Saturday, April 01, 2006

John Dean on impeachment

Nixon's White House counsel, John Dean, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program >deserved censure and possibly impeachment.

"Had the Senate or House, or both, censured or somehow warned Richard Nixon, the tragedy of Watergate might have been prevented," Dean told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Hopefully the Senate will not sit by while even more serious abuses unfold before it."

Testifying to a Senate committee on Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold's resolution to censure Bush, Dean said the president "needs to be told he cannot simply ignore a law with no consequences."

Strong stuff. And coming from a former White House counsel that witnessed another impeachment process firsthand -- and a Republican to boot -- it's powerful.

That said, it doesn't really move the ball any. Feingold's resolution serves a purpose: it keeps the eavesdropping alive and in front of voters and Congress. But I agree with the Democratic leadership that the resolution is otherwise premature. Keep the pressure on to make sure the investigation goes forward; but wait for the investigation to finish before discussing possible sanctions.

Not to let the Republicans off the hook:

But Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said that passing a censure resolution would do more harm than good. "Wartime is not a time to weaken the commander-in-chief," he said.

That's a weak argument. Does the "it's a war" excuse mean the president can do anything he wants and the nation should do nothing? Arguably wartime is a time for closer monitoring of presidential actions, because a president's wartime powers are so extensive and abuse so much easier.

Hatch is essentially arguing for abandoning Congress' oversight responsibility. Not a good idea.

His comment is also yet another example of why viewing the "war on terror" as a traditional war is a big mistake.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Matt Parker said...

D&C credo number 20:

"I believe that declaring war on an adjective shouldn’t invoke the War Powers act."

Welcome to the D&C Movement!

Peace,

Matt

4/01/2006 9:09 AM  

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