Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In defense of censure

Disclaimer: The following diary, in no way diminishes my burning desire to see George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and their ilk thrown out of office as quickly as possible. It does, however, reflect the political and actual reality that, timing-wise, especially relative to the urgency of stopping their disastrous and destructive policies immediately, impeachment proceedings are not going to start this month and most likely next month, regardless of how much we want it to be so.



That all being said, and to reiterate that it is the policies of escalation in Iraq, baiting (to say the least) of Iran and Syria, the stunningly (even for them) arrogant “fuck you” to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, top generals in Iraq, the American public, Iraqis and their “democratically elected” government, the Iraqi Prime Minister, many top Middle East officials and the vast majority of Congress (including many prominent members of their own party), the further looting of our treasury, the willful neglect of We the People and many many other reasons (legal, illegal or suspected illegal) that the remainder of this Presidency must be cut off at the knees.



Now.


Suffice to say, the process of impeachment isn’t going to do this. At least not nearly quickly enough. Therefore, this Administration needs to be made truly irrelevant and hamstrung effective immediately – so that it can not continue to bait Iran and Syria, or continue its unchecked escalation of an illegal-to-begin-with occupation against the will of Congress and the American people that voted for drastic change just a few short months ago.



Since I am sure this will get some heated comments, I will repeat something that I have repeated countless times already – this does not, in any way, shape or form, advocate that the Democrats and republicans in Congress not hold as many hearings as they can, vigorously investigate everything they can, continue to pass laws which may or may not get vetoed but would promote their values towards We the People and if we are so very lucky, have enough evidence to impeach and convict their sorry asses.



So why censure? Why, should Congress do this if (1) it is more “symbolic”, (2) is has no “real” repercussions, (3) won’t throw their asses out of office and (4) they won’t listen to anyway?



Well, for a number of reasons.



For starters, here is the wikipedia (I know, not the best source but it was better than the alternatives) entry.

Censure in the United States is a congressional procedure for reprimanding the President of the United States, a member of Congress or Judge for inappropriate behaviour. News and other media often use the term "censure" incorrectly, confusing their viewers. When used to condemn the President, however, it serves merely as a condemnation and has no direct effect on the validity of presidency.


Unlike impeachment, there is no “basis” per se, in the Constitution for censure. However, unlike impeachment (or conviction), there is no requirement that it be for “high crimes and misdemeanors” (at least for the Executive Branch).



Escalating this occupation and baiting Iran and Syria when well over 70% of the American public (and Congress) is against it isn’t an impeachable offense. But it is highly inappropriate. Also, the process of bringing a motion to censure the President is not a long process, unlike impeachment proceedings. With such an overwhelming majority of the public against this policy, a censure motion would be palatable to many republicans who want to go on record as opposed to these actions but would not vote to impeach or convict.



Although not as important, it would also be palatable to the talking meatsticks who, with the sudden discovery of the beginnings of a spine, would talk this up as an excellent idea. It would certainly not (other than to extreme kool aid drinkers) be framed as a petty partisan action, as sadly turned out to be the case with what was actually a brilliant move by Senator Feingold last year.



It would have support. LOTS of support. Immediately. And immediate is what we want to do here. Sure, they may still try to continue to do the power grab that they have been doing since, well, since 1998 if not longer. But, it will send an immediate and overwhelming message to this administration, the American people, the Iraqis, the rest of the Middle East, our current but dwindling allies and our troops that we are not, as a country, insane like our Executive branch is.



It would, for the Democrats, force republicans (and Lieberman) to go on record as supporting what can only be described as the most dangerous foreign policy blunder since Vietnam. If republicans (or Lieberman) can’t even rebuke the administration in this manner, then it dooms them for 2008 and beyond (like McCain).



It has only happened to a President once before (and was subsequently overturned) so this is not something that would be taken lightly by Congress or by the public (here and around the world). It would send a strong bi-partisan signal that enough is enough. And it would send that message quickly, not in a matter of months.



And most of all, it would cripple this administration’s agenda swiftly, and (for you “impeach right fucking now” folks out there) could be a catalyst for quickly shifting opinion towards impeachment being “popular” (time constraints considered). It would shift the playing field decisively, regardless of whether Cheney or Bush thinks that Congress and the American peoples’ will matters or not.



As our Vice President would say, “it’s a no-brainer”.

17 comments:

amanda said...

Well reasoned. For the other side, check this out. LOL, from Americablog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-FcX0tVf7E&eurl=

Democrats, make it rain subpoenas...

Undeniable Liberal said...

Bill Clinton was impeached and had a trial in under three months, for lying about a blowjob. Those three months included the recess for the elections, and the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Based on that schedule, Bush could be removed by April. I never understand the timing issue.
What is needed is not time, but the will of Republican Senators to remove him. And if The Cheney Menstruation isn't removed very soon, then they will start some shit that will dramatically change our comfy little lives for the worse. By then, the course will be irreversible.

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