Impeachment Is the Only Salve to the Constitutional Crisis Brought on by Bush’s Commutation of Libby’s Punishment
With the commutation of the prison sentence of Irv Lewis Libby, President George Walker Bush has sent the country into a constitutional crisis. The President now presents a far graver threat to the constitution of the United States of America than the phantom menaces of Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. This constitutional crisis, a final symptom of a Presidency arrogant of power and disdainful of democratic rule and republican government, can only be a assuaged by formal trials of impeachment.
Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was the Chief of Staff of the Office of the Vice President, an office of the Executive Branch (despite certain ridiculous protestations to the contrary) . This agent of the Executive, Mr. Libby, in the course of his duties, broke the laws as set by the Legislative branch and was then judged and found guilty and sentenced by the Judicial branch. Mr. Libby’s crimes were almost certainly part of a greater pattern of criminality that included the Vice President, and perhaps the President. Mr. Libby was instrumental in the cover-up of these crimes and was so convicted. At this point Mr. Libby became the felon Libby. The President’s commutation does not dispute the felon’s criminal conduct, only the largest part of the punishment for that criminal conduct. In effect, The President wants the felon to escape his crimes with impunity.
In commuting Libby’s sentence, President Bush seeks to render the Executive branch immune to the oversight of the Judicial and Legislative branches, rendering impotent the checks and balances that have preserved the liberty of our country for over two hundred years. This final act is part of a long pattern of the President’s disdain for the orderly and deliberate workings of our government.
The President no longer holds the trust of much of the American public. What misbehaviour might once have been ascribed to stupidity, incompetence, or plain wrongheadedness, now assumes an ugly penumbra of self-serving corruption and mischief. Has the President no shame? Libby’s commutation was timed with the celebration of our country’s Day of Independence, as the President hosted Vladimir Putin, the tyrannical ruler of Russia. Our idiotic President seems to enjoy Putin’s company.
Even the felon Libby is disserved by this commutation. Had the President waited the eighteen months until the end of his term, he might have pardoned him with a minimum of fuss. Mr. Libby would have gone on to a prosperous private life. Now he will carry a target on his back for the rest of his life. Congress has no choice but to subpoena him and the rest of his office for their part in this scandal. “Scooter” is now in further jeopardy of perjuring himself, and suffering the penalties thereof.
Worst is that the country now must be pushed to constitutional crisis, to risk the integrity of our government, to look over a precipice at far-off civil war, as a population is further split into irreconcilable factions. All of this so that one man could avoid eighteen months in a minimum security prison. The President’s tone-deafness to the mood of the country on this matter is further proof of a psychotic arrogance, a refusal to see any limits to his conduct or to respect any power but his own.
The next step is for the Congress of the United States to carry out its constitutional duty against a President who cannot compromise. Articles of Impeachment must be drafted and approved by the House of Representatives. Then let him stand trial before the Senate. While conviction is doubtful, the open light of a trial is the only way to clear the fetid air that now hangs over our country’s political life. The Vice President must also be impeached. Then they cannot hide behind executive privilege, for that very privilege, as embodied in their persons, will be the matter in question. Let the President and Vice President be called as witnesses for their high crimes and misdemeanors. They may choose whether to testify or not. Their expected grim silence will be testimony enough.
Let democratic rule and republican government and the rule of law be saved. Let the uncertainties of power politics be set aright by a lawful trial. Demand that your elected Representative in Congress bring Charges of Impeachment against President George Walker Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney.