Conservatives have claimed for as long as I can remember that they are Constitutional contextualists. If it ain’t explicitly stated in the Constitution he don’t have that right. For instance the telephone is not in the constitution so you do not have the right to use one to practice free speech – that is if we were to adhere to conservative dogma. While a Democrat and one of the more reasonable branches of libertarianism would argue that times change and surely talking on the telephone or the internet would be an implied right, a sensible extension of our rights to changing technology. How odd it was conservatives that invented executive privilege – Executive Privilege: The Battles are Brewing
…’executive privilege’ seems to be of very recent American usage…I cannot find that any President or Attorney General used it before the Eisenhower administration. You will search in vain for it as an entry in such standard reference works as the Smith-Zurcher ‘Dictionary of American Politics,’ or ‘The Oxford Companion to American History,’ or Scribner’s ‘Concise Dictionary of American History.’ It is not even to be found, I was dismayed to discover, in ‘The New Language of Politics,’ compiled by William Safire of Mr. Nixon’s very own White House staff.
This EP right that Bush does not have according to the constitution and the court will not be waived in regards to Bush and staff testifying about their involvement with the recent U.S. attorney purges,
Dan Bartlett, counselor to Mr. Bush, has said it is “highly unlikely” that the president would waive executive privilege to allow his top aides to testify publicly.
Of course conservatives felt a little differently when they had the great Clinton witch hunt. A hunt that wasn’t about matters of substance like purging U.S. attorneys, or misrepresenting intel to Congress and the American people, or responses to catastrophes like Katrina. Current Whitehouse press secretary and former Fox “newsman” Tony Snow wrote,
Tony Snow – Op-Ed – St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 29, 1998 :
(HEADLINE: “Executive Privilege is a Dodge”)
Evidently, Mr. Clinton wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.
Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.
One gets the impression that Team Clinton values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public’s faith in Mr. Clinton will ebb away for a simple reason: Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold — the rule of law.
Hypocrisy isn’t something that Republicans engage in on occasion like all of us do. They cultivate it, they breath it like oxygen, they wallow in it like pigs in mud. They can’t seem to utter a sentence without being hypocritical. If this a Constitutional showdown the president is bound to lose – can you say Congressional subpoena, contempt of Congress citation, Sargent-at-arms and Whitehouse officials taken into custody, Defiance
* He will “allow” some of the White House staff to meet in private with Congressional committees, not under oath, and with no transcript taken. That, of course, would give them virtual carte blanche to lie. Making false statements to Congress is a felony, but in the absence of a transcript the liar can just deny that he said what he said; doubtless at least one Republican legislator could be found to back up that lie under oath.
* He will also deign to provide emails from the White House to DoJ, but not emails within the White House.
The extreme nature of the White House response, after its initial hesitation, makes sense only if one of those documents is a “smoking gun.”
The New York Times refers to a “Constitutional confrontation,” as if the two sides had the same standing. That is an error. There’s a question of comity between the branches here, but there’s no actual Constitutional question. As a matter of settled law, if the Congress wants the testimony and the documents, it gets the testimony and the documents. (emphasis mine)
Many thought that the Bushies might fall under the Plame investigation ( and that isn’t over since Congress is investigating), but who would have thought that the House of Bandar Bush would crumble from old fashioned smoke filled back room political patronage and the ideological purity of U.S. attorneys. Attorneys that were Republicans and at least at some point carried enough favor and influence in the Age of Rovian politics to get appointed in the first place.
In her recent Washington Post piece, Toensing wrote of Valerie Wilson, “She worked at CIA headquarters and had not been stationed abroad within five years of the date of Novak’s column.” This means, Toensing has argued, that Valerie Wilson could not be covered by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. But Valerie Wilson testified that she had been dispatched on overseas missions under cover in the five years prior to the Novak column–an indication she had “served” abroad. (Hubris reported that as well.) Toensing is free to maintain that the law ought to cover only those officers residing overseas as part of a long-term foreign assignment. But that is not what the act says. By stating that the act defines a “covert agent” as an officer residing abroad (as opposed to an officer who had “served” overseas), Toensing misrepresented the law to members of the committee. (By the way, both Fitzgerald and the CIA have said that Valerie Wilson’s employment relationship with the CIA was classified.)
The conservative reaction to be being utterly, completely and tragically wrong about Valerie Wilson (Plame) reminds me of those cop shows where the perp is caught on tape at two in the morning pounding away at an ATM with a sledge hammer. Later the police question him and he says he was just trying to make a withdrawal. Republicans thy middle name is “denial”.We still have right-wingers that deny the Holocaust so apparently denial of reality is still a prerequisite to being a certified conservative and damn the consequences to our national security.
“My son was killed in Iraq on February 2, 2007,” says the letter. “His name is Captain Kevin Landeck….
“He was killed while riding in a Humvee by a roadside bomb just south of Baghdad. He has a loving mother, a loving father and loving sister. You took him away from us.”
The letter adds that Kevin Landeck (pictured here in a recent family photo), 26, a Wheaton Warrenville South High School and Purdue University graduate, had been married for 17 months and was very proud to be serving his country.
But “the message he continued to send to me was that of incompetence,” Landeck’s letter says. “Incompetence by you, (Vice President Richard) Cheney and (former defense secretary Donald) Rumsfeld. Incompetence by some of his commanders as well as the overall strategy of your decisions.
“When I asked him about what he thought about your decision to `surge’ more troops to Baghdad, he told me, `until the Iraqis pick up the ball we are going to get cut to shreds. It doesn’t matter how many troops Bush sends, nothing has been addressed to solve the problem he started,'” says Landeck’s letter. ( emphasis mine)
“The President seems to extend executive privilege way out past the atmosphere. What he says is executive privilege is nothing but executive poppycock.” Sam Ervin (US Senator (1954-74) referring to Richard Nixon (R)