Monday, November 21, 2005

Stirrings In Congress

I believe that one of the biggest mistakes Congress made during Bush's regime was voting to give him authority to go to war in Iraq if he thought it necessary. Not only did that give an air of legitimacy to the invasion, it gave up an enormous amount of power to the Administration. Since then, Congress has been nothing more than a rubber stamp for the Resident's ideas. Apparently that is beginning to change, and the irony is that the change is coming from the Resident's own party, according to the New York Times.

On a July evening in the Capitol, Vice President Dick Cheney summoned three Republican senators to his ornate office just off the Senate chamber. The Republicans - John W. Warner of Virginia, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina - were making trouble for the Bush administration, and Mr. Cheney let them know it.

The three were pushing for regulations on the treatment of American military prisoners, including a contentious ban on "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." The vice president wanted the provision pulled from a huge military spending bill. The senators would not budge.

"We agreed to disagree," Mr. Graham said in an interview last week.

...the three are firm in their conviction that Congress, having ceded authority on military matters to the executive branch, must flex its muscles. In addition to sticking together on the so-called torture ban - despite a White House veto threat - they joined last week in backing a bipartisan compromise, sponsored by Senator Graham, giving "enemy combatants" in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, limited rights of appeal in federal court.

...For Democrats, who have spent months trying to put the public spotlight on the issues of detainee treatment and the war in Iraq, the three Republicans are like some kind of gift from the political gods. After the Senate overwhelmingly adopted Mr. Warner's measure on the war, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democrat of Delaware, stood slack-jawed.

"It's gigantic," Mr. Biden said.
[Emphasis added]

Mr. Biden was correct in his assessment. For whatever reasons the three Republicans may have, including future shots at the nomination for President, the three are in effect reminding the White House that Congress is a co-equal branch of government, not simply water carriers for the Resident. It is hard to see how the White House would benefit by using the power of the veto (which has not yet been used by Bush) on any bill passed by a Republican led Congress, especially one which deals with progress in Iraq or one which deals with the issue of torture.

And if this recent exercise in muscle flexing benefits the Democrats in some way, well, so be it.


Blogger Highlander said...

Hey, STREETS OF FIRE is one of my favorite movies, too! I mean, it's senseless and stupid and nobody in it can act, but on the other hand, it's a fascinating alternate reality adventure and it may well be the finest 90 minute rock video ever shot. Walter Hill was on the downside of his arc when he made this... I think the only good movies he had left in him at this point were JOHNNY HANDSOME and EXTREME PREJUDICE, and he made us suffer through CROSSROADS, BREWSTER'S MILLIONS, and RED HEAT on the way to those... but, still, it's one of his most enjoyable films. Glad to find a fellow fan. And thanks for the birthday greetings. I'll try to check out your blog more often and comment at least occasionally.

8:49 AM  

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