Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Constitutional Crisis

I remember during the last days of the Nixon regime when people were talking about the United States being in a “constitutional crisis”. I didn’t believe it. The president and his hold on power were unstable, but I never thought the presidency was. Things were taking their prescribed constitutional course, widespread presidential criminality had been exposed, and we were happily on the road to impeachment.

Consider the contrast to today. The only president we have has authorized a massive program of spying on Americans’ phone calls while continuing to lie about it. He has negotiated bills with Congress, and signed them, while arrogating to himself the power to ignore any legislation he doesn’t like. He lied us into war, continues to lie about the reasons, and blocks the efforts of Congress to investigate it. He prosecutes his political enemies and the rare journalists who dare to expose the illegality of his actions.

We’re now in the middle of the runup to an invasion of Iran. I would like to see Congress pass a resolution right now prohibiting the use of any appropriated funds to initiate hostile actions against Iran without a declaration of war or further authorization from Congress. They’ll never do it, but the bigger problem is that even if they did pass such a resolution Bush would simply ignore it.

Now that’s a constitutional crisis.

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