Politicians of all stripes, regardless of party or ideological affiliation, have demonstrated a disturbingly proprietary attitude toward the Constitution. Our elected officials in both the legislative and executive branches seem to think that they and they alone are the sole stewards of said document and that they, because they and not us, are sworn to honor it, can parcel out the civil liberties like tiny food pellets into an endless rat maze.
Far from it. What the arch and clueless demagogues in Congress have clearly forgotten is that We the People of the United States of America, are, too, stewards of the Constitution and exercise that stewardship every election day. We elect, according to pre-Diebold political theory, those officials whom we feel and think would be best-suited to directly uphold and protect the founding document of our republic.
Or, as it says in the heavily-referenced Article One, section two of said Constitution,
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
However,. what we've seen in two successive Congresses (the 109th and 110th) has amply demonstrated this perplexing and alarming paradigm shift in legislative thinking.
Far from safeguarding the Constitution and Bill of Rights, which is identical to vouchsafing our civil liberties, we're instead given back with virtually every bill passed copies of the Constitution with so many big bites ripped out of it that it might as well read, "this Constitution for the United States of America... shall... be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. "
Beginning with a back door version of the virtually unchallenged
USA PATRIOT Act, a massive knot of draconian laws that in spirit is absolutely indistinguishable in spirit from Hitler's Enabling Act, and continuing through the Consumer Protection Act of 2005
, the condemnation of Moveon.org
, Jane Harmon's HR 1955
, plus stealth legislation that guarantees dictatorial powers to the one man on earth the least competent to wield them, it would be farcical to think that we have as many or more constitutional protections than we did prior to 2001.
We've been screaming our heads off over the endless piracies, rapes, pillages, subversions, perversions and scandals of the criminal enterprise aka the Cheney/Bush administration. But the screamingly obvious fact is most of those evils wouldn't have been possible without the incessant enabling acts of the wet-legged invertebrates of the Vichy Democratic party.
And one would think, were the old constitutional rules still applicable and not left to twist in the winds of political change in this Twilight Zone
version of democracy, that there would be enough of a preponderance of evidence against the Cheney/Bush administration to make articles of impeachment not only timely but actionable.
It's not as if we're talking about artful deception. Republicans and their neocon lunatic fringe don't always bother to cover their tracks or to do so in grossly obvious ways
because 1) they think the rules don't don't apply to them and use the so-called War on Terror as a fig leaf to commit their high crimes and misdemeanors. And 2) they know they can count on interference being run for them by a Democrat party that had supplanted the actual Democratic party like dowdily-dressed pod people.
The Overtonian window has shifted to the right of where our democracy used to be that the Speaker of the House, under the laughable excuse that it's for the common good, holds the Constitution in contempt by 1) Not honoring Article 1, section 2 and 2) showing active disdain for the constitutional rules of succession.
In short, this is what we're hearing from Speaker of Everything But Impeachment Pelosi:
"How unusual is it that both a sitting president and
vice president be considered for impeachment by a tiny handful of Democrats? Why, it's so unprecedented, that if I were to pursue that avenue (especially Pennsylvania Avenue), it would look opportunistic. So better to let the guilty off scot-free than to look partisan.
"So, instead of enforcing the rule of law, we'll just busy ourselves making up new laws that will also look opportunistic and partisan should we try to enforce them, if the minority GOP sees it that way.
"Ergo, you peasants ought to be satisfied that we're at least giving you the appearance of looking busy. Vote for me in November!"
And Pelosi was actually stunned when she ran into one protest after another when she left the Ivory Tower of the Capitol Building long enough to go on her book signing tour
. No doubt, news that Congress also has an approval rating of 9%
would also stun her.
"Know Your Power", indeed. More like "Know Your Place."The Importance of Not Being Earnest
And it can't be said that the Democrats' perpetual program of appeasement of the Republicans (a payoff that always seems to be beyond the horizon) is done so in the interests of party supremacy. If there's another way in which the Democrats fail as miserably as they do in staying on message and closing ranks, it's their self-destructive refusal to take the ruthless steps renowned of Republicans to ensure their party's supremacy.
To illustrate what I mean by this, we need look no further back than 2005 when Paul Hackett was running for Congress out of OH-2.
Running in what for a quarter of a century had been a solidly red district, Hackett sent a wakeup call to both parties when he gave Jean Schmidt a run for her dirty money by not only bringing out OH-2's democratic voters but even amassing a national following and a potent netroots support network.
The DNC, on the other hand, considered Hackett's candidacy dead in the water and were all too happy to concede that seat to a corrupt Republican in the most corrupt Republican state party in modern times, one still under investigation for corruption.
Then the results came pouring in from Daily Kos.
Only then when the sons and daughters of Dr. "50 State Strategy" Dean saw what Hackett was accomplishing did they step in and add to the $400,000 raised on the internet.
True to form, the Democrats were a day late and several hundreds of thousands of dollars short.
The following winter, Hackett set his sights on the higher chamber and ran for the Senate out of Ohio, challenging Republican incumbent Mike DeWine. The buzz was starting again and early polls were saying he had a fighting chance against the weakened DeWine.
As with 2005, Hackett was saying all the right things with the credibility of a battle-tested officer who'd served in Iraq and the money began pouring in.
But then a funny thing happened on the way to the forum
Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, so-called Democratic leaders, contacted Hackett barely after he'd announced his candidacy. They even contacted Hackett's donors and told them to stop contributing to the Hackett campaign. Here's how the conversation went (my bullshit filter is clogged but nonetheless still on):
"Paul, we admire you and all, so don't get us wrong. You're handsome, dynamic, you've acquired a national following because you take the right positions that we, too, would love to take. And Lord knows you can get the parishioners to kick in to the collection plate until it hurts.
"And, while you may be a Democrat, you're... not our
kind of Democrat. We have someone else in mind, a well-oiled Beltway insider. You may've heard of him. His name's Sherrod Brown and he's already in Congress. He's our man.
"So, while we admire you for bringing out the vote and helping turn a red district bluer, let's just say that even if you win the Democratic primary, don't count on our support. So go back to shaking sand out of your boxer shorts in Baghdad, OK, sport? Thanks and have a nice war that we fully intend to continue funding forever."
(I know what the Great and Powerful Kos
said about Hackett's betrayal, that it didn't exist, but the problem with that is in order to believe Kos's line of naive bullshit one first has to call Paul Hackett a liar.)
So Hackett did the graceful thing and stepped aside for the good of the Democrat party infiltrated by aforementioned pod people. In fact, Hackett was so graceful about it that he walked away from politics entirely. Brown won the election.
And what, over the last two years, has Brown done for you, my darling liberals?
A fuck of a lot less than Hackett likely would've done, if avoiding stepping on well-shod toes doesn't count.
And while we're still in Ohio, let's talk about Zack Space. It could be that Space, recently elected to OH-16 when former incumbent Bob Ney crash-landed in flames like a pudgier Icarus into prison then a halfway house, doesn't belong in Congress. But Space was asked something of the Democratic leadership once he got in: He was expected to become a cash-cow by spending valuable time at fundraisers and given a goal to achieve
in his abbreviated term: $600,000.
To anyone who'd been acquainted with politics more than a day can tell you, s/he who does not meet their fundraising goal cannot and will not count on the help of their party. No one will ever admit that and you won't even see it in print. That doesn't mean it's not an unspoken reality.
The Republicans? Well, we all know about the unctious relationship between Karl Rove and Mark Foley (R-AIM) and how Rove kept his cash cow
in for as long as he could under threat of sabotaging Foley's lobbying career.
The Democrats? They'll damn you with faint praise and/or let you twist in the wind simply for not meeting your fundraising goals even if you represent a largely hostile district, thereby letting any unqualified Republican douchebag sleaze their way into Congress (see Schmidt, Jean).
In summation, while I would never advocate actions that would aid and abet the GOP (like some I can mention and have), it's obvious that we need to do some weeding out of certain incumbents, starting with the pod people at the top of the Democrat party's food chain so we can get back to having the kind of Democratic party that our parents championed. So think about that before you touch that screen or pull that lever on election day. It's time to let them know that the Constitution belongs to a lot more than just 535 self-absorbed tycoons.