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22 March 2007 @ 12:50 pm
Speaking of a Constitutional crisis...  
Tony Snow, Mouth of Sauron White House Press Secretary, this morning:

"The legislative branch has no oversight responsibility over the White House...the executive branch doesn't have to do anything."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Constitution have something in it about checks and balances? I can only assume it's hard for the administration to read a document they've repeatedly shredded and wiped their asses with.
Current Mood: confusedbefuddled
Current Music: XTC, "Frivolous Tonight"
Angela: political bushfishangelalala on March 22nd, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's so perfect.
Hannibal V Constantine: Aramhannibalv on March 22nd, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
Dude, read this, and then tell me about Tony Snow.
Bilal Dardai: Patriotbdar on March 22nd, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
Snow should really just resign and be replaced by a ventriloquist's dummy, so we can end the charade once and for all.

The funny thing is that about 30 of Clinton's aides testified under oath to Congress, and he still seemed able to get decent advice from them. Nobody from this cabal has done so, citing "executive privilege." Bush and Cheney couldn't even be bothered to be under oath when they testified about freaking 9/11.
permavultur: Nixonpermavultur on March 22nd, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC)
Also related to Clinton is how (Republican-controlled) Congress was able to bring up enforceable articles of impeachment in the House and hold a criminal trial in the Senate, ultimately impeaching the President. I wonder what that was if not 'power' or 'oversight'. Hmm.

I understand that it's posturing and political theatrics -- they came came from television, after all -- but it's to the point of ridicule now. Or to a point of more extravagant ridicule than it was under Ari Fleischer.
benjamin sTone: Porridgebenchilada on March 22nd, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC)
I want to die.
Now, if possible.
ludimagist on March 22nd, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC)
Mouth of Sauron

Thank you for this. I needed that.
911939911939 on March 22nd, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
A little less than two more years, eh?

I've been hearing the Watergate comparisons, and I'm not sure if I want him to resign or not. I mean...I want him to resign. But then Cheney will seize power, the loyal generals will rise up, the Whore of Babylon will saddle up her seven-headed dragon, the scrolls will be opened, the horsemen will ride, and in comes Jesus to clean up the mess.

And that's exactly what they want.
DylansThinMandylansthinman on March 23rd, 2007 01:23 am (UTC)
As heard on last night's The Daily Show...

John Oliver: "It's merely the President's way of saying, 'Hey, Checks! The grown-ups need to talk for a minute. Here's 20 bucks. Why don't you and Balances go see Wild Hogs?"

Jesus! One President gets one blow-job by his intern and everyone goes ape-shit; another President repeatedly does whatever he wants and, in so many words, tells anyone opposed to go fuck themselves and gets away with it time after time without taking any responsibility. Tsk-tsk...

My only hope is that our next Presidential administration allows me to stop nervously crapping my pants each time I turn on my television.
Mr. Yozhikyozhik on March 26th, 2007 11:40 am (UTC)
I think your potentially conflating or misunderstanding the differences between oversight and "checks and balances" within the Constitution. The nature of our Constitution is that each branch of the government has authority to act independently of the other, only subject to specific powers granted to other branches of government. Thus, Congress generally cannot tell the executive branch how to perform its tasks, any more than the White House can tell Congress how to run its committee meetings. Both, however, can check the others powers through various Constitutional means, such as the veto, impeachment, etc.

Usually, the pissing fights with "oversight" aren't about authority, but more about executive privilege and the congressional subpeona power. Under President Clinton, the broad assertion of executive privilege was drastically wittled down by the courts, but that doesn't mean it is now nonexistent. It still plays an important role in protecting presidential decision-making, regardless of how one likes or dislikes a President.
Bilal Dardai: Patriotbdar on March 26th, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't want a situation where you have any branch telling the others how to do their jobs, but I can't see how oversight, as well as the principles of "advise and consent," doesn't fit into the aegis of checking and balancing. The balances are currently way the hell out of whack, largely because nobody had the power or will to do any checking. The Executive has shown clear contempt for the unfortunate obstacle of Legislative over the past four years, between signing statements and secret wiretap programs and I would hazard a number of other activities. Based on the number of times the story has changed in regards to the 8 fired USAs...

"It was poor performance...I mean failure to prosecute illegal immigration...I mean it doesn't matter because the president can fire them whenever he wants...even though he may not recall being asked about this...okay, the advisors can testify about it, but only if there's no way to check up on their testimony or punish them if they use the occasion to spout falsehoods. Trust us. 9/11."

...I can't believe that the invocation of "privilege" is anything more than a convenient attempt to avoid being caught in yet another lie. I can agree that having the privilege to have some executive discussions kept private is a useful and necessary tool, but I doubt that the spirit of the practice is to be able to cover your ass when you've decided to be flagrantly dishonest.

For the record, I quite liked President Clinton and have made no uncertain noises about my dislike for the Bush cabal. I liked neither of their particular uses of executive privilege. And your snideness, as per usual, remains unappreciated.
Mr. Yozhikyozhik on March 26th, 2007 02:09 pm (UTC)
Snideness? Uhm, I think you are emoting something I don't feel here.

Regardless, while neither the congressional subpoena or executive privilege are explicitly constitutional, it does seem reasonable to infer that both should exist. I think the problem too often though is that people want it only one way or another when it's to their advantage. Not that I'm inferring anything here about your desires, but I think that is often the nature of political debate on these things.

I think the honest question, whether Nixon, Clinton, or perhaps Bush (all Presidents who have raised legal questions about executive privilege), is whether a subpoena here fulfills any legislative purpose or is it just political? In principle, if Congress can show a clear need for White House materials, such as might occur in a bribery scandal, I think it is pretty easy to find an exception to executive privilege. No one really wants to protect undoubtable illegal conduct. With respect to the current controversey, I'm not really all that involved in following the scandal, but it seems that one should have far more concern about the potential for political witchhunts here. After all, once documents are subpoenaed in a case like this, I doubt that they will be used to find an objective understanding of the reasoning behind the decisions, but rather just searched through for the most damaging soundbites. That might be satisfying in the short term, but in the long term I think it would only be damaging to future presidential administrations and the long-term public interests.
Bilal Dardai: Patriotbdar on March 26th, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)
It still plays an important role in protecting presidential decision-making, regardless of how one likes or dislikes a President.

That came across snide. Everything else until that was civil.

I could see the argument for this being little more than grandstanding if it weren't for the suspicious details surrounding the firings of these eight particular USAs--in a few of these cases, investigations into Republican corruption were stalled by the dismissals. Carol Lam was the prosecutor whose work led to the conviction of Randy "Duke" Cunningham, and she was following the rabbit hole there to see how deep it went. But no longer.

If the Congressional inquiry leads to evidence as such, that's Obstruction, isn't it?

Even so, I'll admit that after five years of being subjected to Republican rhetoric about how my particular point of view emboldens terrorists, degrades America, destroys society, etcetera etcetera; I'm going to feel some satisfaction at watching the Democrats grandstand right back.
Mr. Yozhikyozhik on March 27th, 2007 12:16 am (UTC)
Here's a legal primer by Cass Sunstein on the curent status of congressional subpeonas and executive privilege. Considering that he is the most cited constitutional scholar living, I'm going to presume that it's pretty much all valid information.