Saturday, March 03, 2007

Great Expectations with Dick Cheney

The recent conservative confab has gotten plenty of ink, mainly because of the hateful comments of... you know what? I don't even want to give her the decency of acknowledgement. Let me rather note something that Vice President Cheney had to say which has become painfully lodged in my craw.
“I sincerely hope the discussion this time will be about winning in Iraq, not about posturing on Capitol Hill. Anyone can say they support the troops, and we should take them at their word. But the proof will come when it’s time to provide the money and the support...

We expect the House and the Senate to meet those needs on time and in full.”
Let me check my constitutional primer on the question of the role of the executive branch, and the role of Congress in passing legislation... let's see here, 'no person shall be a Representative'. That's not it. 'The Vice President shall be the President of the Senate'... Close... but no. 'The times places and manner of holding elections', nope. Oh, here's what I'm looking for! Right here in article 1, section 7.
All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
That is very odd. Evidently there is not any provision for the executive branch demanding, expecting, or in any other way having authority over what congress legislates. (Check out Article 2 of the constitution which details the role of the executive to confirm this) The executive branch may submit proposals, and veto legislation the President does not agree with. So the way I read it, Cheney's 'expectation' would be similar to having Speaker Pelosi send a law over for the Presidents consideration, with a demand that he sign it! I can not imagine the unitary executive crowd taking that quietly. But somehow it is ok for the Vice President to "expect" certain legislation from Congress.

Guess what Mr. Cheney. The American people have certain expectations from our political leadership as well. Last I checked... America was still a constitutional Republic, which ought to mean the expectations of the people carry a little weight. So we the people expect our leaders to listen to us, and we have made our opinions on this military blunder into Iraq known very clearly. We also expect them to make sound decisions, based upon a realistic view of facts. We expect honesty. We expect the respect of our leaders, not the contempt displayed daily by administration spokes toadies such as Tony Snow and Dick Cheney. We expect leadership to be lawful, and to respect the constitution. We expect our government to be able to rescue it's citizens in a timely manner when their cities are destroyed by natural or other disasters.

This administration has failed our nation in all the above expectations, and many others besides.

Let me note that I actually do "expect" Congress will knuckle under and continue funding the Iraq war. Not expect, in the same way that Cheney meant it (to consider bound in duty or obligated). Expect as in I'm convinced it will happen (to look forward). The leadership of Congress has shown very little resolve to deal with the Iraq issue in any way that exposes them to political risk. I am convinced they have decided that Bush owns Iraq, and as long as that is the case they are ok with keeping it that way.

What ever end game we see in Iraq is going to be ugly. Democratic Congressional leadership want that ugly end to be Bush's fault entirely. They think if they cut off the funding, they will own the catastrophe that follows. Frankly, to a small extent, they are probably correct. Yet I believe that the mistaken policies that have led us to this point will correctly be seen, by history and the nation, as the reasons for what follow.

The overall point of this is that there is a right way, and a wrong way forward. Bush's leadership has resulted in wrong headed policy at nearly every turn. Allowing him to continue in his folly is not good for the nation. Stopping him may have political risk, but it is also the right thing to do. And that is what the American people ought to expect.

The thing the Democrats don't seem to realize, or acknowledge is, they're going to own the war, no matter what or when. I say, "Own it now, and put and end to it". It may cost the Neo-cons some of those oil wells they've been lusting over, but just think of the human lives saved, both American and Iraqi.

Any truly moral person knows in their heart that it's the right thing to do.
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