Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Nixonian Stonewalling"

I like that term. It's the term used by Senator Pat Leahy in reference to the President and the Vice President, who are refusing to produce documents ordered by subpoena under the claim of executive privilege.

The President and vice president claim that they are entitled to use executive privilege to keep secret the documents and conversations that they produced with regard to the US Attorneys who lost their jobs, as well as Dick Cheney's office with regard to warrantless wiretapping.

When in trouble, what does the executive branch do? He sends out his press voice, with instructions to throw stones and call names: "It's pretty clear that again members of Congress are engaged in an attempt ... to try to do what they can to make life more difficult for the White House. It also explains why this is the least popular Congress in decades, because you do have what appears to be a strategy of destruction rather than cooperation."

I suppose, from the executive's perspective, that is what you have. You have a Congress, a coequal branch of government exercising its Oversight powers to attempt to ensure that what the president and his staff have done was not illegal or unconstitutional. The president has asked Congress to trust him and give him unfettered discretion to do what he needs to do. He also seems to believe that United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974), where the Court specifically rejected the idea that the Executive alone should determine the scope of executive privilege, means that he gets to determine the scope of executive privilege. Since Congress is not doing what the president wants, they are, by definition, not cooperating. Conversely, the Executive Branch, by not doing what Congress wants vis a vis the subpoenas, is not cooperating. But we're not supposed to see that - just like we're not supposed to see that this is the most unpopular president in decades, and the reason this Congress is as unpopular as it is is because it has not done enough in the public eye to rein in the President and hold the executive branch accountable (which is what it's trying to do here).

I don't like President Bush. I believe he is acting with disregard for the laws of this country, and I believe that he, and those he appoints should be held accountable for that disregard.

1 comment:! said...

Wait, how can Cheney claim executive privilege AND that he's not part of the executive branch IN THE SAME WEEK?? That's cutting it a little close. At least give the American people a good week or two to forget. He better shoot one of his friends in the face quick to distract us!