Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rumsfeld Cuts & Runs!

So Rumsfeld's resigned already. That was awfully fast. In a way I'm kind of disappointed. For the last six years Rummy and Dick and George and friends swaggered around like they owned the world and everyone on it, but take away their rubber-stamp Congress and they fold up like a house of cards. That's just sad. If only we'd known this was all it would take to bring the crazies to heel, we'd have done it years ago. Damn.

At least Rummy's guaranteed to get himself a nice, shiny "Medal of Freedom" for his efforts, as a sort of consolation prize. Kind of like what they did with George Tenet, come to think of it. (Unless Rummy gets pissed off about being hung out to dry like this, and writes a lurid tell-all book. Sure, sure, that would never happen in real life, but it's fun to think about.)

All of this is not to say I expect the next two years to be a kinder, gentler era of bipartisanship. I think we can safely ignore all the morning-after happy talk we're hearing today. With Democrats running the show in the House, and maybe the Senate, I imagine Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman will have plenty of stuff to distort and lie about to rile up the wingnuts for '08. I haven't seen a full accounting of the seats the R's lost and where the former occupants fell on the ideological spectrum, but I read somewhere that many of the seats they lost in the northeast were formerly held by "moderate" Republicans. So the hardliners will probably dominate the House Republican caucus even more than they did before, although that fact won't matter as much as it once did.

I also don't expect any serious policy changes in Iraq. Short of cutting off money for the war (a drastic step I don't expect to see), Congress doesn't have a lot of options in the foreign policy area. Even if they did, the Decider's made it very clear he believes he has the inherent, absolute right to take the country to war with anyone, anytime, anywhere, and torture or kill anyone he pleases whenever the mood strikes him, without having to so much as ask anyone's opinion. I don't see that changing. George doesn't say "stay the course" in public anymore, but I expect that's what he'll do, or try to do. And if it ends up in the courts, I don't see the Supremes lining up against him, not with Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, and Alito on the bench.

Since he's still basically got a rubber-stamp Supreme Court, I'd be surprised if the Bushies aren't at least daydreaming about how to abuse a certain obscure, never-used provision in Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution:

He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers: he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

All you'd need to do is engineer a pro-forma adjournment "dispute" between the two houses in the outgoing lame-duck Congress, and have George ride in on his white horse to save the day, adjourning both houses until, for example, Inauguration Day, 2009, or simply "until further notice". Then all you'd have to do is convince five Supremes that the plain wording of this passage doesn't explicitly prohibit that long of an adjournment, and the Decider has clear sailing for the rest of his term in office, with no pesky subpoenas to answer or investigations to stonewall. Sure, the public probably wouldn't take kindly to this, but the next election isn't for another two years, surely they'll get used to the new state of affairs sooner or later. If worse comes to worse, you can always blame the whole thing on 9/11.

In any case, I'm just happy we've gotten through another election without (so far) seeing any mention of the accursed name "Boies". The Virginia senate still isn't settled, so we're not completely out of the woods yet. But I've got my fingers crossed.

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