Friday, March 09, 2007
Contempt for Congress
The proposed creation by President Bush of a "bi-partisan commission," to be chaired by Robert Dole and Donna Shalala and charged with looking into the treatment of injured veterans, shold be recognized as the contemptible sham it is. There is no reason in the world to have such a commission to duplicate what Congress itself can do altogether well (especially because Congress has the subpoena power). Commissions are useful primarily--and perhaps exclusively--when there is good reason to believe that the normal political process is not operating, perhaps because of the volatility of the issue (social security, base closings) or because one simply doesn't trust Congress, for reasons of political party control, to be sufficiently vigilant in seeking out all relevant information (the 9/11 Commission). There is also justification for "expert" commissions dealing with controversial scientific issues, such as the pace of global warming. None of these conditions obtains with regard to how injured veterans should be treated. This is not a "third-rail" issue; indeed, both parties are united in their justified outrage over the disclosures. Nor, obviousy, does a Democratic Congress have any incentive to avert their eyes from recognizing that responsibility for the disgraceful treatment might be traceable to decisionmakers beyond the hapless generals who are currently being set up as the fall guys.
Don't you think you are being VERY disengenuous? If Bush didn't try to establish a commission, then people would say he didn't care about the soldiers or he isn't doing anything about it.
Bush can't make Congress hold hearings -- only Congress can do that. Bush isn't preventing Congress from holding hearings by establishing a commission.
I agree that for better or worse, it probably won't accomplish much. But, it is what is expected. Making the argument that this shows Bush's contempt for Congress just strains all credulity.
Presidents of both parties set up commissions every time some scandal or disaster hits. These are meant as executive oversight, not as a replacement for congressional oversight. If the President's own officers did the executive investigation, they would be correctly be accused of being biased. To avoid this charge, a President trots out some elders from both parties; who draft up a report, hold a press conference and are then generally forgotten.
We all know this Bush dog-and-poney show is pro forma theater to appear concerned, when the President never listens to anyone, anyway. The allusion of doing something has been GWB's modus operandi for over six years.
Four months ago, the country voiced its desire for change. No more rubber-stamping Congresses acquiescing to an autocratic Duarchy of incompetence and malfeasance. What has the Voice achieved? Not much of anything. A few symbolic gestures, and a couple of indecisive near-resolutions.
Iraq continues. The VA will look the same for years. Etc/ And, so we continue to let the Executive Duarchy dictate inaction, because a divided "opposition party" cannot unite to oppose the Duarchy's malfeasance. They cannot achieve consensus, even if the nation has, and voted for a sea-change. All that has happened is a few changes in seats.
Echoing Lee Hamilton's retort to Hilary's stunning question, "What can Congress do?" responded, "Demand accountability." Duh?
"Hey, look over here! We're investigating ... [<*sotto voce*> ourselves]. No need to bother, we'll tell ya what we find ... believe me, we'll get to the bottom of this horrible maladministration [in the executive] pronto. OK? OK???"
It's not going to work any more. No one trusts the maladministration.
From the guy that maintains that Dubya has plenary and absolute powers as CinC of the military:Post a Comment
Presidents of both parties set up commissions every time some scandal or disaster hits. These are meant as executive oversight, not as a replacement for congressional oversight.
"Executive oversight"? Is that the Republican word for "management" (or lack thereof)?