Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Get Every Candidate On Record NOW

As we all know by now, President Bush (not to mention his lackey Alberto Gonzales) is incontrovertibly guilty of an obviously impeachable offense in light of Comey's testimony yesterday. Bush can attempt to deny recollection of the damning phone call to Mrs. Ashcroft if he pleases; Mrs. Ashcroft can deny recollection of it if she pleases, though how she could do that without obviously perjuring herself since she had banned all callers and visitors to Ashcroft's room is unknown. Perhaps she could say that the call came directly from Gonzales or Andy Card.

But the mafia-like circumstances of this amazing story cannot be denied: the rush to be first to the ill attorney general's room; the courageous stand of FBI chief Mueller--a story I am certain he would corroborate--in insisting that Comey not be removed from the room; Card and Gonzales blowing past Comey with an executive order for Ashcroft; Ashcroft's improbable and amazing lucidity in remembering his conversation with Comey--another point I am certain that Ashcroft would corroborate--and denying the order; the cloak and dagger 11PM White House meeting in which Comey insisted on having Olsen as a witness--a fact I am certain Olsen would corroborate; the denial of entry to Olsen for the first 15 minutes; the courageous stand of Comey in continuing to refuse; the emergency approval of the illegal program over the head of the Office of Legal Counsel and the DOJ the very next day.

It reads like the plot of a cloak-and-dagger mafia thriller, with the President as the heavy, with Card and Gonzales as his goons.

It is so undeniably, egregiously illegal in a way that even John Q. Public can really get a grip on, that it would truly require that the President be caught eating puppies or raping babies for it to get much worse.

And yet, in the face of such radically dramatic illegality, I cannot seem to find any Presidential candidate from either party with a statement on the issue--despite its being yesterday's news at this point.

Go to Hillary Clinton's site: Nothing. Go to Barack Obama's site: Nothing. John Edwards: Nothing. Bill Richardson: Nothing. And hardly surprisingly, nothing from Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney or John McCain or any of the rest of the jokers on the other side of the aisle.

More importantly, even when they do make statements I expect to see the pablum answers showing their "grave concern", the need for "full investigations" and "strong regret" at the actions of the Administration. But while just that much would be nice, such generalities won't go nearly far enough.

No, I want each and every candidate--especially the current and former Senators to answer the following question: "If President Bush authorized the continuance of the warrantless domestic spying program even though his own Justice Department and Office of Legal Counsel said it was illegal and refused to sign off on it, would you vote to impeach him or call for his impeachment?" It is critically important that they do so, because this is about a fundmental respect/disrespect for the rule of law in the United States of America.

Because let us all remember this simple fact: The President obviously did not believe that he could unilaterally allow this program to continue through his power as Commander in Chief--otherwise he would not have been so desperate to get Ashcroft's approval. He KNEW that what he was doing was illegal and not within his rights. He knew it, and he didn't care. This goes beyond the President's belief that he can act like an Emperor with legal cover: this goes straight to whether he can do somethign he KNOWS is illegal and still get away with it, even though the entire world knows as well.

Those Democrats who are trying to walk the "centrist" line in this election should let us know whether their centrism overrules their respect for equality and the rule of law.

Those Democrats who believe that we must all come together in one big, purple hug and focus on the future rather than the past, should let us know if they would disrespect the foundation of our Constitution in the name of forward-thinking optimism.

Those Democrats who would play the role of elders and statesmen should let us all know if their years of experience tell them that sociopathic, Constitution-trampling illegality is OK in this particular case.

Those Democrats who would carry the progressive mantra should let us know if they believe that electability trumps their principles when it comes to blatant law-breaking by the Commander in Chief.

Above all, those Republicans who would seek to follow in Bush's footsteps must let us all know just how closely they intend to follow--and how much respect they intend to give our broken democracy and disdained laws.

Because this issue is beyond politics at this point. The political arguments against impeachment are always there, and they are compelling: I've spouted them myself many a time. But this issue is not subject to gentleman's disagreement: this is a matter of principle so momentous that political considerations simply must be put aside (though I don't believe that they would be as politically damaging at this point as some think.)

Those who would be our future Commanders-in-Chief must make their stands and show us where their principles truly lie. I therefore call on every person who reads this piece to email and call every Presidential Candidate and get an answer to this important question.

I will be doing so myself, of course--and I urge anyone who gets a coherent answer from any one of the declared candidates to email me with it to isnospoon-at-gmail-dot-com, and I will include it in a follow-up to this post.

Let them take their stands, and let the chips fall where they may.

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