Monday, August 06, 2007

A Prescient Thought to Ponder, Especially for Republicans

By Frank J. Ranelli


A Bush proclivity for secrecy, a reputation for arrogance and power grabs, and openly flouting the rule of law has one conservative Republican asking, “Do we candidly desire reaping what we have sown over the past six-plus years?”

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A short article entitled, More Bush-Congress court fights likely, is an interesting and contemplative piece highlighting the aggressiveness and smugness – including outright hubris – of the Bush Administration’s transgression of, and secretive standards by, a belligerent and confrontational President, that far exceeds Nixon’s pugnacious approach, has operated under since January 20, 2001.


Contained within this brief but telling essay, by Associated Press writer Charles Babington, is a keen and perceptive quote from Bruce Fein, the former associate deputy attorney general throughout the Reagan administration.


"The Bush administration is close to reducing Congress to wallpaper, when it comes to oversight, if Congress does not respond" more forcefully, he said. Republicans, he added, may come to regret the precedents that Bush is asserting. "I tell my Republican friends that Hillary Clinton will be the president some day," Fein said. "They just don't get it."


Fein, a strong conservative and constitutional lawyer, also recently spoke to Bill Moyers on PBS about Bush’s power grabs and over-reaching, calling for his (Bush’s) impeachment, critically reminded Moyers and us all why the Founders fittingly feared an unchecked executive by stating, “Men are not angels. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition to avert abuses or tyranny. The Constitution embraced a separation of powers to keep the legislative, executive, and judicial branches in equilibrium.” That “equilibrium”, or symmetry and balance, has been vilely attacked and to a great extent neutralized under the Bush Administration. Abuse indeed, has been bountiful.


Of course, Fein is reminding the Republicans, and their supporters, of the old axiom that quips, “Be careful of what you wish for; for someday you may actual receive it”. Moreover, by abdicating and bequeathing many of Congress’ co-equal capacities under the Constitution to Bush, that this continued genuflecting to an egocentric, deeply unpopular President may likely be returned in kind, in the very near future. And the Republicans may find the fruits of their disgracefully obsequious labor to be a very fetid orchard crop of ill-advised deference once an exchange of power ensues.


Power only has as much clout and muscle, by that which it is given by those who bow or consent to it. In addition, power, no matter how seemingly omniscient and enduring is only immortal for an exceedingly limited time. No matter how consolidated, power habitually and frequently changes hands. When it does, the invertebrates that acquiesced and yielded to a flawed fallacy of permanent supremacy – and helped bring it about – always tend to have a rude and unpleasant revelation.


Recipients of power through overturn then tend to use the very monopoly of authority that the previous preponderance of blind ambition errantly and extemporaneously built, by relegating the erstwhile primacy to the minority, and therefore the retributive target of, the new pre-eminence. History is replete with examples of terrible and devastating consequences of such precarious power plays and shifts for omnipotence rule.


What Bruce Fein is suggesting, in fact pleading for, is for Congress to act as a whole and synchronous body of our Government, in the interest of our Nation, and not continue this sycophantic behavior to a supercilious Executive bent on an imperial presidency. To prolong doing so begets the very question Fein posited in his very quote above for all Republicans (and perhaps the rest of us) to deliberate, “Do you genuinely desire the near unmitigated and proto-despotic powers Bush has defacto claimed in the hands of President Hillary Clinton?”

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