Sunday, June 1, 2014

I triple dare you

Bob Bergdahl. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images.
God damn, I cannot even begin to say how much I hope the House Republican Caucus decides to impeach President Obama for defying the law that says he must notify Congress 30 days before releasing detainees (unconstitutionally held, by the way) from Guantánamo, in order to liberate a captive American solder, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

I don't have any words for how much I look forward to hearing John Boehner explain how Sgt. Bergdahl should have continued to languish in Waziristan in order to show [jump]
our nation's respect for Speaker Boehner and his (imaginary) prerogatives in the conduct of US foreign policy.

I am so excited at the prospect of Congresspersons telling us how they had to take control of the process of dealing with prisoners in Guantánamo because the president wanted to put us all in mortal danger, of which there is none, by putting suspected terrorists on trial in civilian courts in US territory, or releasing them to go back to their evil ways, which does not happen, not to mention the very large number of prisoners who never had any evil ways to begin with but can't be released anyway because Congress said so, so there.
Photo by Reuters, I think, via Politico.
We are so used in the US to the idea, beginning around midway through the Johnson presidency and fully entrenched under Nixon, that the executive is the naturally wicked branch of government, which Congress and the Supreme Court exist to restrain, that we forget how wickedness can come from anywhere, and that balance goes all three ways. During the Bush administration, I imagine especially with the responsibility of Karl Rove, government became bad in every branch; the unelected Supreme Court turned over largely to partisan hacks, the House gerrymandered to a point where elections are becoming practically irrelevant, and the cabinet departments stuffed with politicals disguised as career appointees committed to carrying out party policy no matter who the president is (just found a remarkable little Heritage document from 2001 advising Bush how to accomplish this). The Wise Crowd of the American people, in my view, really managed to make a gesture toward rebalancing the powers when we elected Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012; frail though he may be in so many respects, he heads the only institution at the moment that represents the popular will—as we keep learning, we agree with Obama on the issues in large majorities even though most of us don't know it, and especially on the need to keep stepping back from taking a military approach to every foreign policy issue.
Blew his whole stake on a 100-to-1 dark horse called Big Time. Photo via Azizonomics.
And then as Rove and his minions were creating pockets of anti-government (or Republican) power throughout all three branches, George W. Bush diminished the power of his own office to an incalculable degree by the squandering of his so-called "political capital" at the racetrack. In this way, strange as it sounds, and even offensive to all the dudebros, Obama really needs more power. For democracy's sake, not to mention the Guantánamo prisoners and Life on the Planet As We Know It.

And may the impeachment hearings please feature a face-off between Bob Bergdahl of Idaho, looking just a little like a Second Amendment cultist only big-hearted, and Speaker John Boehner looking a lot like the portrait of Dorian Gray, because I think that will be very clarifying. 

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