Sunday, August 05, 2007

From David Bromwich's post at huffpo 080407 -

"Wanted: a Constitutional Democrat"


"In a recent talk with liberal journalists, Nancy Pelosi offered a second kind of prudential reservation: impeachment or censure, of either Cheney or Bush, would "divide the country." That is the same species of wisdom that prevailed with Al Gore when he withheld his support from the late petitions charging voter fraud in Florida in the election of 2000. He was choosing not to divide the country.

The trouble is that Cheney and Bush are happy to divide the country. They mean to play their terrible hand to the end; and they do not take no for an answer. Compromise with them, and you are the one who is compromised. The statement by Dick Cheney in January 2007, about the impact of the election on his plans for the Middle East, showed the curious streak of frankness that marks his political character. "It won't stop us," he said.

Now, in a constitutional democracy, there are two ways of stopping the claims of a leader out of control. One is by an appeal to the voters; the other is by an appeal to the laws. The vice president (and, therefore, the president) having declared his independence of the people, it would seem that the best remaining protection is the laws. If, on the other hand, the opposition are unwilling to resort to the laws--if, from a combination of timidity and tactical reasoning, they refuse to defend their own function as lawmakers--for what purpose do they exist?"

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