Saturday, November 03, 2007

Advise and Consent

The presidential election has become much more important. In confirming the latest nominee for Attorney General, the Senate is rendering itself irrelevant and the election amounts now to electing a monarch to rule this country for the next four years.

I was going to wait until Mukasey was actually confirmed before writing about this confirmation, as I had some small hope that it might not happen. But I really knew that it was just wishful thinking.

I’m actually disappointed that the issue which nearly derailed the nomination was his refusal to define waterboarding as illegal. While that issue richly deserved disqualification, to me there were two other issues, even larger, that should have thrown the nomination not only off of the tracks but completely into a ditch.

At some point this Congress simply must stand up to this president’s bullying and browbeating and do it’s damned job, which is oversight. The constitution does not merely allow Congress to act as a check on the Executive, it requires Congress to do so and Congress is failing utterly to fulfill that responsibility. Part of the “advise and consent” clause is the ability not only to say “No” but to say, “Oh, hell no.”

The other issue is a statement made earlier by Mukasey in the confirmation hearings. I cannot find the quote now because the fulmination over his stand on waterboarding has drowned the earlier hearings, but it went something like this in response to being asked if it was okay for the president to violate the law,

“That would depend,” he responded, “on whether or not the act which was outside the law fell within the president’s authority to defend the United States.”

In other words, “Yes.”

What presidential candidate is making any kind of pledge to respect the role of Congress once they are elected to this nation’s highest office? Forget having Congress retake that role on its own initiave; regardless of the party holding the majority, it has clearly demonstrated that it does not have what it will take to do that. Restoring the balance of power that is written into our constitution is going to have to be done by a future president, and no leading candidate of either party is even talking about doing that.

Chris Dodd speaks of restoring the constitution, but he’s got about as much change of becoming president as I do.

There is little hope that we can escape the corrupt form of government into which this country has devolved. What I will do is try with all of the pathetically limited means that are at my disposal. I will protest in posts on my blog, and I will vote against every incumbent in every election regardless of party.

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