Friday, July 27, 2007

Executive vs Legislative Showdown

I posted this in response to a post about Rove being subpeonad and the likely showdown between the branches this is leading toward.

I think the only way the Legislative branch can "win" this fight is by doing the one thing they will never do - impeach. Impeach Gonzales first (he'd be easiest). Then Impeach either Rove and Cheney. Get their fingers out of the official organs of government. Bush will be a hollow shell without them. Then the clock runs out and President Obama takes over.

No other course of action will go anywhere. Bush will block any and all attempts at prosecution (for perjury or otherwise) and will just pardon anyone who actually makes it as far as conviction for perjury or contempt. Any showdown over powers in the courts will be decided by the Supreme Court, in which Bush has a solid majority of authoritarians to rely on.
The only power Congress has that Bush can do nothing about either with his own executive powers or with the GOP friendly Judiciary is impeachment. He can't pardon it. It is unreviewable by any court. That is the only power Congress has left. The House will easily Impeach. The Senate can't use the filibuster to avoid voting on the issue then - the argument used to block the no-confidence vote - that it was irrelevant showboating, simply would not apply. Of course, the GOP in the Senate would still scream bloody murder - but perhaps as more evidence gets out that makes it clear Gonzales has perjured himself repeatedly, it will get hard for those 22 GOP Senators up for re-election to vote for Gonzales to keep his job. It still may be a long shot, but given the paucity of support for Gonzales, I think there is a good chance they could pull it off, given all of the above.

And in so doing, it would score a victory against the Executive Branch - it would probably rally the Democratic Base (and demoralize the GOP) and perhaps lead to an even wider majority in the Congress in 2008. It would hopefully (though not likely) set a precedent where Congress tells a 'unitary executive' that if you are going to play games, invoke privilege, and obstruct, then Congress is just not going to tolerate it and you'll find all of your Cronies removed from office. Impeachment is the ultimate power that was supposed to make the Legislative Branch supreme and guard against an executive who grabbed too much power - it is the two-party system (and the lemmings of the GOP) that have prevented it from working.
But maybe with Gonzales, it will - I think it is definitely worth a shot.

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