Last week I asked Speaker Pelosi this question:
Dave Johnson (of Seeing the Forest): We seem to be at a historic time right now with an administration that is starting to frankly assert that they are above the rule of law, and I’m wondering if you as Speaker can give us a short statement on this issue and what Congress is prepared to do to re-assert the rule of law of the people of the country.
(Follow the links to read her response.) Then Mike Stark asked about impeachment. In the response she said,
I made a decision a few years ago, or at least one year ago, that impeachment was something that we could not be successful with and that would take up the time we needed to do some positive things to establish a record of our priorities and their short-comings, and the President is… ya know what I say? The President isn’t worth it… he’s not worth impeaching. We’ve got important work to do… If he were at the beginning of his term, people may think of it differently, but he’s at the end of his terms. The first two years of his term, if we came in as the majority, there might be time to do it all…
Mike, of course, responded,
Mike Stark: Respectfully, that’s not the question. Respectfully, the question is whether or not the Constitution is worth it.
Many argue that impeachment will distract the Congress from passing a progressive agenda. That is a pipe dream. The Republicans in the Senate are blocking everything. The President will veto anything that passes. And if something somehow manages to become law the Republicans and the President will just ignore it anyway.
And now there is yet another action against the Rule of Law. Not long after that conversation the President used his power to keep a convicted and sentenced crony out of jail – also removing any incentive to testify against the President and Vice President.
And here we are. We are at a moment in our history where we can choose to restore ourselves as a nation of laws, or we can let yet another incident pass without taking action.
Is the Constitution worth it or not?
If Bush and the Republicans can support the absolute politicization of our system of law and justice – and our Department of Justice – what won’t they do? What aren’t they capable of? The key question that this behavior brings up for me is: what about 2008? Will they let the people vote them out? Will they leave office or will they just put an official stamp on what has already occurred?
I don’t know of a country that has gone as far down the path to authoritarianism as we have already gone and recovered. Can anyone come up with an example?