The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, March 31, 2006

Censure hearings are go!

C-Span is covering the Judiciary Committe hearings live today, and everyone commenting on the story observes that there's no chance of censure happening even if a resolution hits the Senate floor.

But I still think it's good that this is happening. Concerned Democrats are afraid that Feingold's attack on the president's illegal wiretapping (and possibly search and seizure) will cause a backlash. I disagree-- Feingold is doing what the situation demands in asserting the system of checks and balances, and it isn't the sort of thing that American citizens are going to beat up on Democrats for.

Salon mentions this exchange, which indicates the GOP-approved defense of wiretapping. And it isn't a defense at all.

Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold opened the hearing by claiming that the president's legal theory justifying the wiretaps could lead to an ever-greater executive power grab. "Under this theory, we no longer have a constitutional system consisting of three coequal branches of government," he said. "We have a monarchy."

A few minutes later, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch shot back: "Quit trying to score political points."

White House counsel to Richard Nixon, John Dean, testified that this is worse than Watergate.

John Dean, the White House counsel to President Nixon who went to jail for his Watergate crimes, testified before a Senate committee today that President Bush should be censured for approving domestic spying by the National Security Agency.

"No president that I can find in the history of our country has adapted a policy of expanding presidential power for the purpose of expanding presidential power," he said. "To me this is not really …a partisan question. I think it's a question of institutional pride of this body, of the Congress."

The real victory here will be raising public awareness of Bush's illegal activities and the Republicans' role as little more than a rubber stamp for the White House.