Meet his Royal Majesty King Bush the Shameless
December 14, 2001 7:05 AM   Subscribe

 
I've said it before: what do we have to do to initiate impeachment procedures? I've felt for some time that the Bush administration was steering the country wrong, and now it seems like they're intent on driving us right over the cliff. 3 more years of this? No thanks.
posted by starvingartist at 7:14 AM on December 14, 2001


whats the big deal. FDR had more power in his pinky then Bush will ever hope to get.
posted by clavdivs at 7:19 AM on December 14, 2001


Yeah, but FDR was less evil.
posted by Mocata at 7:44 AM on December 14, 2001


The big deal, surely, is that in a democracy no one person should have the right to invoke any kind of priviledge that may go against the wishes of parliament, Congress or whatever.

Even HRH Elizabeth, Head of State, Monarch, would not dare over rule the Houses Of Parliament.
posted by twistedonion at 7:49 AM on December 14, 2001


Another brick in the Wall of Secrecy being built by the Bush Crime Family. First you seize power, then you consolidate power. Simple Machiavellian principles at work.
posted by nofundy at 7:51 AM on December 14, 2001


Don't complain to me. complain to the ignorant people that couldn't follow directions when voting.

it's your co-citizens that cause the problem. Lack of caring on their part may have caused this, and at the very least demonstrates the lack of intelligence and quality of effort put forth by most americans today.
posted by presto at 7:59 AM on December 14, 2001


the bush administration obviously has bought into the idea that information is power and they want to consolidate their hold on as much of it as they can . they're building an infomoat that the public as well as congress will not be allowed to cross. sad.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 8:01 AM on December 14, 2001


'most americans' probably don't realize that the "the Wall of Secrecy" is being built. unfortunately. they'd rather believe the polls which seem to be still very favorable towards him...and they probably feel that "if everyone else thinks he's looking out for their best interest, well then, i will think it too".
posted by m2bcubed at 8:04 AM on December 14, 2001


magullo, did you get the "king bush" from fark? or did you come up with that yourself?
posted by tomplus2 at 8:08 AM on December 14, 2001


Don't complain to me. complain to the ignorant people that couldn't follow directions when voting.

I'm more worried about the ignorant people who could follow directions, and voted for Bush on purpose. What did PT Barnum say again? Something about "suckers"....
posted by jpoulos at 8:14 AM on December 14, 2001


magullo, did you get the "king bush" from fark? or did you come up with that yourself?

why should it matter? Besides, the "monarchy" language is being thrown around congress itself.
posted by jpoulos at 8:16 AM on December 14, 2001


"why don't you guys just shut the fark up and let the president do what he needs to do. he's like the benevolent shephard tending to his flock. if you question him, that's like saying you don't need to be governed, and everyone knows that we have to be goverened or we might hurt ourselves."
from a poster on that Fark link,

i believe that this person probably represents the average american.

"benevolent shephard tending to his flock"...how sad and how frightening.
posted by m2bcubed at 8:18 AM on December 14, 2001


Bush is playing a game with congress that has it's roots in the earliest years of the US republic. If you're going to accuse him of trying to establish a monarchy, then you'd better be prepared to put a large number of other US presidents up on the docket with him.

Presidents going all the way back to Thomas Jefferson have invoked executive privilege to protect confidential documents. Prior to Bush, it was invoked most infamously by Nixon to try and prevent the release of the Watergate tapes, and again by another Jefferson...William Jefferson Clinton...who invoked it no less than 4 times during the Monica Lewinsky brouhaha.
posted by MrBaliHai at 8:19 AM on December 14, 2001


Presto:

Please remember that most people in this country who put in the effort to vote voted for Gore.

I don't think it was the fault of our "co-citizens", but rather, perhaps, the meddling of a) Bush's little brother, b) the Republican Party puppet/Sec. of State Harris and c) Senior's present-to-the-future-generations-of-America Supreme Court nominees.
posted by thewittyname at 8:19 AM on December 14, 2001


tomplus2: I got it from 4 years of journalism school, from another 10 years reading and writing professionally and, as either Fark or Drudged or possibly both, from the 4th paragraph of the article. The fact that you lack originality, comprehension and general culture does not put everyone else in the same category, I'm afraid. I do frequent Fark, but not right after the daily edition of Unknown News comes out, which is where I got the link from. Anything else?
posted by magullo at 8:19 AM on December 14, 2001


``Disclosure to Congress of confidential advice to the attorney general regarding the appointment of a special counsel and confidential recommendations to Department of Justice officials regarding whether to bring criminal charges would inhibit the candor necessary to the effectiveness of the deliberative process by which the department makes prosecutorial decisions,'' Bush wrote.

Goodness what an articulate man on paper. Why is it that he is such a master of the monosyllabic in public speaking and interviews, but has such mastery over the written word? What a complex man.
posted by holycola at 8:21 AM on December 14, 2001


Let us not forget that Mr. Bush has no significant mandate from the electorate. Al Gore got more votes than any presidential candidate since Johnson. Some would even say 'W' and his brother 'stole' the election. This looks like tyranny of the slightest imagined majorty.
posted by cleetus at 8:23 AM on December 14, 2001


Here's what I honestly don't understand: Who is Bush trying to protect and WHY?
posted by UrbanFigaro at 8:24 AM on December 14, 2001


I think that the circumstances of the election have ceased to be relevant. Bush's invoking executive privilege is either right or wrong (more likely wrong, imo), but the margin of victory or lack thereof doesn't really have any bearing here, as far as I can see. It's a tired argument in any case, and saying that he has no mandate is dubious in light of his current approval ratings.
posted by anapestic at 8:33 AM on December 14, 2001


I think Bush is trying some oneupmanship after seeing the articles about President Blair.
posted by Gwai at 8:50 AM on December 14, 2001


saying that he has no mandate is dubious in light of his current approval ratings.

Given the patriotic sentiment sweeping the nation post 9/11, an Orangutan-in-Chief would have the same approval numbers.
posted by jpoulos at 8:50 AM on December 14, 2001


Hmm, Executive privelege has been upheld by the supreme court.

What exactly is Congress planning to do with these documents? Wave them around? Yell a lot? They don't have prosecutorial powers; those are reserved for the executive branch. Why should the executive branch cooperate?

I don't see a constitutional issue here. Please point out where I'm wrong. Seriously. No crime has been committed so impeachment isn't an option. The sole comeback that congress has is to simply hold up funding or pass laws that Mr. Bush doesn't want by overriding his veto.

Now, if Congress were to say "hey, we're the sole holder of legislative power and we've got a problem with all of these executive orders you've been signing" then I'd be behind them 100%...
posted by hadashi at 8:57 AM on December 14, 2001


Mocata writes:

Yeah, but FDR was less evil.

Yeah? Try telling that to a few thousand Japanese-Americans, buddy.
posted by hadashi at 8:58 AM on December 14, 2001


I am glad to hear all these folks come out against withholding information from Congress. I certainly didn't hear all this squealing when Bill C. was doing the same thing.

Bush should make the information available. However, any leaks of sensitive information from Congress should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
posted by CRS at 9:03 AM on December 14, 2001


with apologies to Paul and John

His Majesty's a pretty nice guy
but he doesn't have a lot to say

His Majesty and Kaiser John
Shred the Constitution every day

We want to tell him that we still want our rights
But we'll prob'ly be arrested if we try

His Majesty is crossing the line
Oh, shit, here comes the FBI (oh, no!)
Oh, shit, here comes the FBI...
posted by jpoulos at 9:05 AM on December 14, 2001


Perhaps if Congress were less blabby, Bush would be more willing to turn over what look like interoffice memos and personal notes.

But otherwise, perhaps everyone ought to mellow out just it a bit. I have my doubts we're seeing the installation of King George II here, as wonderfully excoriable that would be. And it seems I remember I couple democrats, along with their AG, who took special pleasure in hiding documents and stalling congressional subpeonae and independent counsels. Saith Pot, "Kettle, thou art black!"
posted by UncleFes at 9:06 AM on December 14, 2001


FDR had more power in his pinky then Bush will ever hope to get.

It was the Presidential Power Pinky! The pinky that saved the world!

PS to m2bcubed: please adjust your satire detectors.
posted by rodii at 9:09 AM on December 14, 2001


I would never be so dumb
To say they stole an election
They bought the damn thing fair and square
The emperor's in his underwear


dan bern
posted by th3ph17 at 9:28 AM on December 14, 2001


Yeah, but FDR was less evil.
I could faint dead away. I consider FDR to be the worst thing that ever happened to America, and thus my world. If I had a time machince and a hammer sampler he would resemble spagetti sauce.

We live in terrible times, and Bush is no prize. I cannot imagine he will take anywhere near as much from us as FDR. If only because he is not clever enough to do it.
posted by thirteen at 9:31 AM on December 14, 2001


oh goody! [rubbing hands together]
let's pitch him and his executive privelege onto the same dung heap as nixon!
posted by quonsar at 9:31 AM on December 14, 2001


Thirteen: That kind of talk--threats, no less--without anything to back it up pretty much constitutes a troll. Please elaborate.
posted by jpoulos at 9:36 AM on December 14, 2001


We live in terrible times

Nah, we live in pretty good times, with the terrible but thankfully rare occurrence. It could be a lot worse (see, for example, mid-1970s Cambodia; late-1940s Russia; early-1860s America; and anytime-anyplace Africa).
posted by UncleFes at 9:36 AM on December 14, 2001


Here's what I honestly don't understand: Who is Bush trying to protect and WHY?

Rumsfeld, Cheney and his father. Cheney was Chief of Staff under Ford and Secretary of Defense under Bush I. Rumsfeld was Chief of Staff under Ford (before Cheney) and then Secretary of Defense under Ford. The first Bush ran the CIA for a year during the Ford presidency. Additionally Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil ran was deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget during the Ford Presidency, but that probably doesn't matter much.

It is very likely that these names will appear prominently throughout the documents being requested. The main argument against releasing these was to prevent these people from being distracted from doing their jobs. This was the strategy before September 11th, and they've underlined it since.

While I can understand this argument, in light of this administration's recent trampling of the Constitution, I don't give it much credence. I do not trust their word or their record and hiding from congress doesn't do do anything to instill confidence. This is supposed to be a government of and by the people, a fact the Bush II team has never seemed to fully understand.
posted by joemaller at 10:13 AM on December 14, 2001


"an Orangutan-in-Chief" sounds like a page from mcClellans' imperial skit-referring to his private correspondence containing allusions to Lincoln as 'Ape-like'. (no General Aldo was he:) 'early-1860s America' hmmmm. mid70s DK was a nightmare. makes sierra leone look like the set of 'High Noon'. i liken the Prez to lighter shade of Adams. for which our uncle fes is a proud member. Jefferson wove power into a need machine. He doubled the country. His 'triangular' diplomacy proved in our interest even after Adams averted war with presidential powers. (i think Hamilton, left to stew in imperialism a few years may have tried a Pax Americana- he was perceived as a clear and present danger under the candlestick whispers of Washington.) no, this president is using his powers wisely to a degree.
posted by clavdivs at 10:27 AM on December 14, 2001


All I can say is, thank heavens for threads like this! I'm seeing names I haven't seen in weeks. Clearly, the Dubya haters have been just stewing, and I really think it's great for for them to have a chance to just let it all out, all that nasty bile and venom and conspiracy theory stuff. Therapeutic, I call it. Sort of like Primal Scream therapy.

Why, this thread has all the warmth and wit and erudition of a Free Republic thread, except that the posters are red rather than blue, or blue rather than red, or however that goes.

I hadn't read about how Dubya didn't really win the election in, oh, almost a week now. And the complaint that he speaks in short words and simple declarative sentences instead of the turgid lawyerese that the poster thinks well of, well, I'm so glad he was able to get that off his chest. This is just great, to see all the straw men being dragged out and beaten with dead horses. Knock yourselves out, fellows! Enjoy!
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:35 AM on December 14, 2001


As a Bostonian, I don't get the rationale behind the attempt to hide information on that murder case:

Basically, the FBI helped frame an innocent man in a Mob case (he was recently released after some new revelations in the case). Does the FBI come off looking awful (especially when coupled with all the Whitey Bulger stuff)? Sure. But how does that affect national security?
posted by agaffin at 10:40 AM on December 14, 2001


The references to FDR being an "evil" president are nothing new, as there have rumors (and even books written about) of FDR not only knowing of the attack on Pearl Harbor beforehand, but actually manipulating the Japanese into attacking because he wanted to be in wartime. There are also the accusations of his being aware of the persecution of the jews, and not doing anything about it, actually letting bills slide under the table that would have allowed for jewish refugees to enter the country unharmed...A lot of people call him a supporter of the German movement to exterminate the jewish people. However, we shall probably never know the real truth.
posted by bradth27 at 10:47 AM on December 14, 2001


Slithy_Tove:

You comments contribute nothing to the debate herein, and merely serve to expose your sympathies and prejudices. Next time, keep it to yourself, eh?

This is why I, for one, haven't posted or commented in a while.
posted by mapalm at 10:55 AM on December 14, 2001


the Dubya haters...

You say that like it's a bad thing...
posted by jpoulos at 11:07 AM on December 14, 2001


bradth27: Not to speak for 13, but I believe his main beef with FDR rests in Roosevelt's socialistic tendencies (see the New Deal). I'd go into it, but thirteen knows a lot more about the subject than I do.
posted by zempf at 11:07 AM on December 14, 2001


mapalm, well to be honest, this thread isn't a debate. It's a bunch of people who want to bag on Bush for whatever the reason and refuse to even consider or address the fact that he is not the first, nor will he likely be the last, president to evoke executive priviledge. From the title that was given to the link, to the majority of posts that are filled with nothing but rhetoric having little to do with the content of the link, this thread is simply not a debate. It would have been better titled:

I really, really, really hate Bush and I think he is evil and I'm not going to stop making election cracks and implications of a grand conspiracy until I have annoyed every single human being who frequents this board.

How's that for accuracy in reporting?
posted by billman at 11:20 AM on December 14, 2001


PLONK.
posted by retrofut at 11:51 AM on December 14, 2001


Republicans and Democrats alike excoriated the decision, suggesting Bush was creating a "monarchy" or "imperial" presidency to keep Congress for overseeing the executive branch and guarding against corruption.

You're right, Billman, it's just a lefty MeFi thing.
posted by jpoulos at 11:54 AM on December 14, 2001


I really, really, really love Bush and I think he is wonderful and I'm not going to stop making Clinton cracks and implications of a grand conspiracy against Republicans by a liberal media until I have annoyed every single human being who frequents this board.

Gee, where have I heard that before?
posted by nofundy at 12:32 PM on December 14, 2001


I am glad to hear all these folks come out against withholding information from Congress. I certainly didn't hear all this squealing when Bill C. was doing the same thing.

Where were you living at the time? The moon?
posted by Hildago at 1:17 PM on December 14, 2001


threats, no less

jp: threats? To go back in a time machine and kill FDR? I wouldn't be too worried about it.
posted by rodii at 1:29 PM on December 14, 2001


What, FDR is dead? I didn't even know he was sick!
posted by jpoulos at 1:44 PM on December 14, 2001


All dead horse beaters will be turned over to Brigitte Bardot ...I've wondered why they still withold stuff from the 40s&50s&60s: Then every time something gets out thru the FOI act, we get to see what a back stabbing, lying-ass business politics really is. It was not any different with Clinton, nor would it have been with Gore. The machine is bigger than the people in office. Clinton & Bush did'nt invent this animal, it invented them.
and MAPALM, you have always expressed your sympathies and prejudices here, why should'nt others? For someone who has'nt posted or commented in a while, I'm shocked that your comeback comment is to denigrate a poster and to attempt to stiffle the free exchange of ideas. Welcome back!
posted by Mack Twain at 1:49 PM on December 14, 2001


I consider FDR to be the worst thing that ever happened to America, and thus my world. If I had a time machince and a hammer sampler he would resemble spagetti sauce

Hopefully you've taken '40's-era German, Japanese and Italian, for you would more than likely have to speak them when you got back.
posted by PeteyStock at 2:23 PM on December 14, 2001


I think that the circumstances of the election have ceased to be relevant.

Funny how some assume there is/should be a statute of limitations on a federal crime of the highest order.
posted by rushmc at 2:42 PM on December 14, 2001


You comments contribute nothing to the debate herein, and merely serve to expose your sympathies and prejudices.

That's for sure.
posted by rushmc at 2:43 PM on December 14, 2001


Hey, MackTwain:

Shocked, you are? No worries, I never really took you that seriously anyway, but thanks for the hospitality.
posted by mapalm at 2:55 PM on December 14, 2001


But really - why is the President of the United States invoking executive provilege to censor documents about possible FBI corruption?

I mean, fuck partisan politics - if the FBI framed an innocent man, who else might they have framed? Hmmmm? Why is the Bush administration attempting to cover something up?
posted by solistrato at 3:04 PM on December 14, 2001


"Provilege." Because everyone wants "provilege."
posted by solistrato at 3:04 PM on December 14, 2001


I love these goofy, light-hearted Friday threads!
posted by Shadowkeeper at 3:04 PM on December 14, 2001


jpoulos, my response was to the comment that this was a debate and someone being told that their opinions were not welcome. There is no debate here. I hear very few arguments regarding the issue of executive privilege that are not tainted with anti-Bush-isms that have nothing to do with whether what he did is right or wrong. The fact that the election results have even been entered into this discussion shows that the purpose of the post had nothing to do with debate of executive privilege and had everything to do with starting a forum to post anti-Bush messages. And before you even get started on that, I didn't vote for Bush. I have as many reservations about the guy as anybody else but the fact of the matter is, to still be beating the same anti-Bush messages over and over and over and over again is tiresome. I'm not accusing you of this but trying to explain why some of the anti-Bush threads are met with anti-anti-Bush posting. Note, I didn't say pro-Bush, I said anti-anti-Bush which is to imply that while some may actually disagree with Bush, the constant Bush-bashing, to me anyway, is the battle cry of those with nothing intelligent to say.

I think the president should have the power of executive privilege. In this particular case, I think Bush is using it inappropriately. See, that would be the basis for a debate. Statements like Bush is trying to become a monarch! Bush is not the legally elected president! Bush and his family are part of a secret society bent on controlling the world!, those don't quite meet the definition of intelligent debate.
posted by billman at 3:25 PM on December 14, 2001


mapalm, as usual, you cannot back up your silly mouth with anything but personal attacks. To not be taken seriously by a flaming troll such as you is a high compliment. Your acidic sarcasm is a thin veneer for your inability to present a reasonable thesis. Have a nice day.
posted by Mack Twain at 3:50 PM on December 14, 2001


Without providing links, or taking the time to really do this I believe FDR was a terrible president and man in that he exceeded his presidential power constantly, was willingly deceitful, actively worked to bring America into a war it had no interest in fighting resulting in the deaths of many Americans, and created a doomed ponzie scheme from which there is no escape. His shadow is long, much tyranny followed him, and polio never found a better home.

Hopefully you've taken '40's-era German, Japanese and Italian, for you would more than likely have to speak them when you got back.

That doesn't seem very likely. There would have been no blockade of Japan, which would have removed the reason for Pearl Harbor, which would have kept the U.S. out of the war. The Nazi's never would have had peace in Europe, and would have fallen long before they would have had the power to do anything so remarkably foolish as to attack mainland America. You can think what you like of course.
posted by thirteen at 4:29 PM on December 14, 2001


That said,
Watashi no uchi ni ikimasu.
posted by thirteen at 4:31 PM on December 14, 2001


UncleFes: Perhaps if Congress were less blabby, Bush would be more willing to turn over what look like interoffice memos and personal notes.

Is blabbiness a factor now? I know my rep talks alot but...

If the past has shown that executive privilege could very well mean covering illegal activities. Congress has *gasp* gotten smarter and probably doesn't want another Clinton-like trial. Giving up the documents would end any possible impeachment or congressional grudge unless of course they prove guilt in a crime.

As someone already wrote, an innocent person has already been illegally imprisoned because of over-zealous law enforcement. Congress has the obligation to step to the plate when the executive branch fails in its duties.

Unfortunately a country run by approval ratings and voting joes who equate Bush with Jesus will end up with an impotent congress too afraid to anger their constituents by challenging Mr. Popularity. Its opportunism of the highest order and its scary
posted by skallas at 4:57 PM on December 14, 2001


The Washington Post's story about this is a little more balanced.

I don't particularly have an opinion about this case but it seems possible for reasonable people to disagree about it. For one thing, everyone seems to agree that they're trying to "rehabilitate" the idea of executive privilege, which had fallen into total disrepute during the Clinton years.

Also, given that the memos in question deal without confidential advice regarding prosecutorial decisions ... is it possible they're building a firewall around the post-9/11 detentions? I guess if they could claim that, they would.

Anyway, the Republic still seems secure. But thanks for the eternal vigilance, Guardian.
posted by coelecanth at 5:31 PM on December 14, 2001


I think the president should have the power of executive privilege.

Why?
posted by rushmc at 5:40 PM on December 14, 2001


There is no debate here

And more's the pity. Your nation is falling apart around you, and half the people in this discussion are closing their eyes and swinging wildly, picking fights with one another. It's sad, a little, but predictable. I used to expect better out of this community.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:13 PM on December 14, 2001


coelecanth: Everyone thinks Bush is restoring the notion of executive privilege? I don't think so. From your WaPo link:

But it drew approval from some GOP legal experts who lauded Bush's attempt to restore early in his tenure the notion of executive privilege, badly eroded during the Clinton administration.
posted by raysmj at 10:30 PM on December 14, 2001


rushmc,

The reason I think that the president should have the power of executive privilege has to do with the fact that Congress has some pretty broad powers when it comes to conducting investigations. They can conduct an investigation into anything they choose and they do not need give reason. This overly-broad power, IMHO, is countered with the executive branch's right to withold information. Now, many of those who have evoked executive privilege have done so for the sole purpose of saving their own asses but that does not mean that it hasn't been used when it's simply none of Congress' damn business. Like I said, I think Bush is wrong on this one but that doesn't make the power to do so wrong, again, IMHO.
posted by billman at 10:52 PM on December 14, 2001


stavrosthewonderchicken, I couldn't agree more. I think one of the great mistakes of creating a two party system is that it puts people into pro and con camps. You're either for it or against it without any concern as to whether or not "it" is even the right question to be asking. Pretty soon, you're so far in the for or against it camp that the issues take on little meaning. The issues simply become a means to an end.
posted by billman at 11:00 PM on December 14, 2001


Congress has some pretty broad powers when it comes to conducting investigations

And it is bad to have those elected to represent our interests empowered to investigate suspected wrongdoing why?

the executive branch's right to withold information

What right? Do they have such a right? Why should they? Don't they work for us?

it's simply none of Congress' damn business

And what would be an example of this?

I'm trying to understand your argument here, but you'll have to go a bit further to justify a culture of secrecy, repression of fact, ass-covering, and abuse of power in government such as curbing the people's (through Congress) rights to information. It's all about an "informed populace," seems to me. Please explain.
posted by rushmc at 8:18 AM on December 15, 2001


raysmj: I said everyone seemed to think Bush was trying to rehabilitate executive privilege. I was referring the the apparently contrasting views of di Genova (a Republican) and Rozell (who dissents but whose party affiliation is unknown).

The administration's actions aren't totally arbitrary, inexplicable and without context. And they aren't using the privilege to, for example, prevent the public from knowing which of POTUS's employees are fellating him.

There's room for debate here about whether he's doing the right thing. And both branches are rightfully jealous of their prerogatives. The system is supposed to work this way.

rushmc: It's just flat-out unrealistic to expect anyone to do business with the constant threat of a Congressional investigation hanging over them. If Congress had the power to hassle every single civil servant over every single decision that got made every day, then nobody would ever be a civil servant. Or, more likely, they'd find ways to operate in back-channel, informal ways that would be truly opaque to investigation when genuine wrongdoing occurred.

Maybe the administration shouldn't get executive privilege in this case, but if they do open up the files then at least there will be a chance they contain the truth, because civil servants operating in good faith would have been more willing to be candid in their documenation -- and decent bureacracies can't flourish without accurate documenation.

And you can bet that no legislator would be willing to wear a microphone 24/7.
posted by coelecanth at 1:11 PM on December 15, 2001


Yeah, I second rushmc's question to billman. Sure, I suppose I can accept that sometimes things may need to be under wraps for a short period of time, but I also believe they always should come out in the end (unlike Bush and his stance on FOIA, for example- one more reason I think Bush may be a sub-clinical sociopath; I'm in the middle of reading Dr. Robert Hare's "Without Conscience", and the Prez is fitting a lot of symptoms.).

However, I also see a case made that while the public- and thus the media- shouldn't necessarily know about, say, secret-military-operations-in-Afghanistan while they're happening, I can't see why a) Congress and/or Congressional subcommittees shouldn't be informed, and b) why anything that's not related to current operations (such as the FBI issues, or everything from 5 years ago) should be withheld from the public, much less Congress. You- and Bush- have failed to make your case as to why executive privilege is needed in this instance or at all. "Balance" isn't an answer, nor is coelecanth's slippery slope argument that without executive privilege Congress would become a body of constant and nitpicky investigations.
posted by hincandenza at 1:19 PM on December 15, 2001


hincandenza & rushmc: Like I said, Congress has the power to investigate anything and without giving reason. Literally, Congress could hold an investigation on why the president buys Cheerios vs. Lucky Charms and the president would have to submit to the investigation unless there was the power of executive privilege. Granted, hopefully, common sense would prevail but with a Congress with such broad investigative powers, every decision would be made based on whether one could defend themselves in an investigation from Congress. Now, if that were ammended so Congress could only investigate matters relating to suspected criminal activities and other matters in the interest of the public (i.e. waste of taxpayer resources, failure to meet certain targets, etc.) then I don't think the president needs executive privilege. However, as long as the president can be called before Congress and be compelled to give testimony on whatever whim happens to strike Congress, the president should have the right to say "It's none of your damn business" unless you can show cause why it is. Because, while "balance" has been called not a good reason, you forget the third branch of the government, the judicial which can force the president to turn over documents or give testimony. That's what is supposed to keep everybody in check. Congress usually won't demand anything that they don't think the Supreme Court won't grant them and the president usually won't evoke executive privilege if he thinks the Supreme Court would overturn. Of course, the more infamous cases in history are always the ones that stick out (ala Nixon) but for the most part it works because all parties are kept in check.

And just to make this clear, one more time, I think Bush overstepped his authority on this one. Most of what he intends to withold would most likely be granted to Congress by the judicial.
posted by billman at 3:48 PM on December 15, 2001


Congress has the power to investigate anything and without giving reason. Literally, Congress could hold an investigation on why the president buys Cheerios vs. Lucky Charms and the president would have to submit to the investigation unless there was the power of executive privilege.

It seems to me like our current means of redressing Congressional abuses of the Lucky Charms sort--voting members out of office--is adequate, if used vigorously. Call me crazy, but I'd rather trust 100 people than 1, and 300 million people than 100.
posted by rushmc at 6:04 PM on December 18, 2001


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