Monday, November 05, 2007

Dear Congresscritters:

Yes, you really can impeach the bastards. Now.

from Is a Presidential Coup Under Way? By Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown.

The founders would be stunned that Congress has failed to assert itself. They saw checks and balances not as an option but as an obligation, a fundamental responsibility that goes to the very heart of each lawmaker's oath faithfully to support and defend the Constitution.

It's important to note that Congress is not a weak institution. It has powerful muscles to flex, including control of the purse, which Congress used in 1973 to tell Nixon, "No, we will not provide money for you to extend the Vietnam War into Laos and Cambodia." Nixon had to back off. Legislators also have clear constitutional mandates to oversee, probe, and expose presidential actions (remember the extensive Fulbright hearings in the '60s and the Church investigations of the '70s, for example). Members of Congress have wide-ranging subpoena power, as well as something called "inherent contempt" power to make their own charges against outlaw executive officials and to hold their own trials. And, of course, they have impeachment power -- which the founders saw not only as a way to remove an outlaw president (or veep or cabinet officer), but also as a means to compel a recidivist constitutional violator to come before the bar of Congress and to be held accountable. The process itself, even if it does not lead to conviction in the Senate, is educational and chastening, putting the executive branch back in its place.

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Steve Bates said...

Hightower, like the late Molly Ivins, is disproof of the conventional wisdom that Texas is a vast wasteland filled with hostile idiots. I have no idea how he was as state Agriculture Commissioner decades ago, but he's been one hell of a populist activist... and defender of the Constitution... since his days in office. Among all the articles on the notion of a coup that I linked, his was IMHO the most compact and focused.

Steve Bates said...

(FTR, I disagreed with Hightower about the whole Nader mess. He screwed up. That doesn't lessen the rest of the work he's done over the years, though.)

[higkqwa - kitten's attempt to spell "hipparchia" on your keyboard]

hipparchia said...

[that looks about like their tyeping here]

dude, i'm disproof of the conventional wisdom that Texas is a vast wasteland filled with hostile idiots. as are you.

yes, that was the best of the articles you linked to, or at least it was the one that resonated the most for me. i do very much thank you for the entire compilation though.