Rut-roh Scooby! It would appear that Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) has found his spine! In an unprecedented move on behalf of any Democrat, Congressman Conyers decided to write a spiffy little piece in the Washington Post today calling an investigation into the Bush Administration!
I know! I know! It’s incredible, don’t you think!! By the way – that thud you just heard was your jaw hitting the floor. I heard it all the way over here, too! It was more like a “thump” than it was a “thud”, don’t you think?
This week, I released “Reining in the Imperial Presidency,” a 486-page report detailing the abuses and excesses of the Bush administration and recommending steps to address them. Arthur Schlesinger Jr. popularized the term “imperial presidency” in the 1970s to describe an executive who had assumed more power than the Constitution allows and circumvented the checks and balances fundamental to our three-branch system of government. Until recently, the Nixon administration seemed to represent a singular embodiment of the idea. Unfortunately, it is clear that the threat of the imperial presidency lives on and, indeed, reached new heights under George W. Bush.
For seven years I’ve said this President was the embodiment of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes“. True to the story, I’ve always felt I was the little kid in the crowd to shout out: “Yo! That dude is naked as a jaybird!!” and nobody paid me any attention. Now that Conyers has begun calling on this “Imperial President”, I can only assume he was thinking about me.
Conyers complains about the needless War in Iraq (and the bullcrap that Bush threw at us to go into Iraq in the first place), the Bush Administrations warrantless wiretapping of Americans, detentions and interrogations, politicizing of the US Justice Department, ravaging our regulatory system, using signing statements to override laws and silencing whistle-blowers to name just a few. (Whew! That’s a lot of bitching!) Which I think would be scratching the surface of all the crap that Bush has done. As much as I love say that Bush is an Idiot, I have to hand it to him; He was pretty good at breaking the law (and everything else on the Planet).
First, Congress should continue to pursue its document requests and subpoenas that were stonewalled under President Bush. Doing so will make clear that no executive can forever hide its misdeeds from the public.
Second, Congress should create an independent blue-ribbon panel or similar body to investigate a host of previously unreviewable activities of the Bush administration, including its detention, interrogation and surveillance programs. Only by chronicling and confronting the past in a comprehensive, bipartisan fashion can we reclaim our moral authority and establish a credible path forward to meet the complex challenges of a post-Sept. 11 world.
Third, the new administration should conduct an independent criminal probe into whether any laws were broken in connection with these activities. Just this week, in the pages of this newspaper, a Guantanamo Bay official acknowledged that a suspect there had been “tortured” — her exact word — in apparent violation of the law. The law is the law, and, if criminal conduct occurred, those responsible — particularly those who ordered and approved the violations — must be held accountable.
That’s fairly well thought out. Conyers also notes the sensitivity of the subject matter which shows credit to his intellect:
I understand that many feel we should just move on. They worry that addressing these actions by the Bush administration will divert precious energy from the serious challenges facing our nation. I understand the power of that impulse. Indeed, I want to move on as well — there are so many things that I would rather work on than further review of Bush’s presidency. But in my view it would not be responsible to start our journey forward without first knowing exactly where we are.
We cannot rebuild the appropriate balance between the branches of government without fully understanding how that relationship has been distorted. Likewise, we cannot set an appropriate baseline for future presidential conduct without documenting and correcting the presidential excesses that have just occurred. After the Nixon imperial presidency, critical reviews such as the Church and Pike committees led to fundamental reforms that have served our nation well. Comparable steps are needed to begin the process of reining in the legacy of the Bush imperial presidency.
Nicely worded and he’s absolutely correct! And, I think the topic is dead before the Washington Post even went to press. The Republican Party will find it very difficult to let Conyers, who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, continue on with any investigation. The Republican Party will not let Bush be investigated without crying like babies. They’ll paint the picture in the media as political revenge. However, they’ll dig themselves deeper by preventing Conyers to go on ahead and investigate. “If Clinton can be impeached for getting a hummer in the Oval Office, are you saying everything Bush has done is okay?!” You see what I mean? The logic doesn’t flow.
Lastly, I think there are some Democrats who are as thick at thieves with the GOP and the Bush Administration and I don’t think they’ll be too thrilled to see the train coming at them either. You’ll never convince me that people like Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) were clueless about torture and rendition going on in Gitmo. Especially when it was Feinstein who lead the charge to go ahead and confirm Michael Mukasey as Attorney General without answering the simple question regarding water-boarding; “Is it torture?” The Dems are going to have a lot of difficulty protecting themselves during the investigation and they’ll be caught in the same pinch.