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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Russ Feingold Has A New Friend ...

in John Dean, the former Nixon aide. The LA Times has the story:

John Dean, the White House counsel to President Nixon who went to jail for his Watergate crimes, testified before a Senate committee today that President Bush should be censured for approving domestic spying by the National Security Agency.

"No president that I can find in the history of our country has adapted a policy of expanding presidential power for the purpose of expanding presidential power," he said. "To me this is not really …a partisan question. I think it's a question of institutional pride of this body, of the Congress."

The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on a censure resolution by Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Minn.) prompted partisan emotion. Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said the resolution was without merit, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told Democrats: "Quit trying to score political points."

Lee Casey, a former Justice Department official, said censoring President Bush over the NSA program would be "a severe miscarriage of justice." Saying that Bush was "fully within his statutory authority" for the president to order the detection of terrorist communications, Casey added: "The president did not break the law. This is not Watergate."

Mr. Casey is correct. This idea of censuring the president is a farce, and if accomplished, it would be a miscarriage of justice. The president has done nothing wrong. The FISA Court of Review has stated it. Numerous legal scholars have agreed. Cass Sunstein, a preeminent legal scholar and author of numerous legal textbooks, agrees. The president is well within his boundaries, both under the Constitution and by statute.

This is a dog-and-pony show for the Democrats. They are trying to tear down a president, and they are willing to use any and all means to do it. This debate has been raging since it's revelation by the New York Times back in December of 2005, and those on the Left cannot seem to grasp the simple concept that the president did no wrong. In an effort to ensure another 9/11 does not occur, the president tasked the NSA to conduct warrantless surveillance of internation communication. That includes calls originating in the US, but are heading out of the country.

We have gone over this subject time and again, and we are still brought back to the point we have always made. There is nothing that the president did that could be construed as illegal or unconstitutional. And if the Democrats really think they have him--that they have the "gotcha" moment--then why roll out with a move for censure? Why not go for the gusto and move on impeachment proceedings. Censure is a formal reprimand, nothing more. Impeachment denotes he did do something illegal. Should the Senate decide that the president did break the law, they could remove him.

The point the Democrats do not wish to bring up is that as longas the GOP controls the House and the Senate, they are not willing to move forward with articles of impeachment. No GOP member of either house of Congress will vote in favor of impeachment. Well, maybe Lincoln Chafee might, but I am not holding my breath that they will garner enough votes to get it pushed through. And that is their dirty little secret that they will not acknowledge publicly. There are plenty of Democrats running for the House this year that are going to somewhat campaign on the issue of impeachment, but even they know this a dog issue.

John Dean needs to fade back into obscurity before G. Gordon Liddy pops back up, and slaps him down as he always has done.

The Bunny ;)

The "nuts" over at NRO's Corner also weighed in on this. First, we have Andy McCarthy, and then K-Lo speaks up about it. As you can see, they are making as much light of this act of desperation as we did.


With most Democrats not wanting to get within a million miles of this, Sen. Feingold has John Dean, of Watergate fame, testifying in favor of his censure proposal this morning.

It's actually very good symbolism (however inadvertently orchestrated) for how times have changed. Feingold has obviously dragged Dean out there because the latter represents all that Nixon connotes for the civil liberties lobby -- domestic spying, corruption, the conceit that our imperialist government is much worse than our "enemies," the self-image of liberals as the guys in the white hats, etc.

But for people who care about the security of the country and about stopping what we well know al Qaeda is trying to do, what Dean and the Watergate legacy symbolize are the shackling of the executive branch, the notion that we just have to accept threats to public safety, FISA, the Wall, the decline of the CIA, etc.

Which is to say, if anyone is really watching and caring about this stuff, I think this censure business actually helps the President. And it also helps that Robert Turner and John Schmidt are testifying against the Feingold proposal -- making it not even a fair fight.

DEANIAC [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

There is a Senate hearing today on Russ Feingold's censure resolution.

So he gets to call a witness to testify about it.

Who's he gonna call? A prominent legal scholar? An expert on constitutional theory? A judge?

None of the above.

His witness is John Dean.


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