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July 4, 2007

Is The Constitution Worth It?

-- by Dave Johnson

Last week I asked Speaker Pelosi this question:

Dave Johnson (of Seeing the Forest): We seem to be at a historic time right now with an administration that is starting to frankly assert that they are above the rule of law, and I’m wondering if you as Speaker can give us a short statement on this issue and what Congress is prepared to do to re-assert the rule of law of the people of the country.
(Follow the links to read her response.) Then Mike Stark asked about impeachment. In the response she said,
I made a decision a few years ago, or at least one year ago, that impeachment was something that we could not be successful with and that would take up the time we needed to do some positive things to establish a record of our priorities and their short-comings, and the President is... ya know what I say? The President isn’t worth it... he’s not worth impeaching. We’ve got important work to do... If he were at the beginning of his term, people may think of it differently, but he’s at the end of his terms. The first two years of his term, if we came in as the majority, there might be time to do it all...
Mike, of course, responded,
Mike Stark: Respectfully, that’s not the question. Respectfully, the question is whether or not the Constitution is worth it.

Many argue that impeachment will distract the Congress from passing a progressive agenda. That is a pipe dream. The Republicans in the Senate are blocking everything. The President will veto anything that passes. And if something somehow manages to become law the Republicans and the President will just ignore it anyway.

And now there is yet another action against the Rule of Law. Not long after that conversation the President used his power to keep a convicted and sentenced crony out of jail - also removing any incentive to testify against the President and Vice President.

And here we are. We are at a moment in our history where we can choose to restore ourselves as a nation of laws, or we can let yet another incident pass without taking action.

Is the Constitution worth it or not?

If Bush and the Republicans can support the absolute politicization of our system of law and justice - and our Department of Justice - what won't they do? What aren't they capable of? The key question that this behavior brings up for me is: what about 2008? Will they let the people vote them out? Will they leave office or will they just put an official stamp on what has already occurred?

I don't know of a country that has gone as far down the path to authoritarianism as we have already gone and recovered. Can anyone come up with an example?

P.S. I think that yesterday's "Special Comment" by Keith Olbermann should be remembered in history as an important speech at a perilous time. I ask all of my readers to watch it, ask others to watch it, and print the transcript to leave in coffee shops, etc. Crooks and Liars has the video and the transcript.

Posted by Dave Johnson at July 4, 2007 12:47 PM

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Comments

You cannot possibly restore the constitution and the country as you continue as an apologist for the democrat party. If you continue to support that nest of cowards, corporatists and incompetents, you are INTENTIONALLY destroying this country.

ANY path that you choose to fight the corporations and the right-wing that does not involve supporting the democrats is superior to ANY path that does.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 4, 2007 4:14 PM

My last few comments have not gotten through. I don't know why. I hope this gets through.

The Speaker is making at least three fundamental mistakes. The first is that we should not impeach because impeachment is doomed to fail and that Bush will be out soon anyway. While the first is true and the second likely true (but we shouldn't count on it), we still have the massive 'Publican machine in place. The purpose of the impeachment process is to get the machine and its crimes in public view.

Recall Chile's Pinochet. Even though the arrest ultimately failed, it changed the discussion of the merits of Chile's military dictatorship. Now, Chile has a president who was tortured and incarcerated under Pinochet, and whose father was tortured and murdered under Pinochet.

The second is (of course) that in this day and age we should cooperate with the enemy, playing bipartisan sucker, in the hopes that we can get something positive done. It doesn't matter how nice we are to the 'Publicans, they will still kick our teeth in.

Face it -- we can't get anything positive done without the 'Publicans joining in and cooperating.

The third is that by wimping out, she drives many of us (at least myself) frustratingly crazy by deafening her ears to our pleas to fight the Bengal tiger in our midst.

There is a saying that it's better to have an honest enemy than a faithless friend. A friend who collapses into weakness when we need his strength is just as bad. The previous comment against the Democrats may reflect this view; the biggest problem I have is that I have no idea how to go about fighting the Republicans while not supporting the Democrats. Remember why Ralph Nader got considerable attention from the MSM and money from the Rightist funders: Nader would only draw votes from the Democrats.

Years ago, I wrote a piece urging people to stop blaming Nader for 2000; at least half a dozen events combined to give us the election disaster. But in 2004, Nader was being a major asshole.

Posted by: John M 307 [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 4, 2007 7:36 PM

If you are fighting the corporatists you are doing good. If you are fighting the corporatists and also hurting demos, you're a fucking SAINT.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 5, 2007 9:25 AM

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