Thursday, May 24, 2007


Constitutional Crisis

I am conflicted about the campaign in the liberal blogosphere to deny President Bush the "clean" bill he wants for funding his war in Iraq. Bloggers in Daily Kos are insisting that we write our members of Congress. Democrats are to hold off on voting for any funding bill that doesn't specify a schedule for withdrawing our troops. If the bill is passed according to Bush's liking, let it be the Republicans who vote for it. If there is no bill, Bush will eventually be forced, so the thinking goes, to remove the troops because there won't be any money left to keep paying them.

Democrats fear that this tactic will boomerang. They fear that Bush will not be blamed if our army is left in Iraq with no money, no replacements, no supplies. They fear that Mr. Bush will be able to convince the public that it is the evil Democrats who have left our troops in such a dire strait just to try to make a political statement.

Unfortunately, the Democrats may be right. The public doesn't understand how creaky and unworkable our constitutional system is. It takes persons of genius, tolerance, and good sense to make it work. When we have a President who is so utterly divorced from reality as Mr. Bush and who, in addition, is convinced that he is doing God's work, there is nothing that Congress can do to force him to change policy. All that Congress can do is to impeach and convict him and remove him from office.

The impeachment process has worked to remove unpopular judges who otherwise serve liftime terms. It has never worked to remove an unpopular or incompetent President, if we except Richard Nixon, who resigned after impeachment rather than face a trial in the Senate.

Votes are available in the House to impeach Mr. Bush, but not in the Senate to convict and remove him from office. We have a constitutional crisis on our hands and no solution available. I hate to say it, but in some countries with a Presidential system like ours, the next step would be an assassination or a coup d'etat. Both assassinations and coups d'etat are repugnant to Americans. We are left with the stalemate in which a stubborn and self-righteous President will stare down his Congressional opponents.

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