Monday, March 05, 2007

Does Congress have the stomach to stand up to the White House?

Salon doesn't seem to have permalinks to these posts, so I hope this print version link works to take you to Glenn Greenwald's response to yesterday's NYT editorial. I'm back on the work rotation again already and only have a minute to post, so I'm just going to say he makes a point I hadn't considered. Consensus is hard to come back and the votes aren't really there for any sort of controversial measures so Glenn's suggestion that the Congress hold high profile hearings first to build public support, instead of trying to pass legislation, I think is a good one.
Democrats have to internalize that this administration does not operate like previous ones. No rational person can doubt that they are limitless in their contempt for legal restrictions or notions of checks and balances. The last election, by itself, has not changed their approach and will do not so. They are not going to voluntarily comply with anything or disclose anything. They are going to have to be forced to do so.

And televised, highly publicized confrontations over the administration's hubris and arrogance and utter contempt for our legal institutions and political traditions is not something to be avoided. It is something we desperately need as a country. Issue subpoenas for all of this information, make them defy the subpoenas, and then demand that courts compel compliance. Create media dramas in which the administration fights to maintain full-scale secrecy around all of its legally dubious and extreme behavior. Americans hate hubris of that sort and do not trust this administration. Those are fights they cannot win.

Confrontations of this type are absolute pre-requisites if one wants to do anything about any of the truly urgent issues raised by the Times Editorial this morning. These issues cannot be amicably resolved or legislated away. The real power of the Congress is to compel a public airing of what this Government has been doing for the last six years. Everything else will follow from that. But it still remains to be seen -- it is highly questionable -- whether the Democrats who have been given control of the Congress by the American people have the stomach for that fight.
That is certainly the big question. One can only hope the answer is yes.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry and Janet Zucker, Warner Bros and Plame.

Alot of cash.

1:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one thing that the dems really blew it on was throwing Paul Hackett under the bus in favor of sherod brown. The Iraq debates could have used his voice

2:56:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Anon, I'm not sure what you mean by that but welcome to the Impolitic.

Lester - I was really pissed when they blew off Hackett. I think you're absolutely right.

3:56:00 PM  

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