(guest post by Taylor Marsh)
I know this will sound trite, but I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. It may come from a movie, but it’s apt.
That said, I’m not really going to do anything about this, but it does feel good to get my feelings off my chest. Stress kills, you know.
I just cannot understand why you’re meddling. Frankly, it ticks me off, Mr. Vice President. I mean, after all, when the telephone companies didn’t want to appear to have volunteered for a public hearing on that little matter of them handing over millions of telephone numbers, what did I do? We sent them each a subpoena so it would be easier for them. Then we even agreed to have closed hearings, you know, to protect the corporations’ privacy and reputation. Big business has rights, you know.
I must also tell you I was shocked, shocked, I tell you, to then hear you had called Republican members of the Judiciary Committee actually lobbying to oppose any hearing, even a closed one with the big time execs. Whatsup with that? To take it one step further, evidently you laid down the law with the telcos that they were to provide no information, nada, zip, zilch because they’d actually be supplying classified information to us. I think that’s a threat. Is that a threat? Hmmmm. I just don’t know.
Why didn’t you call me, Dick? Pick up the phone, give a shout out. You’ve still got my cell number, right?
I’m just hurt you used your influence to actually try to determine the Committee’s outcome. This, after we broke bread together at lunch! Well, I never. That’s when I called a Republican members meeting to say I was going to show you, but then Orin showed me the error of my ways. I sure want to reach an accommodation, but you know, you’re just being such a jerk.
I have a job to do, I really do and it’s important. I’m like, in Congress, you know. Stop it. I really mean it this time. Stop it or I’ll actually do something. I will. I really will. You just wait and see.
We press the issue in the context of repeated stances by the Administration on expansion of Article II power, frequently at the expense of Congress’s Article I authority. There are the Presidential signing statements where the President seeks to cherry-pick which parts of the statute he will follow. There has been the refusal of the Department of Justice to provide necessary clearances to permit its Office of Professional Responsibility to determine the propriety of the legal advice given by the Department of Justice on the electronic surveillance program. There is the recent Executive Branch search and seizure of Congressman Jefferson’s office. There are recent and repeated assertions by the Department of Justice that it has the authority to criminally prosecute newspapers and reporters under highly questionable criminal statutes.
All of this is occurring in the context where the Administration is continuing warrantless wiretaps in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and is preventing the Senate Judiciary Committee from carrying out its constitutional responsibility for Congressional oversight on constitutional issues. I am available to try to work this out with the Administration without the necessary of a constitutional confrontation between Congress and the President.
I’m not impressed. Neither is Senator Patrick Leahy.
"Why don’t we just recess for the rest of the year, pass a resolution which a Republican-controlled Congress could easily pass, and just simply say: We’ll have no more hearings and Vice President Cheney will just tell the nation what laws we’ll have; he’ll let us know what laws will be followed and which laws will not be followed," Mr. Leahy said sarcastically. "Now, of course, it would destroy even the last vestiges, the few remaining vestiges of a real check-and-balance democracy, but that’s basically what we’re saying." – Senator Patrick Leahy