Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Not just criticism from the left

Conservative Scholars Argue Bush’s Wiretapping Is An Impeachable Offense:
Norm Ornstein, AEI:
I think if we’re going to be intellectually honest here, this really is the kind of thing that Alexander Hamilton was referring to when impeachment was discussed.
Sounds familiar? A couple days ago, I wrote:

I think Republicans would be demanding impeachment if Clinton tried this. It's the only intellectually honest thing to say when the President proudly admits he broke the law and intends to keep doing it.
and I did so in the context of Hamilton.
Bruce Fein, former deputy attorney general in the Reagan Administration:
It's more power than King George III had at the time of the revolution in asserting the theory that anything the President thinks is helpful to fighting the war against terrorism he can do. That was why he claimed he can ignore the torture convention. …

If President Bush is totally unapologetic and says I continue to maintain that as a war-time President I can do anything I want – I don’t need to consult any other branches – that is an impeachable offense. It’s more dangerous than Clinton’s lying under oath because it jeopardizes our democratic dispensation and civil liberties for the ages. It would set a precedent that … would lie around like a loaded gun, able to be used indefinitely for any future occupant.
You'll recall that I wrote (in the post linked above):

It's never worth forgetting that one of the complaints listed in the Declaration of Independence is that King George "has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power." This is exactly and precisely what the "commander in chief" defense would do, and it's as unacceptable now as it was then.
Bob Barr, who filed the impeachment papers against Clinton:
The American people are going to have to say, 'Enough of this business of justifying everything as necessary for the war on terror.'
David Keene, American Conservative Union:
the claim that in trying to protect Americans and pursuing his powers as commander in chief that a President has power that inherently trumps the rest of the Constitution is a sort of exaggerated claim of power on behalf of this President or any other President for that matter … I think it's Presidential overreaching and I think most Americans would certainly oppose it.
What does it mean when staunch conservatives are said almost identical things to a "left-wing mouthpiece"?

Perhaps that this isn't a partisan issue. It gets to the core of what America stands for. We can haggle over the legal details, which will ultimately leave us wanting information that no one can get, because it's double top secret from everyone, even the judges bound to oversee the law, and the legislators responsible for overseeing the executive. It's already a constitutional crisis, and no one has presented anything that makes me think otherwise.

We can argue about what the Times should have printed, and what Jay Rockefeller should have said and when, or we can fix the damn problem and mop up everything else later. The problem isn't that the Times told us, or that Jay Rockefeller didn't. The problem is that there was something to tell about.

Ars Technica has a nice discussion of what the program probably looked like and what's wrong with that approach.