Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It Ain't Gettin' Easier...

The lack of response to my last post, even from my usual "commentators," has caused me to wonder.

Is this space becoming too "heavy," laden with concerns of a questionable nature?

Have I become "ivory tower," catering to intellectuals and ignoring the seemingly more pressing issues of life?

Well, I thought that the nature of power in government is a constant concern, given how much people just loooooove to complain about the government and its faults. I thought that, through examining the roots of power in government, we might come to some answers that would be directly pertinent to our times.

Will I just lighten up already?

Not on your life. Those who know me know that I am not like that.

To lay out the agenda, I may have one more piece on the last topic, introducing ideas of separation of powers and government by contract (think Thomas Hobbes, not Jean-Jacques Rousseau here).

Then, I was struck by a (syndicated) article in the Sunday Wisconsin State Journal last week.

It seems that Garrison Keillor is calling for the impeachment of President Bush.

When such a figure as Keillor calls for such a course of action, it bears notice. He is best known for his Prarie Home Companion on NPR and wistful tales of Lake Woebegon, not being, well, a political hack like me.

I think this can segue nicely into a discussion of impeachment, the laws for it, some historical case studies of it (there are only two), and a reflection on this course of action.

If you want to see me lighten up, stop by on a Friday night, not before.

Bring whiskey.


Anonymous said...

I think that the real problem with impeachment is that it is just not used enough. This was OK in the nineteenth century when the president was arguably less "powerful" than certain Senators or Congressmen. In this age of an imperial presidency, though, congress must (!) keep a closer eye on the indiscretions of the president. If a president knowingly lies to a grand jury under oath then impeach him, if a president is involved with supressing an investigation into a crime originating from his office, then by all means impeach him. The list goes on and on.

Unfortunately though the big problem is just that no party can realistically expect to get 2/3 of the votes unless during the half time of the Superbowl the president shoots 4 nuns and a kitty. This is obviously a problem.

The bigger problem though is the unwillingness of Congressional officials even to consider going after Supreme Court justices. Here we have a group of philosopher kings who can effectively overrule anything the people want. I would be a horrible congressman, because when a justice begins legislating from the bench or striking down reasonable legislation by golly he/she should be impeached.

So here we are with a problem. The two most powerful branches of the government -- one who can deploy troops or destroy the world with nuclear weapons and the other who is an unelected, unaccountable secretive cabal -- can't be touched.

I really don't know what can practically be done here. Obviously the two political parties would not allow the other to impeach without major cause to do so. Moreover, the American public has been brainwashed from their seventh grade civics classes on to think that an unelected body minding us is absolutely necessary to keep us from sliding into mob rule and a proletariat dictatorship.

I have a surprise for everyone here. WE LIVE IN THE MOST EDUCATED SOCIETY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. I understand that education does not equal morality, but at the same time we have to recognize that Americans today are not the type of people that the founding fathers feared (though obviously they didn't grant the power of Judicial review). They feared illiterate farmers who killed Indians in defiance of Federal laws to prospect gold in Western North Carolina. To say that white-collar or blue-collar Americans are remotely related to this rabble is simply ignoring historical reality.

The people who read the New York Times or the Economist are not going to foment rebellion. What does the modern "rabble" (myself included) do? We watch football and basketball, not sharpshooting at federal troops who happen to wonder into our corner of the backwoods frontier.

Moreover, as a society we respect the rule of law. It is not as though people in Virginia are going to decide not to pay excise taxes on whiskey and take arms. Half of the states in the nation are not going to leave the union (though when they did the Supreme Court did nothing to stop it). Haven't we "earned" the right to be trusted to self-governance without our minders telling us we have gone too far? Well I think so.

Gosh, I am really sorry I realize I just turned a discussion on impeachment into one on judicial review. My point is simply this. If I were to begin initiating impeachment, it wouldn't be against Bush. I would begin by going after the nine pompous assholes sitting in Washington who think that they have the right, indeed the duty, to make sure that the rabble doesn't form a mob and carry this whole democracy thing too far.


Otto Von Bozzi said...

The Knights of Columbus have a fantastic game of Cataringo Bingo in downtown Lake Woebegone. I'll see you there

Lost A Sock said...

Haha! I fondly recall the nights when Kevin and I would stop by your dorm in good ol Gallagher, and you two would drink God-knows-what (and large amounts of it, at that) and chant on and on about politics.

Now while I don't keep up as much as I should with politics, I wouldn't go as far as impeaching the guy... Anxiously awaiting the next election? Damn straight. Good times living in a house divided (D/R).

Hope things are going ok in Madison, and CONGRATS on the weight loss! Kevin has joined me on this wonderful (pain in the ass) diet as well. I'll send him your way to say hi.


$ K-Diddy $ said...

Will-I read your comment on Molly's blog. Congrats on the weightloss I too am trying to break the big and tall section confinement of my wardrobe. It has been along time since we spoke. here is my e-mail:

Shoot me and e-mail and I'll give you a call....

"Come on and take a free ride...."

Matthew Jenks said...

Reading Kevin and Molly's posts made me think of that one night where suddenly J.B. showed up, opened the door with a sixer of Bud Light under his arm and said, "You crazy mother f*ckers are the only thing still going! I had to buy this beer with my credit card. Times are gettin' tough."

Ah, good times.

$ K-Diddy $ said...

Trips to the truck stops with JB left me often wondering what alcohol does do to your brain, or at least amazed at what it had done to his....