More on the Looming Constitutional Crisis
Kip doesn't think there is anything to the current debate about the searching of Congressman Jefferson's office. While I tend to be a literalist when it comes to the constitution, I also understand that it is significant when a president (or his AG) initiates an action against a member of the legislature that has never been done in the 200+ years of the republic. What possible crime could Mr. Jefferson have committed to warrant the abandonment of a 200+ year tradition? A subpoena was ignored. Big fucking deal. The FBI already had enough to put him away for what would likely be the remainder of his natural life. I find myself in agreement with Jerry Pournelle:
Perhaps it is far better that the Congressman, already doomed given the evidence they had, be convicted seven times over than that we give too tender an attention to the principle of legislative independence and privilege. Adding five more years to this wretch's sentence will do more for the Republic than leaving stand a precedent of 200 years of legislative privilege. Not charging him with all the crimes he might be charged with -- after all, another wretch has said there were papers in that office -- would threaten the life of the Republic. Surely the Congress cannot be allowed to defy the law!
Of course the Congress was not in fact in defiance of the law, but that is not to the point. The man was a crook! He ought to be charged with every possible charge of his crookedness! And if that establishes the point that it was time and past time for this hoary old notion of Congressional Independence to be swept into the dustbin of history, so much the better.
The Executive must not be defied. The FBI could not possibly swear out falsities in a warrant, no more than would the BATF. The Attorney General could not possibly be involved in sending in armed agents on the basis of evidence from a self-serving accomplice! And of concealing the very doors of the place they raided after a fire fight broke out.
The Executive must not be defied.
As for me, I would rather that Mr. Jefferson get only 20 years rather than 25 or 30, if that be the cost of retaining legislative independence, but then I am one of those hopeless paleo conservatives. But I note that Bob Walker has the same opinion that I do.
I also find the attitudes of those involved to be disturbing. Hastert condemns the raid, then finds the AG's office suddenly interested in his affairs. The President himself is threatened and bullied by the AG's office. I'm not sure who the fuck Alberto Gonzales and his right-hand man Paul McNulty think they are, but they obviously missed a couple key civics classes at some point in their education.
As Jerry has said repeatedly since this story first broke: we will live to regret this.