March 22, 2008

constitutions, war, and leadership

I just read a Washington Post op-ed that pretty clearly articulates why the Bush/Cheney administration has frustrated and frightened me so much the past seven years.


Blogless Troll said...

I completely disagree with that guy's position. It's amazing (or maybe not) that he was in Congress himself. I'm not talking about the war--there are plenty of reasons we should not have gone into Iraq, and I agree that Bush/Cheney/Clinton before him/Congress for way too long/same with the Supreme Court have all taken a dump on our Constitution. BUT, Cheney is right that policy should not be made or swayed by public opinion. We are not a democracy, no matter how much people repeat it. We are a representative republic. We the people govern ourselves by choosing representatives to represent us and make policy decisions for us. If they make unpopular policy decisions they don't get re-elected, or at least that's how it's supposed to go. Obviously you run into trouble during the last term of a presidency when the VP isn't going to be running in the next election. However, despite all the wrongs Bush and Cheney have done, they could never have done them if Congress had done it's job.

PJD said...

On the one hand, I agree with you, BT. Policy can't be decided by public opinion polls, and it shouldn't. My wife and I were discussing the differences between democracy and republic the other day, so I'm right on board with you.

But the problem here is that Bush and Cheney, on the war at least, are no longer dealing with the whims of public opinion polls. For a very, very, very long time, American opinion against the continuing war in Iraq has been about 30% favorable. (Funny how it pretty closely parallels the President's satisfaction ratings.) Personally, I'm in the camp that abhors the war but believe we have some obligation to leave the place in much better shape than it's in now. How? I don't know. That's why I'm not in charge, I guess.

The reason I like this op-ed is because it illustrates the elitist attitude that Bush and Cheney have had from the beginning (before the beginning, really): They are elite, and everyone else is not, so they are "the deciders" and everyone else can "go fuck yourself." They have a very real sense that the US should have a ruling class, and everyone else comprises the ruled. Let them eat cake, as it were.

A 3WW blog this week posted a quote that went something like, "Having the right to do something is not equivalent to being right in doing it."

Yes, Bush and Cheney were re-elected (there is some debate as to whether they were actually elected the first time), which means they have the right to be the deciders, on some things, until their terms end. But that does not mean their decisions are right, and sticking to a failed policy when the vast majority of the country can see it's failed is simply madness.

The one thing that you point out that is a glaring omission from the op-ed is Congress' responsibility. Bush may be a decider, but he can't continue to do them if Congress gets a backbone and makes some correct decisions.

Blogless Troll said...

Yeah, I agree with that. In fact, I deleted the second half of my first comment because I was rambling, but I was going to point out that Republicans and Democrats have more in common with each other than their constituents. That it's not really Republicans vs Democrats, but those who rule vs those who don't. We've been conditioned to pick a side and root for our team and to hell with the other team. Divide and conquer and all that.

There's no question in my mind that Bush and Cheney are elitists who don't give a shit what the masses think. But there's also no question in my mind that the next prez, no matter who it is, will have exactly the same attitude. It's the hole we've dug for ourselves. When people don't pay attention to the way their Congressman votes, especially the constitutionality of what they are voting on, we lose our power bit by bit. Not following the Constitution becomes the norm to the point that even talking about how unconstitutional elected officials are acting becomes in itself controversial.

Bush may be a decider, but he can't continue to do them if Congress gets a backbone and makes some correct decisions.

And that's really my point. They won't because no matter what they say on TV, they're all part of the same power elite. There are squabbles within factions within the power elite, but when it comes down to it, they will protect their own, Republican or Democrat.

Chris Eldin said...

This president has caused so much damage, on so many levels, I just cringe thinking he was elected.

Chris Eldin said...

You might enjoy Stephen Parrish's blog. He's linked on my sidebar as "Dude, More Merlot."