In yet another example of the impotency of Congress and the arrogance of the chief executive, George Bush has decided that the White House will not comply with Congressional subpoenas directing two top former aides to appear for testimony before Congress. These aids were to give testimony about circumstances surrounding the firing of nine Federal prosecutors last year.
Bush has consistently invoked the doctrine of executive privilege to circumvent Congress and he has faced few if any repercussions. The best the Democrats could come up with was a moderately worded letter that was sent to Bush’s counsel Fred Fielding complaining that the President was acting in bad faith. Fielding rejected the letter in his own statement expressed concern that the Democrats were overstepping Congressional authority (!). Pat Leahy continued the cascade of Democratic mediocrity with his own weakly worded statement: “I hope the White House stops this stonewalling.” You hope the White House stops this stonewalling? Why on earth would they do that? They know that there is no day of reckoning in their future. They know that Congress is basically incapable of acting on anything other than its donor’s interests.
The Republicans may have stripped the people of the protections afforded by the Constitution and they will be remembered for it. The Democrats will be judged more harshly by history because they had opportunities galore to take action to stop this runaway administration and they did nothing. The Iraq war, the “Patriot” Act, domestic surveillance, indefinite detention without legal recourse, the suspension of habeas corpus, the evisceration off environmental standards, the nomination and confirmation of Alito and Roberts, all presented our so-called opposition party with opportunities to engage the administration. And…nothing.
Assuming the American experiment survives the next 50 years, I wonder what our Chinese speaking grandchildren will make of the fact that at the turn of the 21st century our government was taken over by fascists and oligarchs and we did nothing to stop it.