Favorite

Bring on the subpoenas 

Disarray reigns everywhere, from the U.S. ambassador to Iraq to White House aides. Even the Bush family cannot get in sync on the big message. President Bush had to tell his own father to shut up.

Trying to send the message that the party had too much at stake for Republicans to vote against their wayward congressmen or stay at home, the former president said at a fund-raiser for Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., that it would be “a ghastly thing” if Democrats took control of Congress and its committees.

“I would hate to think what Arlen’s [Sen. Arlen Specter’s] life would be like, what Rick’s life would be like, and what my son’s life would be like if we lose control of the Congress,” the elder Bush said. “... They would be issuing the subpoenas, dragging people in just to be getting headlines.”

The son responded Monday: “He shouldn’t be speculating like this.” Daddy should have called him first and he would have told him not to go out sounding so pessimistic.

George W. was having trouble staying on message himself. Washington is rampant with leaks and rumors that the administration will change its Iraq policy after the election. On George Stephanopoulos’ show on ABC Sunday, Bush hotly interrupted his host when he asked about Bush family consigliere James Baker’s search for something between “cut and run” and Bush’s policy of “stay the course.”

“Well, hey, listen,” the president said. “We’ve never been ‘stay the course,’ George.” He said his administration was constantly adjusting in Iraq.

By nightfall, bloggers were digging up all the vows to “stay the course” that Bush uttered between 2003 and the first of last month.

But the elder Bush had hit the nerve that gives everyone in the administration twinges. Committees run by Democrats would be issuing subpoenas and “dragging people in just to be getting headlines.”

What could have triggered such wild imagination? Papa Bush, of course, was describing Bill Clinton’s White House after Republicans gained control of both houses in 1995. Clinton’s attorney general began seven independent counsel investigations after Republicans called for them. In the two-year span after Republicans took control midway in Clinton’s first term, House and Senate committees sent subpoenas by the hundreds to White House aides, administration officials and people who had crossed paths with Clinton and his wife since 1976.

Only one congressional committee, the House Government Reform Committee, has conducted any oversight investigations, those owing to the lone Republican in Washington willing to buck the leadership and the White House, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va. He led an inquiry into the Katrina bumbling and short investigations of the administration’s handling of bioterrorism and preparation for the avian flu and four Halliburton war contracts.

But the same committee in its first two years of control when Clinton was president had issued 40 subpoenas and held three hearings into the firing of workers at the White House travel office — completely legitimate firings, as it turned out — and four into the release of FBI files on past officials to a junior White House aide, accidental as it turned out. And it was one of the least active committees.

Republicans have refused to investigate any of the score or so of patent misdeeds or screw-ups in the Bush administration, all far more serious than any of those investigated by congressional committees or independent counsels in the Clinton years — yes, including the one that led to Clinton’s impeachment.

Though the independent counsel law died in 2001, thanks to the Republican Congress, it is still possible to request the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel, but the discretion has been up to John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the speaker in January if the Democrats pick up 15 seats, says the House will not oblige those who want to start an impeachment inquiry on the president, which has drawn criticism that Democrats are too weak.

The country does not need to see the kinds of investigations that marked the Republican ascendancy of 1995. Americans don’t want to go back and look at Bush’s slimy business deals or his youthful drug and whiskey use or the petty conniving around the president.

But the country does need to get to the bottom of the most cataclysmic failures of government in our lifetimes, including corruption, cronyism and deceit in the conduct of the war and the intelligence failures and deceit in the run-up to the war.

Congressional inertia has given Bush the widest latitude of any president since at least Roosevelt. But not even that administration enjoyed such freedom from oversight, or sought it. Sen. Harry S. Truman led an investigation of profiteering in World War II. His committee called 1,798 witnesses for 432 hearings and issued 51 reports while the war was going on. One Democratic senator went to prison for his inveigling with contractors. Far from punishing Truman for his disloyalty, Roosevelt rewarded the doughty Missourian by making him his vice president in the next election. Imagine Bush doing something like that.

Daddy Bush reminded us of the best reason in the world to vote Democratic in 2006. It furnishes the only chance to learn the truth.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Ernest Dumas

  • Trusting

    It is a Fourth of July ritual to appraise where we are in meeting the Declaration of Independence's promise to institute a government that would, unlike King George, secure human rights equally for everyone who sets foot on American soil.
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • Obamascare

    Republicans at long last may be about to see their most fervent wishes and wildest predictions materialize — millions of people losing their medical and hospital coverage, unaffordable insurance, lost jobs, a Medicare financial crisis, mushrooming federal budget deficits and fiscal crises across state governments.
    • Jun 22, 2017
  • Ethics upended

    Every week, Donald Trump finds another way to upend conventional ethics in government and politics. Here's one that has been in the making since the campaign but is reaching maturity in the Russian investigation: He is turning the heroes of government scandals into the villains.
    • Jun 15, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • AEC dumps ALEC

    No matter which side of the battle over global warming you're on, that was blockbuster news last week. No, not the signing of the climate-change treaty that commits all of Earth's 195 nations to lowering their greenhouse-gas emissions and slowing the heating of the planet, but American Electric Power's announcement that it would no longer underwrite efforts to block renewable energy or federal smokestack controls in the United States.
    • Dec 17, 2015
  • No tax help for Trump

    The big conundrum is supposed to be why Donald Trump does so well among white working-class people, particularly men, who do not have a college education.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Dollars and degrees

    Governor Hutchinson says a high graduation rate (ours is about the lowest) and a larger quotient of college graduates in the population are critical to economic development. Every few months there is another, but old, key to unlocking growth.
    • Aug 25, 2016

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated itsĀ 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Ernest Dumas

  • The ACA can be fixed

    Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threatened his 51 disciples in the Senate and his party with the gravest injury imaginable.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Trusting

    It is a Fourth of July ritual to appraise where we are in meeting the Declaration of Independence's promise to institute a government that would, unlike King George, secure human rights equally for everyone who sets foot on American soil.
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • Obamascare

    Republicans at long last may be about to see their most fervent wishes and wildest predictions materialize — millions of people losing their medical and hospital coverage, unaffordable insurance, lost jobs, a Medicare financial crisis, mushrooming federal budget deficits and fiscal crises across state governments.
    • Jun 22, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Turn to baseball

    • leave the rules the way they are. teach players how to hit, don't legislate no…

    • on July 20, 2017
  • Re: Pay attention

    • The beautiful new 12th St. Precinct is full of empty rooms: Why not create a…

    • on July 20, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Religious charlatans have been around for centuries. They prey on the weak, sick, poorly educated…

    • on July 20, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation