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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Worse than Watergate

I was listening to the Lionel show on Air America Radio this morning, and, if I heard him right, he was saying that Watergate was a far worse crisis than the current one. I just don't see how anyone can see it that way. Yes, the President and the Attorney General were involved in a break-in, robbery, and cover up. That's pretty bad. Yes, it came down to a constitutional crisis. Yes, Nixon considered ignoring the Supreme Court but concluded the military wouldn't support him.

But, the Supreme Court held true to the constitution. The Republicans in Congress finally saw the light and decided to back the constitution instead of the president. And, the system of government created by the founders survived more or less intact.

In the current crisis, I see a real likelihood that our system of government will not survive. The current constitutional crisis is at least as bad, if not worse, than that in the Nixon years. The president is openly scornful of Congress and of any role Congress might play in governing the nation. Now, with everyone about to be found in contempt of Congress and with the president saying the government will not enforce a contempt citation, the matter may go before the courts. My guess is that the courts will refuse to intervene, saying this is a matter between the two other branches of government that they will have to sort out on their own. Congress may try to use it's inherent contempt powers, which means the Sargent at Arms will have to try to arrest people like Karl Rove and Harriet Meyers. My guess is that Bush would call out the FBI or the military to protect them from arrest. Clearly the Sargent at Arms couldn't confront the FBI. Even if the FBI and the military refuse to participate, Bush may hire Blackwater or some other Haliburton-type private militia to back him.

In the end, we will no longer have a Congress in anything but name. Sure, like the Roman Senate after Caesar took over, the House and the Senate may continue to meet, but no one will listen to them.


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