Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bush, Blagojevich and Two Tales of Impeachment

Ironically, while the US media is fascinated by the scandal and possible impeachment of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the man whom many people believe should have been impeached is adding the finishing touches to his legacy.

In his last months in office Pres. George W. Bush is doing just what many Progressives feared he would do ... finishing the job he started. The job of wholesaling America. As Tim Dickinson reported in his article for Rolling Stone Magazine, "Bush's Final F.U.", Bush 43 is busy violating the public trust in every way he can while he can.

Dickinson reports:
" In its final days, the administration is rushing to implement a sweeping array of 'midnight regulations' — de facto laws issued by the executive branch — designed to lock in Bush's legacy. Under the last- minute rules, which can be extremely difficult to overturn, loaded firearms would be allowed in national parks, uranium mining would be permitted near the Grand Canyon and many injured consumers would no longer be able to sue negligent manufacturers in state courts. Other rules would gut the Endangered Species Act, open millions of acres of wild lands to mining, restrict access to birth control and put local cops to work spying for the federal government.

The most jaw-dropping of Bush's rule changes is his effort to eviscerate the Endangered Species Act. Under a rule submitted in November, federal agencies would no longer be required to have government scientists assess the impact on imperiled species before giving the go-ahead to logging, mining, drilling, highway building or other development. The rule would also prohibit federal agencies from taking climate change into account in weighing the impact of projects that increase greenhouse emissions — effectively dooming polar bears to death-by-global-warming. According to Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, 'They've taken the single biggest threat to wildlife and said, 'We're going to pretend it doesn't exist, for regulatory purposes.'"

John Podesta, the transition chief for the Obama administration, has vowed that the new president will leverage his "executive authority" to fight Bush's last-minute rule changes. But according to experts who study midnight regulations, there's surprisingly little an incoming executive can do to overturn such rules. The Bush administration succeeded in repealing just three percent of the regulations finalized before Bill Clinton left office in 2001. "Midnight regulations under Bush are being executed early and with great intent," says Bass of OMB Watch. "And that intent is to lock the next administration into these regulations, making it very difficult for Obama to undo what Bush just did."

Does this surprise anyone? It shouldn't. No one in Washington can say that they didn't see this coming, especially Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

When a vast majority of the American public was ready to see both Bush and Cheney impeached, Nancy Pelosi quickly took the option off the table.

Sen.Russ Feingold (D-WI), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) certainly recognized the numerous reasons why Bush should have been impeached. It was common sense. If you suspect that a politician is corrupting his office he should be removed before he can do further damage. Just ask the Illinois State Attorney General and State Legislature.

However, except for a minute minority, politicians in Washington chose to let the fox remain in the hen house.

Now, while almost all eyes are focused on Illinois, the "lame duck" President is writing executives orders that will impact generations. If one didn't know better, you might think that the Blagojevich scandal was a diversion for even darker deeds being carried out in Washington. But that would be nonsense, right? The Bush administration has never created diversions or manipulated the media in any way.

Just what were Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats thinking when they took impeachment off the table? Were they thinking that after the Bush Administration broke the economy, millions of Americas were unemployed, millions had lost their homes and the US military was bogged down in two wars, that it would make it easier for the Democrats to win back the White House.

Well, win back the White House they did. But just look at the cost. The full cost of the Bush administration probably won't be tallied until mid 2009. And when it is, it may take decades, (longer than two terms of an Obama presidency) to turn it around.

Was it worth it to let the fox stay in the hen house until all of the chickens were dead?

While much of the 2008 election focused on who was right or wrong about the Iraq War, decades from now historians may be a little more interested in who was right or wrong about impeachment.

I don't know about you but I find it a little ironic to hear all of the voices calling for Blagojevich's impeachment that remained silent about George Bush. It kind of makes me want to take off a shoe and throw it, too.

typos corrected 12/21/08 -- I told you about that late night blogging:-)

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