Saturday, November 03, 2007

Mukasey Fallout - The End of Democracy in America?

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., right, talks with Attorney General-designate Michael Mukasey on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007, following Mukasey's second day of testifying before the committee's hearing on his nomination. Mukasey's nomination for attorney general runs into new trouble with Senate Democrats after President Bush accuses them of being unfair in questioning the former judge about waterboarding, the interrogation technique that simulates drowning. "It doesn't make any sense to tell the enemy whether we use those techniques or not," Bush says. (AP Photos/Susan Walsh)
Photo Credit: AP Photo (from The Washington Post)

I posted yesterday about Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer announcing they'd vote to move the Mukasey nomination for AG out of committee and on to the full Senate where he's expected to be confirmed easily. Well, the predicable responses are coming in this morning. Andrew Sullivan has a melodramatic post titled Schumer and Feinstein Surrender. Here's an excerpt:
Every time the Democrats fold on these matters, Cheney tucks a precedent under his belt. Every time they cave into their cowardice and fear, another critical part of our liberty disappears. These precedents are designed to destroy the rule of law and replace it with the rule of a Decider. And they will last for ever, as will the right to torture, because this war is for ever. This is how democracies perish. The rule of law no longer has any party to defend it.
So, our Democracy is finished because Mukasey won't declare Bush, Cheney, etc. war criminals. Keep in mind Sullivan has been pushing that line, that they should be tried at the Hague for war crimes, for quite some time. Oh, and did I mention he calls himself a conservative? He's even written a book called "The Conservative Soul." For someone who calls himself a conservative he certainly has moonbatty opinions.

There's more. From Josh Marshall we get the response from John Dean, Nixon White House Counsel, who just happens to be someone who profits from comparing everything about the Bush administration to Nixon.
As the Senate Democrats complete another sad concession to President Bush, and confirms a nominee who refuses to declare “water-boarding” torture, allow me to offer a brief historical reminder: the Senate Judiciary Committee has conspicuously forgotten that there are direct situational and historical parallels with Judge Mukasey’s nomination to be Attorney General and that of President Richard Nixon nominating Elliot Richardson to be Attorney General during Watergate.

Nixon’s Attorney General had been removed (and was later prosecuted for lying to Congress) – a situation not unlike Alberto Gonzales’s leaving the job under such a cloud. Nixon was under deep suspicion of covering up the true facts relating to the bungled break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate, not to mention widespread rumors that he had engaged in abuses of power and corrupt campaign practices. Today, Bush is under even deeper suspicion for activities far more serious than anything Nixon engaged in for there is evidence Bush has abused the laws of war, violated treaties, and ordered (or approved) the use of torture and political renditions, which are war crimes.


Before the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee completely cave-in to Bush, at minimum they should demand that Judge Mukasey appoint a special prosecutor to investigate if war crimes have been committed. If Mukasey refuses he should be rejected. This, indeed, should be a pre-condition to anyone filling the post of Attorney General under Bush.
By not declaring waterboarding torture and illegal, Mukasey has thrown a wrench into their long held fantasy of getting another Watergate and having everybody from Bush on down tried for war crimes. In fact, they have a lot invested in it. For them Feinstein and Schumer are traitors to the cause. That cause, of course, is their being vindicated, because as I said, they've been hoping for a long time and now it's apparently all shot to hell. Perhaps this explains why Dennis Kucinich now is ready to get the ball rolling on impeaching Cheney.