Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

February 2, 2008

An Utter Contempt For Democracy

Filed under: culture, impeachment, politics — codesmithy @ 12:35 pm

I commented on a story on reddit titled “Conyers Staffer Says They Are Choosing to Let Bush Continue Violating Laws.” Anyway, WebZen mentioned that Presidents should not be allowed to pardon themselves or members of their administration. I tried to clarify  that Article II Section 4 already states that is an impeachable offense (I go under the handle kungfoomaster on reddit).

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. (source)

The phrase “other high crime and misdemeanors” is not meant to imply egregious criminal offenses. A high crime in this context means a crime against the state related to office. This intent is clear from discussions on the subject by framers such as James Madison, as I have covered before.

Here is what I wrote in response.

We already have that provision. It is called a “high crime” and it is already listed as an impeachable offense. A “high crime” is not an egregious criminal offense, although Bush is guilty of that too. A “high crime” is a crime of the office, i.e. an abuse of power. Misrepresenting intelligence, signing statements that drastically change the meaning of a law, withholding information and witnesses from Congressional oversight, pardoning members of their administration, etc. are all high crimes. The problem is not the Constitution, the problem is with our elected representatives in Congress. They have a clear and sworn obligation to act, yet they won’t. No additional clause in the Constitution could make it clearer that this President deserves to be impeached.

Simply put, the government has failed us. I don’t think the problem lies fundamentally with how Congress is structured generally, but rather this Congress and namely the people in this Congress. We don’t need more Democrats. We need more people willing to stand-up for the Constitution and act according to their duty. If the current crop of Democrats have proven anything, it is their inability to properly stand behind the Constitution. The solution is going to have to come from the people.

The original commenter then replied:

Interesting. Then the real issue is that the American people are so stupid that they will blame the dems for the impeachment, and dems will lose in November. (At least that’s how the dems have it figured.)

I think the dems have it figured correctly. I really hate it, but that is the way it is.

First of all, I want to state that I am not trying to call the commenter out, because it really isn’t about him/her.  It is this perception of “the American people are so stupid that they will blame the dems for the impeachment, and dems will lose in November.”

Now, I have been accused of “anti-American” sentiment for bringing up various coup d’etats orchestrated by the American government.  I don’t consider this “anti-American.”  I differentiate between the government and the country, just like one would make distinctions between lions and cats.

However, what I am really surprised at is this notion that our fellow citizens are so stupid that they’d blame Democrats for impeachment.  What did our countrymen do to deserve such utter contempt.  If anything should be considered “anti-American” it should be this. If Democrats followed a poll that says 52% of Americans support impeachment for Bush’s illegal wiretapping, what historical precedent is there to say that their constituency would suddenly turn on them.  Is talking about what an unmitigated disaster these past 7 years have been under Bush really going to hurt them?  If Republicans can get an impeachment on Clinton for lying about an extramarital affair and pull off a Presidential election victory, what makes us think that talking about this President’s torturing, spying, war profiteering etc. is somehow going to hurt Democrats?  I realize that Republicans aren’t going to go along, but what about applying a little bit of pressure?  What better political ammunition could you have against a person than a vote that shows they are trying to protect a person that has illegally spied on you, that has tortured people, that started a war that has killed over 4,000 of your countrymen with no end in sight, maimed countless others and is now close to murdering 1,000,000 Iraqis?  So, the Republicans accuse them of being a do nothing Congress.  It is better than passing “telecom immunity.”  Remind them how the Republicans blocked S-CHIP, health care for children.   I mean, come on.  If you can’t beat an incumbent Republican this election, what are you doing in politics?

Republicans are great at a few things: framing, staying on message and solidarity.  However, their policies are tremendously unpopular.  Democrats have to unequivocally demonstrate what the Republicans stand for: a rouge government and an imperial presidency.  Make them pay for sticking together.  What has hurt the Democratic Presidential candidates the most this election is not their votes that deviated from Bush’s policies, but rather the evidence that they went along with him.  Almost every candidate is running on a “change” platform.  The real problem for Democrats is that they will not be able to make the distinction clear enough in November if the Democrats are seen as complicit in the crimes of George W. Bush.

The result of inaction will be the inexplicable, Republicans will still hold the mantle of righteousness because they impeached Clinton for lying and Democrats didn’t lift a finger in the face of Bush’s countless and much more egregious crimes.  A travesty.

So where does this stupid American complex come from?  This attitude that the voting mob will turn on a whim and blame the elected officials that had the nerve to capitulate to the mob’s demands.  Obviously, the elected officials must remain strong and ignore the will of the people, just like the glorious leader.  His policies are great.  The shortsighted mob fails to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  When freedom and democracy are blossoming all over the Middle East, the mob will realize their mistake and turn on the heretics who had the nerve to question the glorious leader’s wise vision.  Only he can make us safe.

Needless to say, what a crock.  It is bad enough when elites and their enablers push this type of narrative, it is criminal when people actually believe it.  It is a convenient myth though, it rationalizes the apathy by placing blame on a nameless, irrational, stupid mob, in other words how elites describe the majority of your fellow countrymen like the teachers, soldiers, policemen, etc.  Believing this is not just insulting, it is to hold the entire concept of democracy in contempt.  It also happens to be the Washington consensus among Democrats also as Conyers’ staffer shows.

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