Daschle on Bush’s Abuse of Power

Tom Daschle was once a liberal fighter with muscle and backbone. Then the right-wing slime-machine began targeting him as Satan (yes, they called him that). spread rumors about him, sent those rumors to registered voters in South Dakota, and made a national, concerted effort to unseat him. They came close, too. So Daschle backed off, backed down, and all but disappeared. But he held onto his Senate seat and his position as Minority Leader, and maybe that’s the name of the game.Now the momentum is shifting, the Bush Admin is falling apart, Junior’s numbers are in the toilet on everything but security and shaky there as well, thanks to Clarke, and Tom’s seat is probably safe again, so we’re at last being treated once more to the Daschle we used to know. In spades.

On the floor of the Senate day before yesterday, Tom finally let fly. In a stirring speech that called the BA to account, Daschle defended Richard Clarke’s testimony and blasted the BushBabies’ omnicient sliming in its larger context–Abuse of Power.

We can and should debate the facts and interpretations Clarke has offered. But there can be no doubt that he has risked enormous damage to his reputation and professional future to hold both himself and our government accountable.The retaliation from those around the President has been fierce. Mr. Clarke’s personal motives have been questioned and his honesty challenged. He has even been accused, right here on the Senate floor, of perjury. Not one shred of proof was given, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to have the perjury accusation on television and in the newspapers. The point was to damage Mr. Clarke in any way possible.

This is wrong–and it’s not the first time it’s happened.

After going through a laundry list of BushBaby attacks on both Democrats and Publicans–McCain, Cleland, Larry Lindsay, Shinseki, Foster, Paul O’Neill, Joe Wilson. et al–he starts closing in:

The common denominator is that these government officials said things the White House didn’t want said.********************

This is no way to run a government.

The White House and its supporters should not be using the power of government to try to conceal facts from the American people or to reshape history in an effort to portray themselves in the best light.

They should not be threatening the reputations and livelihoods of people simply for asking – or answering – questions. They should seek to put all information about past decisions on the table for evaluation so that the best possible decisions can be made for the nation’s future.

Yeah, well, I ain’t holding my breath. But Daschle wasn’t just calling them on the carpet; he was prepared to threaten retaliation.

We’re seeing it again now in the shifting reasons the White House has given for Dr. Rice’s refusal to testify under oath and publicly before the 9-11 Commission.The people around the President first said it would be unprecedented for Dr. Rice to testify. But thanks to the Congressional Research Service, we now know that previous sitting National Security Advisors have testified before Congress.

Now the people around the President are saying that Dr. Rice can’t testify because it would violate an important constitutional principle: the separation of powers.

We will soon face this debate again when it comes time for President Bush and Vice President Cheney to meet with the 9-11 Commission. I believe they should lift the limitations they have placed on their cooperation with the Commission and be willing to appear before the entire Commission for as much time as the Commission deems productive.

This was Tuesday. Daschle’s veiled threat must have worked because yesterday Alberto Gonzales sent the letter that said Rice would be allowed to testify if the WH could control the appearance of the Prez and the Veep.

There’s something to be said for backbone, guys, but let’s watch the price we have to pay. Some prices, we can’t afford. As Randi Rhodes said to Ralph Nader, “Sometimes I see a beautiful pair of really expensive shoes but I can’t afford them, and if I can’t afford them I have to go without!” Make sure you check the tag before you buy the product; the BA has a tendency to overprice its inventory.

(Thanx to Seattle for the link and eagle for the goose)

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