Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Preserve, Protect and Defend"

August 19, 2007, 7:40 a.m.

Our Constitutional Responsibility

There are three pieces in this morning's Des Moines Register, and reference to a fourth, that prompt me to belatedly speak out on the controversial issue of the "i word" -- impeachment.

Let me make clear that I think it's a perversion of the Constitution to encourage the impeachment of a president because you don't like him or her, or just because you want to hurt the opposing party. And I understand Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desire to avoid appearing petulant, and merely seeking revenge for the Republicans' effort to impeach President Bill Clinton, in her declaration that impeachment is "off the table." (I suspect it may also reflect a bit of vote counting on her part.)

Nor do I think a formal impeachment proceeding is absolutely necessary as the only way for American citizens and their representatives to "preserve, protect and defend" their Constitution (a part of the president's (and other officials') oath upon being sworn in). U.S. Constitution, Art. II, Sec. 1.

Although it may be relevant in this connection to note that the American Research Group's July 5 poll reports roughly 50% of Americans want Bush and Cheney impeached (45% Bush; 54% Cheney. Even registered Republicans support impeachment by 13% Bush, 17% Cheney.)

What I do think is that, at a minimum, the equivalent of articles of impeachment need to be drawn up with regard to what President George Bush, and Vice President Dick Cheney have done, detailing each of the extensions of executive power and restrictions on citizens' constitutional protections. Our representatives owe us at least that much: a resolution detailing, opposing, rejecting and expressing their combined view that much of what the President and Vice President have been doing is, in the judgment of Congress, a violation of the civil rights of citizens and the separation of powers of the three branches of government.

Obviously, regardless of what Congress does it is too late to reverse much of what this Administration has already done. Therefore, the purpose of this bill of particulars is not so much to restrain a Republican president as to make sure the next president -- which has a good likelihood of being a Democrat -- and his or her successor presidents are not permitted to simply continue the practices that are now in place.

These concerns, and this analysis, is not original with me. It is gaining momentum throughout the country -- as is borne out by the fact that one newspaper, in one state, on one day contains three opinion pieces, with a reference to a fourth, on the theme:

Richard Doak, "Daok: Who will defend Constitution? That should be presidential litmus test," Des Moines Register, August 19, 2007, p. OP1.

William Stosine, "America's Biggest Threat Comes from Within," Des Moines Register, August 19, 2007, p. OP2 -- with reference to similar theme in writings of Republican Paul Craig Roberts. (Roberts formerly served as President Reagan's undersecretary of treasury and associate editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal.) Roberts contends "The American constitutional system is near to being overthrown."

For the full text of Roberts' remarks see, Paul Craig Roberts, "Impeach Bush and Cheney Now," Online Journal, August 17, 2007.

Although Bruce Fein is not represented in this morning's Register, he can also be added to the list of conservatives calling for impeachment. He was at the top of President Reagan's Department of Justice, has been affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, and writes for the Washington Times. He recently laid out his own "articles of impeachment" on "Bill Moyers Journal," July 13, 2007 (includes links to background material, video, and transcript).

Lance Dickie, "Civil Liberties Assaulted," Des Moines Register, August 19, 2007, p. OP6; not available on the Register's Web site, but available as Lance Dickie, "A Scary Assault on Civil Liberties," Seattle Times, August 10, 2007. (Dickie is a Seattle Times editorial columnist. )

The Register Also Editorially Endorses Universal, Single Payer

As the health care debate rages on, it becomes ever clearer that the kind of universal, single-payer system advocated in Michael Moore's "Sicko" and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich's proposed legislation, is the only real, long term solution to our capitalist, profit-maximizing, benefit-minimizing, world's number 1 (in costs) and 42nd (in life expectancy and infant mortality) "health insurance" (not "health care") system. This morning's editorial faults the candidates for their weak-kneed, fuzzy, insurance/pharma-capitulating proposals, and seems to advocate the universal, single-payer approach. Editorial, "In search of vision on health care; Presidential candidates talk about it, but their plans fall short," Des Moines Register, August 19, 2007, p. OP1.

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1 comment:

Todd Main said...

I thought you might appreciate the television campaign "speechless" we launched in Iowa over the weekend. There are three distinct ads- one for each of the top three candidates and they are at pnhp.org

TM