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No Blank Checks


(Graphics luv to WolfBlog.)

We have a President, not a king.  The Congress of the United States is charged with the duty of oversight, of providing both a check and a balance — along with the Federal judiciary — to the excesses and overreaches of the Executive Branch of government.  What the Bush Administration has failed, repeatedly, to understand is that they hold office for a finite period — a discrete term of years — and that their duty ought to be to the betterment of the whole of the American public, and not just to burnish George Bush's legacy and reputation at any cost. 

What the Republican Party has failed to comprehend is that their own political legacy is now sinking like a stone because they have tied themselves — hook, line and stinking sinker — to the fortunes and abysmal failures of George Bush.  The Republican party is reaping what they so blithely sowed, over and over again, in a bid for hanging onto their own personal fiefdoms at the expense of the American public. 

The Republican Party and the Bush Administration are two peas in a greedy little malignant pod — putting their own personal interests first, whatever the cost to the rest of us outside their tiny little power bubble.

From Peter Beinart in Time:

President Bush is taking the long view. He has been reading biographies of George Washington. He recently bemoaned "short-term historians." He keeps mentioning Harry Truman, a President reviled when he left office but rescued by posterity. Bush says he doesn't think about his legacy, but more and more, it's what he seems to think about most.

I wish he wouldn't. In theory, thinking about your legacy should be humbling. But in Bush's case, it's making him increasingly reckless. Bush knows that historians will see him through the prism of Iraq: if the war is a failure, so is he. So he's paying any price to win. Were he focused on the present, he might see that the war is already lost. Instead, he's gazing over the horizon, trying to dig himself out of his Iraq hole and making it ever deeper as a result…

Those limits should be blindingly clear today as an exhausted American military tries to stitch Iraq back together, in a country and a region where the only thing Sunnis and Shi'ites agree upon is that they hate us. Bush seems to think historians reward Presidents who never give up hope. And when that hope is justified by the facts, they do. But sometimes they reward Presidents for abandoning their hopes so they don't become obsessions. The best thing Bush can do for his legacy is to stop trying to change it. The more he accepts that history's die is already cast, the more merciful history will be.

No more blank checks for this President.  No more.

The rubber stamp Republicans handed him and his Administration whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted it — as though they were indulgent parents trying to fend off yet another Presidential tantrum if they said no.  And look what we have to show for it. 

And, yet, so many of the Republicans in Congress still do not get it.  This is not a question of holding onto power regardless of the costs to the military and the American public — but to the Republican leadership in the House and Senate, it's all about salvaging their own individual political hides, and to hell with the day to day consequences for real American families whose sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers are all serving in far off lands under very, very difficult conditions. 

One of the Republican House members who has broken ranks with the lockstep GOP vote is Rep. Ric Keller of Florida, who put the welfare of our individual troops front and center in his remarks yesterday:

Rep. Ric Keller (Fla.), a reliable conservative vote, prefaced his statement with an affirmation of support for Bush personally. But, he said, a "surge" of troops had already been attempted in Baghdad. "The benefits were temporary," he said. "The body bags were permanent."

Those 11 could be just the tip of the iceberg. One Republican lawmaker close to the leadership, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said GOP leaders have 50 to 60 Republicans on their watch list, with between 40 and 60 expected to break with the White House tomorrow.  (emphasis mine)

The fact is that the Republicans know — they KNOW — that the Bush Administration has failed in Iraq and that the long-term consequences of that failure are far-reaching for our foreign policy, our military strength, for our nation's reputation, and for the long-term stability of the Middle East and beyond as the conlfict between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims heats to the boiling point under our inept string pulling pressure. 

The Republican leadership KNOWS that George Bush's policies have been a failure, and yet it is their party's reputation and their own hold on power that concerns them most.  From the WaPo:

Republicans knew they had a weak hand to play as the House began its three-day debate on Iraq and whether to support Bush's 20,000-troop "surge." "The debate should not be about the surge or its details," Republican Reps. Peter Hoekstra (Mich.) and John Shadegg (Ariz.) wrote to colleagues in a letter intercepted by Democrats. "This debate should not even be about the Iraq war to date, mistakes that have been made, or whether we can, or cannot, win militarily. If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose."

Yes, heaven forbid GOP leadership that the nation be told the truth about how your absurd farce of a Parliament Congress, for six long years of the Bush Administration provided no meaningful oversight, no real check whatsoever to excesses and idiocy, no balancing of any kind — but merely one long string of "whatever you want, so long as we can continue to prance about and pretend like we have some power" regardless of the cost in lives, in limbs, in deficit spending, in long-term consequences as failure after failure piled up on the Republican Congress' doorstep.

Heaven forbid that any Republican in a leadership position own up to being wrong. Take responsibility for failing to take action, stand up and say no to the petulant Boy King when it could have done some good for the entire nation.

GOP — it now stands for Got Our Power (and screw the rest of you). How's that working for you now, folks?  Because you sure as hell don't seem to have noticed that it is decidedly NOT working for the majority of Americans who think that you, the Republican party and your President Who Would Be King are failing the rest of us.

No more blank checks.  Not for you Republican party hacks, not for President Bush, not for any of the lot of you — because you put your own personal power interests ahead of the nation.  You have all earned yourselves a big, fat time out.  (And yes, my momma roots are showing here, but really…putting your own greedy need for power ahead of the interests of the whole nation?  So wrong, on so many levels.)

No more blank checks.  I want my Constitution restored.  I want my governmental structure balanced.  I want the people elected to represent this nation of ours to understand that they work for us, not the other way around.  And I want accountability.  Now. 

***A note to the folks following our Libby trial coverage:  Court will resume this afternoon at 1:30 pm ET, along with our live coverage.***

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com