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Bipartisan group of House Representatives takes Bush to task:
April 13, 2002 6:23 AM   Subscribe

Bipartisan group of House Representatives takes Bush to task: "Aiming bipartisan fire at what it described as the Bush administration's alarming penchant for secrecy, a group of House Republicans and Democrats yesterday introduced legislation to cancel President Bush's executive order restricting the release of presidential records".
posted by jack-o (27 comments total)

 
"Bipartisan group of House Representatives"

20 Democrats and 2 Republicans is barely bipartisan. If the shoe were on the other foot, it would be described as a right-wing led committee.
posted by Oxydude at 6:47 AM on April 13, 2002


But I believe the article said that two more Republicans are signing up. Is there anyone that believes restricting the release of presidential papers is good thing?
posted by xammerboy at 7:26 AM on April 13, 2002


Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.), the chief sponsor of the measure... -- would be a little silly to call it "left-wing led" with a republican as chief sponser, eh, oxydyde? "Republican led, but currently 90% democrat group" would be more accurate, but maybe we can talk about the actual concept rather than semantics?

I'm glad to see it, it definitely seems like a sign we're out of the "must support our president no matter what" phase. Bush restricting the release of presidental papers was, to my mind, an abuse of his popular support.

As far as I understand it, the rationale provided was basically that the government should be able to operate in secrecy, even when matter had no bearing on national security. My guess is they actually are trying to avoid opening old wounds in the press (Iran Contra, etc).
posted by malphigian at 7:41 AM on April 13, 2002


Well, Bush's whole thing in the campaign was about getting bipartisanship happening. Good work!
posted by solistrato at 8:51 AM on April 13, 2002


I'm glad to see it, it definitely seems like a sign we're out of the "must support our president no matter what" phase. Bush restricting the release of presidental papers was, to my mind, an abuse of his popular support.

malphigian, why do you hate America so much?
posted by dogmatic at 9:28 AM on April 13, 2002


Jeez, dogmatic, you had me going there for a second...
posted by y2karl at 9:55 AM on April 13, 2002


Let's ask him about his love life.
posted by Settle at 11:28 AM on April 13, 2002


As far as I understand it, the rationale provided was basically that the government should be able to operate in secrecy, even when matter had no bearing on national security. My guess is they actually are trying to avoid opening old wounds in the press (Iran Contra, etc).

Yes, and I just can't wait to see how eager Clinton will be to release his full records ... especially if Hilary winds up staying in office. Wonder how eager Bill and Hilary will be to "open old wounds in the press" ... given their love of keeping the public fully informed. Of course, I'm sure the more damaging Clinton records could just get mysteriously "lost" again for a decade or so until Hilary was out of office.
posted by MidasMulligan at 11:39 AM on April 13, 2002


Oh Lord. I love the fact that every flaw in George W. somehow ends up being attributable to Bill Clinton.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 11:59 AM on April 13, 2002


Amen to that, grrarrgh00. If Clinton didn't exist, the right would have to invent him. Give it up, already...
posted by Rastafari at 12:36 PM on April 13, 2002


Oh Lord. I love the fact that every flaw in George W. somehow ends up being attributable to Bill Clinton.

Just seeking the slightest bit of balance in the continual flood of Bush bashing. And pointing out that much of what was excused and defended by left-leaning folks during the Clinton years now seems to suddenly be wrong when a Republican does it.

Clinton seriously lowered the bar for what is considered acceptable Presidential behavior, and while Bush bashers just want to happily get on with bashing Bush - and pretend Clinton never existed - the fact is that virtually anything I've seen the Bush administration taken to task for (including the issue du jour) on this blog pales in comparison to the shenanigans of the Clinton folks. They re-wrote the rules ... difficult to now complain when a Republican plays by them. Or to want to get away with just avoiding the thought that he ever existed.
posted by MidasMulligan at 12:49 PM on April 13, 2002


Give it up, already...

OK. Just as soon as you're ready to give up Bush bashing. If what you're really saying here by "Give it up, already..." is that you want a completely one-sided blog, where you can blast away at even the minor nuances of Bush decisions, exploring every possible moral or constitutional flaw, but keep the moral and constitutional nightmare of the Clinton years strictly off limits ... well, er, "give it up already" ...
posted by MidasMulligan at 12:55 PM on April 13, 2002


Bush Bashing: There are very few of us who love America.
posted by crasspastor at 1:00 PM on April 13, 2002


Bush Bashing: There are very few of us who love America.

While I realize Tom Tomorrow is apparently considered a profound thinker here, quoting his cynacism is merely another means of avoiding the destructive effects Clinton had on the Presidency.
posted by MidasMulligan at 1:41 PM on April 13, 2002


Oh Lord. I love the fact that every flaw in George W. somehow ends up being attributable to Bill Clinton.

Perhaps if every alleged "flaw" in George W. (as decided only by MeFites) didn't end up as a Metafilter thread, you wouldn't have to deal with that issue so often, grrarrgh00.
posted by aaron at 2:19 PM on April 13, 2002


This is important. Our politicians are elected officials and must be accountable to the electorate. Any politician who decides secrecy is more important than accountability especially after his career is over is simply hiding something. Kissinger, Reagen, Guiliani and Clinton, by extension, were or are all hiding stuff from us. (The article doesn’t mention the lawsuit brought against the Bush Admin to get the Reagen papers released. There are still many more than the 150 under lock and key.) They’ve broken the simplest of deals all politicians must abide by: tell the voters what the hell you’re doing.

This is an important measure for anyone who thinks they have a right to know what their tax money is being spent on. This is a move against career politicians who believe their noblesse oblige us to give them access to the halls of power and simple obiedence once they attain it. Pull down the curtains hiding the symbols of Justice! Open the doors to the halls of power! Shake your money maker!

Thank you, thank you.

I’ve met Dan Perkins. He’s a curmudgeon, but very nice. Midas’ last statement seems to imply that Perkins is a Clinton/Gore supporter. Anyone who read This Modern Life a few years ago might’ve mistaken him for a right-wingnut, as I did, since he criticized Bubba so often and loquaciously. I agree with Midas that Clinton had a deleterious effect on the Presidency, but probably for very different reasons. What’s more I see Clinton more as simply picking up the baton of fraud and abuse Nixon started, Reagen perfected and Bush I fumbled.

I'm all in favor of getting all the dirty little secrets of these administrations out in the open.

Ill at ease in the tyranny, ill at ease in the republic
in the one I longed for freedom, in the other for the end of corruption
...
I learned at last to say: this is my home,
here, beforet he glowing coal of ocean sunsets,...
in a great republic, moderately corrupt.
— Milosz
posted by raaka at 2:37 PM on April 13, 2002



posted by y2karl at 2:46 PM on April 13, 2002


ps. hat tip to Settle on source.
posted by y2karl at 2:48 PM on April 13, 2002


Bullshit, Midas. While Bush was busily trying to bury the records of his energy cabal, he was also releasing "extraordinarily sensitive" Clinton-Gore documents by the crateload, including details of the presidential pardons and conversations between Clinton and Ehud Barak. Clinton was given the opportunity to claim executive privilege on these documents, and chose to waive that right. The Clinton administration declassified more documents in five years than were made available in the previous fifteen. The lawyers for the Clinton Library have explicitly criticised Bush's executive order on presidential records. For all Clinton's flaws, he didn't turn the White House into a star chamber, so there's no point in pretending that Bush's cult of secrecy is laudable. But don't let that stop your irrational hatred.
posted by riviera at 3:03 PM on April 13, 2002


What's that sense yer talkin', riviera? I warn you, it won't be tolerated here....
posted by rushmc at 4:13 PM on April 13, 2002


Yes, see those ripples in that glass of water--as if!--by your monitor? Those are the footsteps of Tyrannosaurus Americanus Blowhardicus Rex...
posted by y2karl at 4:27 PM on April 13, 2002


Clinton seriously lowered the bar for what is considered acceptable Presidential behavior... the fact is that virtually anything I've seen the Bush administration taken to task for... pales in comparison to the shenanigans of the Clinton folks

So, you're saying it is unfair to criticize a president until s/he stoops below the bar set by Clinton? I feel fairly confident that you didn't mean to say that. But, that is, in fact, what you said. Transparency in government is as important as transparency in the marketplace, I don't give a damn what party controls the executive branch. The link (aka the subject at hand) has nothing to do with Bush bashing, but the continuing struggle between the legislative and executive branches. That issue is, in fact, a very serious issue and the fact that the man who called Clinton a "scumbag" and was one of the leading anti-Clinton muckrackers since the beginning of the Clinton adminstration is one of the lead supporters of this bill pretty much pushes this beyond the realm of "Bush bashing". Or are you saying that Dan Burton is now a Bush Basher?

OK, let's try to get back on topic here:

Bush's order, issued last November, allows a former or sitting president -- and in some cases the family of a dead president -- to block the release of records requested under the law by invoking "constitutionally based privileges."... the order also permits a former or incumbent president to frustrate requests for old records "simply by withholding approval for their release, without even needing to claim executive privilege."

aaron and MidasMulligan: do you think that this is ok? (and just forget who the hell occupies the oval office for a friggin minute, will ya?)
posted by dchase at 5:17 PM on April 13, 2002


Please don't anybody stop the Bush or the Clinton bashing.

This executive order seems a part of Team Bush's plan to strengthen the executive branch, same as with the Enron papers and Ashcroft's vigorous Just. Dept. It's possible there's some damning information in the documents being withheld, or it might all be a distraction. Bush has a lot invested personally in the legacies of Reagan and his father, obviously.
posted by Ty Webb at 7:01 PM on April 13, 2002


(and just forget who the hell occupies the oval office for a friggin minute, will ya?)

I wouldn't hold your breath, dchase. You, however, are dead on. My only (slight) quibble would be to change this one line:

The link (aka the subject at hand) has nothing to do with Bush bashing, but the continuing struggle between the legislative and executive branches.

Certainly that is one important tension; however, I would suggest that the core issue is in fact the struggle between the American people and it's government's wild swing toward totalitarianism. The Congress (occasionally, at its best) merely acts on behalf of the people in questioning and trying to limit the executive branch.
posted by rushmc at 7:18 PM on April 13, 2002


I'm not exactly convinced that saying "Clinton was worse" is really an excuse. At least one of the implicit claims of the Bush campaign was that it would restore integrity to the White House. Congress is perhaps uncomfortable with the fact that people previously convicted of lying to Congress while under oath such as Elliot Abrams during the Reagan administration have now been given key jobs in shaping U.S. domestic and foreign policy. If the best that conservatives can offer is that Bush is simply following the pattern of corruption started by Clinton, that is really not a sterling endorsement for Bush. In fact, it seems to be an implicit admission that what is going on is the right wing corruption that treats Congress as an obstacle to avoid rather than a branch of our government.

In addition, one could make the case that conservative lies are quite a bit more damaging than lying about one's sex life, or lying about past investment deals that went sour. After all, the Reagan administration lied about the continued use of government property in order to fund terrorist activities in Central America. The energy meetings of this administration raise the possibility that President Bush is selling quite a bit more than nights in the Lincoln bedroom in exchange for election dollars. But then again, corruption is corruption. Defending Bush by simply saying that Clinton was worse is an admission that our two-party system does little more than manage the peaceful transition from one corrupt administration to another corrupt administration.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:53 PM on April 13, 2002


Good one Y2. Always love personal attacks. Love them even more when they come in the form of cartoons ... which demonstrate fairly clearly the level of intellectual development that has been achieved by the attacker.
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:15 AM on April 14, 2002


aaron and MidasMulligan: do you think that this is ok?

Yes, within reason. And as the article clearly states, anyone who thinks it's not reasonable on a given set of documents is free to take the matter up with the courts, which will make the final call.

The simple fact is that Congress has been steadily attempting to erode the power of the presidency for several decades now; I'm quite happy to see someone try to balance things out again.

(and just forget who the hell occupies the oval office for a friggin minute, will ya?)

That would be a lot easier if the tone of the posts were not as they are.
posted by aaron at 11:56 AM on April 14, 2002


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