For all who haven’t been paying attention to such things, last week Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) proposed a motion that President Bush be censured for approving the National Security Agency (NSA) Terrorist Surveillance Program (or “domestic” warrantless “wiretap” program as the uninformed have deemed it). However, the motion went nowhere, simply because almost none of the senator’s Democrat colleagues were willing to back him up.
However, if the Democrats win control of the House (the body which votes to implement an impeachment; the Senate tries impeachments) in this year’s election, some predict that more than a mere “censure” may be in the offing for the president.
If Bush’s opponents find themselves in a position of power, the temptation to humiliate him is likely to be irresistible. [SNIP]I suppose vengeance is an only-too-human trait. But to what long-term end would partisan vengeance lead? Assuming that the Democrats take back the House—or assuming that, by off chance, a barely Republican-controlled House votes to impeach President Bush in regard to the NSA program, what can be expected?
The urge to impeach is partly payback for the Bill Clinton era when Republicans dragged the president through the mud over his dalliance with the intern Monica Lewinksy.
• All aspects of the very classified program in question will be laid before the American public—and before the enemy, al Oaeda, which it was designed to monitor
• Many of the operational techniques of the NSA will receive identical exposure
• The program in question will be rendered useless
• If the president is found guilty of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ for approving the program, he will be forced to step down from his office and Dick Cheney will become president
• Much of the American public—most of whom approve of the program, but even some who didn’t initially do so—will be very disillusioned by the Congress they have put into power
• Much of the military’s morale—especially that of those in Iraq and Afghanistan--will plummet
• We pull out of Iraq and, probably, Afghanistan
(If vengeance is theirs, one might figure that the Democrats might have something brewing for a President Cheney as well. After all, the third in line for presidential succession is the Speaker of the House. In a Democrat-controlled House…well, you guessed it.)
Let’s say that the Democrats get back at the Republicans for all of their misdeeds—real and imagined. George Bush goes home to Texas and Dick Cheney goes home to Wyoming or to wherever. (I don’t think that the Democrats would dare incarcerate either man, though I could be wrong; some of them have already said and done things beyond the specter of imagination--mine, at least.)
What happens after that? Will my Democrat relatives laugh and say something like “haha! We got your president and your vice-president?” Maybe, and they will be right. But what will happen after that? What will happen to all of us?
What is the long-term Democrat goal for our country and its place in the world if all they (may) hope for comes to pass?
Some might opine that the congressional Democrats plan on impeaching President Bush. However, yesterday on FoxNews, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) refused to take impeachment off of the table when pressed on the subject by Chris Wallace. Maybe he didn’t want to show the Democrats’ hand, as I suspect that Senator Feingold did with the censure motion. (Don’t get me started on the senior senator from Illinois, a man who, himself, was in dire need of censure last year.)
Many have mused ad infinitum on the strategic goals of the Democrats--what they could possibly be. To regain a measure of power in the federal government, sure, but to what purpose? Breaking the present Republican monopoly in at least two of the branches of government is a fair goal, but how far are some of them willing to go to achieve that goal? Using the exposure of a top-secret security measure designed to protect all Americans, while reframing the details of that measure in order to make the uninformed believe that it is meant to invade the privacy of those same Americans in order to regain power is a tactic that is more than Machiavellian. I suppose that those who would approve of such a tactic would say that the ends make the means worthy.
Is the goal simply this: holding power for its own sake? If true, it's a pretty mundane target. Shreading an intelligence program to get at one's political rivals, however, would bring infinitely more dire problems.
If the Democrats regain majorities in both houses of Congress, I hope that the vast majority of them remember that we're all in this together. If the don't...well it's on, I guess, in more ways than one.
(Thanks to Jeff Goldstein)