachment, no money!


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