Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My two cents about censure

Senator Russ Feingold has introduced a bill to censure President Bush. Democrats are rushing to support that bill. I am opposed. Let me explain why.

Censure is not in the Constitution. It does nothing in a practical sense. It's just a means of getting steam off your chest about something. Henry Clay created it for political reasons. He didn't like what Andy Jackson was doing as president (specifically about the Bank of the United States) but he knew, even if he had the support of the Congress, that he couldn't legally impeach Jackson without the Constitutionally required "high crimes and misdemeanors" to charge him with.

Now, I think censure would have been perfect in Clinton's case, although impeachment would have been inappropriate. What Clinton did was clearly wrong. But it wasn't illegal. It certainly wasn't worth removing him from office. The whole thing was a political move. If they had the votes to impeach Clinton for zippergate, they would have had the votes to remove Gore for the Buddhist Temple thing. Then guess who gets to be President. That's right, Newt Gingrich, the Speaker of the House, would have become our next Commander in Chief. Of course he'd have had to call out troops to quell the public outcry, but dictatorship would be a small price to pay for (what? what possible advantage could Gingrich have offered over Clinton?)

The point is that impeachment was in no way justified by Clinton's actions, it is every way justified by Bush's actions, which are not just wrong, not just incompetent, but criminal. Censure may make people feel better about what's happening, but it won't fix the problems.

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