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November 11, 2006

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Or at least, they'll have a colorable claim

Nixon lost a battle on this same terrain, and Bush has approval numbers going into it that Nixon didn't have until practically stepping into the helicopter to San Clemente. US v. Nixon is still good law.

They can -- and probably will -- kill the clock, but no one's going to buy Cheney & Co. as defenders of the Constitution.

This is where I get to give the old, "If I had a nickel" speech!

No normal person is going to buy Cheney & Co. as defenders of the Constitution. But the audience that counts here is, for the most part, Republican Senators. And so long as no more than 15 of them end up unpersuaded, that may be enough to close out the game.

We also know that the audience already has a point man in distinguishing Watergate (including US v. Nixon) from the antics of this "administration": Lindsay Graham. The gist of his game? Nixon wasn't really conducting "national security" business. But Dubya is! So, nyah!

Also, Hamdan's good law, too. But we already know the "administration" is not buying
that, either.

And so long as no more than 15 of them end up unpersuaded, that may be enough to close out the game.

The court of public opinion does not unanimity to convict.

Let's put pressure on Congress to declare "the war is over." (BTW, did Congress ever declare the war begun?) Then we can dispense with the unitary executive BS and get back to rule of law. By that I include investigating and impeaching those elected officials who trampled the Constitution. No wonder Bush and Cheney have been so adamant about "stay the course" in Iraq. When the war ends, so do their presumed unitary powers.

If only the terrorists would lay low for a while so that we could declare the WOT over. Goodbye unitary powers, goodbye Bush/Cheney. However, Bush is such a good recruiting tool for the terrorists, I doubt the terrorists would be motivated to lay low. It is almost as if Bush helps them and they help him. Maybe we should impeach on those grounds--aiding the terrorists.

geez, maybe you didn't notice, but 2850 soldiers have given the last full measure of devotion

so george bush is gonna refuse to answer questions whike our soldiers are still dying ???

that ought to be REAL POPULAR

and don't forget, scooter gets to explain his selective memory lapses in January

Bill Clinton's stonewalling didn't play too well in the heartland, and that was about a blowjob that didn't result in the death of a single soldier

we ain't talking about consentual sex between adults

this is "LIFE AND DEATH" shit

I don't think America is going to be too impressed by george bush's refusal to explain jow "Mistakes Were Made"

but that's just me

I don't think it would be a good idea to dispense with the unitary executive and "get back to" *anything*. This is a failed war/use of force/police action and it should be customary to put the "unitary executives" who were the deciders of the lie-driven debacle up for questioning as a post-mortem.

The civil war ain't gonna get much worse than it will be with us there and pretty much everybody and their momma knows the angle is to pull out. The difference between the poles is merely the rate of withdrawal. The Administration would like to leave it up to the next president, but make no mistake: The Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush Show (featuring PNAC) has been canceled and it's time to figure out what happened. It doesn't matter if Cheney's heart drugs have caused him to have short memory, but those guys screwed up bigtime.

Putting them under oath in Congress probably isn't going to happen, but it should.

Nixon did not really fight much of his fight on national security grounds, he fought on executive priveledge, the notable exception being the Ellsberg's psychaitrist break-in. I am not sure which is stronger as an excuse for interminable stonewalling. I am pretty sure that THIS supreme court would ever be as hostile to this executive as Berger's was to Nixon. I can't see them expediting anything, and that cut more than a year off of Nixon's ability to survive. It's bleak. But my nightmare scenario would be that Bush actually WINS with one of his (formerly absurd, now routine) theories, in which case all investigations grind to a halt anyway.

Oh, yeah. That would kind of suck, too.

Cheney may say he will fight but, he is being contained by 41s boys. with rummy gone, and Baker, The new DOD head and Eagleburger coming into the sacred halls once barred by Cheney's attack dogs, there is a big powergrab going on. Daddy has to save Jr.s hide again.
someone has to take the fall for alot of the mess and things that have been going on. cheney is the one they will throw to the dems.
I do think this will be the senario. They let 41s guys into the posts and leave jr for them and they will hand over Cheney

I predict nothing will happen of importance. Though many will continue to be titillated by the possibilies.

That said, I would like to point out that none here have stated what specific charges would be brought against the President.

Lying to the Public about the War? Bull, let us not talk about precedents, but rather about what law did that break [if] it happened.

Now if you can prove that Bush lied to an FBI agent you might have a point, but I doubt seriously that he will testify before an FBI agent, and certainly not a Grand Jury on the war. An ongoing war by the way.
Not appearing before the Democratic Congress? Where is the Precedent.
And congress is going to declare the war over? When did that power appear?

Finally just to clear everything up, I would expect the President to pardon anyone being harassed by the Democrats. Some might say that the President himself could be prosecuted after he leaves office. Well I will state that the next President whether Democratic or Republican will pardon Bush if that happens. Presidents don't want Presidents to be prosecuted unless it is for some personal thing like murdering Laura or something. Bad precedent, because they might get in a similar fix, with the NEXT CONGRESS, and PRESIDENT.

Some here said well, he would be condemned in public opinion or something like that and I think that might be even more likely if he pardons folks. But, he has only 31% approval rating now. That will not go down too much more, though 25%, might be expected if the war continues as it is.

So what is to lose?

Right now, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld are all angling toward historical affirmation/approval of their actions. They have no current approval, so the future is all they can hope for.

Now you can go after Defense Contractors, Haliburton, Oil, etc. to your hearts content, and show your base "REAL ACTION." Those guys are used to it. The Democratic base will be happy, but little will change, since it is obvious that those guys are always being investigated with little result.

Be happy with control of congress and rummaging through the business of Defense contractors. That is all you got for the next 2 years.

vwcat,

Cheney is a harder target than Bush. And you are forgetting something.

From one of Cheney's online resume summaries-
"Cheney forged close ties with President Bush, the governor's father, during the Persian Gulf War, when he served as defense secretary."

Cheney is one of the Bush 41 boys.

One other thing is this. Bush told his employees (Libby, Rove, etc.)to cooperate with Fitzgerald.

Do you think that Bush and Cheney won't be lawyered up to the gills, and that Cheney in particular (Haliburton ex-CEO) wouldn't take the Fifth?

Oh, and now you cite public opinion disapproval junk again, and I repeat how much lower can it go.

3,000 dead, 30,000 wounded. That is what is killing them.

Hey Jodi, United States Code, Title 18, section 1001

you could look it up

what law has george bush broke ??? which law hasn't he broken, except the "quartering soldiers" thing ???

Jesus, this discussion is depressing, but anything will be better than the current spectacle of Democratic leaders parading up to Bush's office to pledge bipartisanship. Maybe I'm naive, but I don't think you "work with" war criminals and profiteers, torturers, enemies of constitutional liberties, thieves, and liars.
So Democrats who conduct investigations will be accused of partisan bickering, which has some political risk, but we all know where it gets us to play nice and be timid with Republican hitmen. I'll take the "partisan bickering" charge over the hell we've been through for six years, and hope that just maybe some justice will result from investigations and that at the very least they may help allay further BushCo outrages.
And Glenn Greenwald, if I understand him correctly, seems to think we need a legal showdown in order to resolve the constitutional crisis we're already in.
I hope he's right.

hey jodi, here are some possible scenarios of what will happen to george

have you no shame sir ???

at long last, have you no shame at all ???

here's another one for you

you have sat here too long for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!

bet you don't know where that last one came from. All I can say is "third time's a charm"

was it Sam Irving who planted the first knife in Nixon's back ???

any way you call it, we're gonna see the "Et Tu Brutus" moment before the next election

soldiers died, and America is gonna want an accounting

this ain't 1968 anymore. we've seen this act before

I say we do this using the Prague Method, but that's just me

hey jodi, 3000 people died in the streets of New York, and 2850 soldiers have died in Iraq

do you have ANY IDEA how cheney pleading the 5th is gonna play in the heartland

or the bible belt

do you really want to put the south into play for the Democrats ???

let cheney put his hand on the bible, take the oath, and desert the soldiers who died

I can't wait for America to get a glimpse of that one

there's gonna be a political shitstorm, but the Democrats ain't gonna be involved

even david brooks sees it coming ("This" is Iraq)

so the G.O.P. could be heading toward a blood feud between “Let’s end this” Republicans and “Let’s win this” Republicans, with the potential bitterness lasting for years.

Kagro X, I appreciate this whole site, but of all the wonderful writers on The Next Hurrah, you and Emptywheel are the two I look forward to the most. I want the bandits who have been running this country to face the consequence of their actions as much as anyone, but I think they will slide, unpunished, out of public view in two years.

The way I understand impeachment is that it isn’t about breaking any laws particularly, but about malfeasance in office, which is as much perception (in the wide public and among legislators) as it is anything. Nixon resigned because he knew perception had turned against him and didn’t have the heart to fight such a public and demeaning battle he was certain to lose.

We now live in a different political environment. Bush and Cheney will not stop fighting, ever. What will happen in the next two years is that the nature of their government and crimes will become evident through their antics in response to subpoenas, etc., but with the protective cover of their well-heeled network and the ultimate power to pardon, in the end they will escape facing anything worse than the judgment of posterity.

That’s the nightmare scenario, and it sucks.

I see we're still on the same page. What about going after Cheney for some actual criminal activity, vide Spiro Agnew, such as the bribery investigation of Halliburton while he was chief executive? Then, with Dick out of the way, a new Gerald Ford (Specter, Warner?) could be chosen for Veep, and Republican Senators and Members of Congress wouldn't have to worry about Nancy Pelosi becoming President. A two-thirds' vote of both Houses could empower a special prosecutor. It's not my favorite scenario, but it would remove the major political impediment to investigation and possible prosecution of the Resident.

Thanks for the kind words.

The only thing Jodi's right about is that the most likely thing is that nothing in particular ends up happening. Of course, I'll be working to change the odds. But the most likely outcome is legal wrangling over a "showdown" that ends up fizzling in its own minutia.

Although actually, there's one other fairly likely possibility: the neocon machine goes into stasis, the White House backs away from the brink and shows something that passes for contrition, sends a few scapegoats out for some limited (but damaging) testimony before investigative committees, and then declares itself to have cooperated to the fullest extent possible given the risk of exposing "national security" secrets.

Then, the wrangling and posturing becomes over the extent to which the White House has cooperated -- a subjective game, and one subject to endless spin. The goal, of course, is pretty much the same: to run out the clock. But there's also an element of diversion. Instead of taking a boldly confrontational approach and feeding public questions about what's being hidden, take the contrite approach and make the public believe the White House is chastened by the election results and the truly outrageous nonsense will finally end.

Since these sort of shenanigans work on a ratchet system, they're free to leave office having frozen in place some enormous gains in the "accepted" range of executive powers, and leave those gains in place to be picked up on by the next Republican administration.

Perhaps we need a thread listing the possible crimes and impeachable offenses committed by this administration? Let's start with:

Conspiring to infringe on Jose Padilla's civil rights, including false imprisonment, assault, transportation across state lines to avoid jurisdiction (federal crime), misuse of controlled substances, abuse under color of authority, etcetera. Also under some interpretations, the obviously false statements issued by Justice against Padilla could be considered jury tampering. I am sure there are thousands more.

The best point of leverage I see here is that what's left of the Rep Congress today has an inkling of how close their rubber stamping has led the party to a generational loss of majority. They'll be returning tomorrow after being home where constituents burned their ears off with shouts of a Do Nothing Congress. In order to get ahead of Pelosi's messages to Americans of a Party that is actively ready to do something (interestingly her critics are coming at her for being too proactive) the Rep Congress are going to have to join the herd, which means turning away from a Pres at 31% just to get back on track to have a chance at '08.

How long they remember the voters' message will be key. But in order to regain the respect of the voters again, they'll need to go along with Pelosi's new Lobbying laws, etc. For now, they can't align themselves with Bush's leadership to regain respect, nor can they count on their older leadership.

Hopefully Pelosi can stay first on point for these messages so that Rep will align with her when she aims the guns at Bush's executive authority. If they see the choice as Bush vs their own job or party, she just might gain some ground for us.

I just saw a poll, on raw story (should provide the link, but lazy), that says that 87% of the people polled want Bush impeached. I know all the haggling regarding "scientific" and they did a great job of posting the science limitations of the poll. But still, the point remains that if it is the will of the american public to depose it's leader, the people's will be done. I believe that is what Pelosi is trying to say and do. If impeachment occurs it will occur because the people demand it, not the legislator's as occurred with Clinton.

It will take the "will" of the people. And in order for America to restore it's integrity around the world, impeachment is the only way. It says that we do what we say in America.

The Dems now have a chance to govern. they aren't going to throw that all away on grandstanding. Anyone who has prosecuted a case knows that yopu don't start by subpoenaing Cheney. You start with relatively small fish of the sort who routinely testify before Congress but you put them under oath, establishing a precedent. You build a case, getting piles of documents and information and other evidence. Then you start calling in people who have left government and put them under oath.

Pelosi saying "impeachment is off the table" is a signal to Bush that he can avoid impeachment by being sufficiently cooperative. I just don't see your scenario happening that way. It is bad politics and bad policy at a time when this country faces really, really serious problems and the center elected the Dems in the hopes that they would deal with them.

Somebody needs to remind Roberts, Scalia & Co the fate of Nazi judges who tried to legitimize abuse of power.

Katie,

please post the url.

I don't understand. Supposedly and it is reported here in Next Hurray, Bush's approval rating is 31%, and you say a poll has only 13% (100-87) not wanting to impeach him.?

I would expect if 31% of the people approve, then there would be a higher number not wanting to impeach him.

Does not compute.

People that compare our Supreme Court to Nazi's are severely off track.

With the information suppression which has been the stock in trade of this administration, I suspect at this time we know only part of what is to surface. I liked Kx's linked comment at NBC by Waxman who proclaimed investigations are feasible in an amicable atmosphere; he went on to describe how his committee under his leadership eeked tobacco toxicity information from that industry's executives, which led to the government's reaping multibillion$ in court reparations for people beguiled by ads and slick denials by the tobacco industry.

My politics are eccentric. I thought tobacco companies were wronged throughout, though I just voted for a tax of $2.00 per pack of cigarettes in our state. I like taxes but weary of confrontation for demagoguery's own sake.

As Kx has covered in prior articles on this blog, the Center for Constitutional Rights is engaged in several court cases about bill of rights matters. Recently I was reading about a case which is a vague parallel to the Plame outing; it is the instance of a spy program which used the press much like the Plame 1x2x6; the foreign spies sent US security information to another country, and tipped a US reporter. Now the US government is using that case to extrapolate to all US news organizations, saying any US news outlet in possession of secrets may be censored by the government. I hope the judge sees the lack of parallelism here and skewers the government's thinly veiled attempt to censure the press; it began by denials of secret foreign prisons in former Eastern Bloc countries; a lot of the stateless detainee law is built upon government fictitious accounts. When the president got his postHamdan opinion report from OLC he pressed for the MCA update to DTA with a quick timeframe. Now Leahy wants to revisit that overly hasty process.

I read a somewhat overstated article about a hypothetical faceoff between Rep. Conyers' committee and the executive there, and thought of the series of articles Kx wrote about impeachment. To me, the evidence is not gathered yet. And as these commentators are describing, essentially Addington and Yoo have tried to develop a set of legalistic workarounds to shield the executive from checks and balances. By one academic's tally, Bush has rejected more than 1,100 intersects of statute in his signing statements since 2002; the presidential signing statement claims have yet to face direct scrutiny in the US Supreme Court; though Scalia has cited one of the signing statements in a footnote which I read recently, that is merely an indication of his predictably deconstructionist political approach to jurisprudence and is not a picture of what all the Justices think of the unitary executive theory.

I am unsure the current crop of government officials would fit in a uniquely illicit category more than other administrations, except in a few areas which went beyond the bounds of business-as-usual corrupt politics. I think the torture business is on a scale most Americans find offensive, and that was part of the impetus for the shift in control of congress and statehouses in the election this past week.

Kx, if you missed it, here is a description of one of the CCR cases, one in which the government is arguing that detainees may not be allowed to testify about their torture because it would involve revealing into the public record the top secret ways torture is carried out, and where. I hope this strategy is not a Gonzales design, because it is flawed and DoJ needs solid argument not this tautology stuff; kx, the interesting part of the linked article is a standalone paper from the exhibits in that trial, the formal statement of a press official responsible for explaining why torture may not be discussed in detail by a detainee at trial; that document is there; I looked for the rest of the depositions and all in that trial, but it must be sealed, as all I located was the lengthy habeas form filed a few years ago by CCR. I know little about the facts in the case, though; it seems like it exists in some limbo between battlefield justice (execution) and Geneva Conventions protections for a person that might be part of international terrorist networks.

This stuff is pretty far from the mundane things we are likely to see beginning in 2007 from the new majority in Congress, though. I think the Democrats' plan could be helped by removal of Bolton from the UN, but I expect the president to appoint yet another neoCon. Instead, we may be looking at two years of laying the groundwork for tasks only doable with a Democratic Party president.

Jodi: here's the raw story link
http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/MNSBC_online_poll_87_percent_say_1110.html
You'll have to find the MSNBC page on your own but as raw story reports this is from an online poll of readers of the MSNBC site so does not follow the same format as the polling done of the President's approval.

My point was not the number or that the poll is accurate but that if the american people want it, Pelosi won't stop it. It's what's best for the country to let the people lead the way instead of making it a partisan issue by legislators.

Jodi: People that compare our Supreme Court to Nazi's are severely off track.

And by their deeds shall you know them.

3 of the 9 we have now showed their colors in 2000 by installing 43 in the white house. That treasonous infraction is what will forever blacken O'Connor's name in the history books. I'm sure you can trust Scalia to choose personal loyalty over justice again if he's given the choice. A number of the decisions he's written indicate that he places more value on insuring the continued power of existing institutions than in evaluating the legality or wisdom of any given example of that power's exercise. Why would his opinion on any constitutional question presented to him by this Administration receive a different treatment?

Roberts is, to some degree, still an unknown... but Alito will do whatever Scalia tells him to do. Ditto for Thomas. So in any separation-of-powers case before the court, you have at least three guaranteed votes for the Fascists. If Roberts is more swayed by loyalty than by justice, there's four. And then you only need one more to make it count.

So for Scalia at least, I think the comparison is apt. If he walks like a Nazi, and he talks like a Nazi, and his judicial opinions read like they were written by a Nazi...

mainsailset: as raw story reports this is from an online poll of readers of the MSNBC site so does not follow the same format as the polling done of the President's approval

One would have to assume that the approval number includes a significant number of illiterates, because people who know how to read don't support the president... and if you can't read, why would you bother to have an internet connection? (yes pr0n but except for Olbermann, there's none of that on MSNBC). I would suggest that there is very little overlap between the groups represented in these two polls... and online polling is notoriously suceptible to manipulation, cf. freep this poll

smiley, yes, that was my point in helping Jodi with her link. Personally I have always assumed that at least a small portion of the 31% suffer from a Terry Schiavo type of malady and the pollsters are asking them to blink if they approve of the president...

Mostly I agree that nothing of consequence will be done to force accountablity on this administration by either legal or political means.

But in the long run, the "ratchet" works both ways.

Recall the War Powers Act, which was passed by the Congress specifically to deal with what they considered (IMO quite rightly) Executive overreach, and which Cheney His Evil Self has always considered a major setback for the Executive.

It required no impeachment, no testimony, no political reckoning, nothing but a majority and no veto (which could be accomplished either of two ways, depending on who wins the WH in '08).

So the ratchet can be ratcheted down. And hard. And fast.

Don't forget: Congress makes the LAW.

I came across this word in Merriam-Webster

unregenerate • adj.
1 : not spiritually reborn or converted
2 a : not reformed : unreconstructed, 2b : obstinate, stubborn

Wondering if it could be used in a sentence, a post or even a subpoena...

bleh:

The president's unregenrate approval of the war crimes that have already been perpetrated under his authority will certainly lead to a conviction in The Hague.

I understand now Katie. Thanks.

For the rest of the posters above, I listened to a talk radio show, this evening, coming back from a grocery store in my grandmoms car, a woman saying essentially this-

~~~~im a democrat i don't think that anything that has happened since 9/11 is reason to change America, or any law, or any court, or any writ of habeus corpus (I'm not chekcing spelling), or anything else (she had other things) we shouldnt change our country even if the islamic terrorists are fighting in the streets we shouldn't be afraid ~~~~

This is a great country with room for a lot of beliefs. And I see a lot up above.

I will say only this. One or two more incidents with bombs, where 10 or more people get killed in the one or the two, will blow away away all these beliefs like leaves on the driveway, with grandmom's super leaf blower.

Then you will see real change. The public will demand it. The Democrats will lead the charge. Bush, and Cheney and Rumsfeld in his forthcoming book will say ~we told you so~

Yes there will be people saying it was Bush's fault, but still the charge to battle will be on.

Jodi, that's just silly talk. I don't see why the terrorists would bomb America now. Our Dear Leader told us right after 9/11 that they attacked us, because the terrorists HATE our freedoms. Bush/Cheney have already made us safer by taking all those freedoms away. If a bomb were to explode now, it would logically follow that the bombs would not be from the hands of the terrorists. Saying otherwise is to disbelieve our Dear Leader. Maybe you are suggesting 9/11 occurred, because the terrorists hate something OTHER than our freedoms. Or maybe you are implying that giving up our freedoms has not made us safe from future incidents.

Just to recap: Freedom is for the American spirit what oil is for the corporate interests: something worth fighting for.

There's an old saying MY grandmother used to say: Live Free or Die. Or was it Give me Liberty or give me Death? or Don't tread on me? I don't know, there were so many sayings it's hard to keep them all straignt now. But I NEVER heard her say give up your freedoms or else you will die! That's just silly talk.

Is this where Reagan would say "and there you go again?"

"There you again again" is a response, although one DEVOID of content or counter argument.
"There you go again" is filler, however, to approximate a conversation when one has nothing to add or one cannot remember the past. In fact "I do not recall" is another famous Reagan quote.

pdaly,

"I do not recall" is also a Hilary quote.

I even think there was a song about it.

:)

Maybe it's something in the water or the KoolAid. Willing to bet we are to hear loud choruses of "I do not recall"'s coming from the Bush Administration soon. Go Pelosi!

pdaly,

you probably will after what happened to poor Mr Libby trying to adhere to his Presidents dictates. The bosses go by a separate standard than what they hold their minions to.
It should be a different ball park and game over there now. And especially will be before a Hostile Congressional Committee.

But one thing, pdaly.

I would expect 'dear leader' to be used in North Korea. Just a bit strange.

I believe the North Koreans love their leader and follow him unquestioningly. No amount of rational discussion can change their minds. The parallels are uncanny--although our Dear Leader doesn't get as much love; probably 51% less.

Smiley,

I missed your sentence earlier. Nicely done.

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