President Stonewall’s Last Stand


If you were looking for a sign of what the president’s attitude toward the new Congress is going to be, you just got it: Harriet Miers is history. The long-time Bush-buddy is leaving because she just isn’t tough enough. The White House, you see, is gearing up for another war. With the Democrats.

Miers, a longtime Bush loyalist whose nomination to the Supreme Court was withdrawn in 2005 as a result of conservative opposition, led an office that will oversee legal clashes that could erupt if Democrats aggressively use their new subpoena power. Bush advisers inside and outside the White House concluded that she is not equipped for such a battle and that the president needs someone who can strongly defend his prerogatives.

You may translate “prerogatives” as “Imperial power grab”. President Stonewall is expecting and determined to repulse any attempt by the Democrats to make his administration accountable.

The effort to form a new legal team anticipates a spate of congressional demands for information on politically sensitive topics such as whether officials authorized the abuse of U.S. detainees, whether the administration turned a blind eye to profiteering by politically connected contractors in the Iraq war, how the White House responded to Hurricane Katrina, and whether senior officials complied with the law in ordering heightened domestic surveillance.

None of those are any of the Democrats’ damn business – or ours – and he’s going to line up lawyers on the front lawn like sandbags to keep the Dems from breaching his defenses. Weenies Need Not Apply.

[S]aid H. Christopher Bartolomucci, a former Bush White House lawyer, “Potentially, it could be a period of conflict with the Hill. . . . It’s not necessarily going to be a bloodbath, but it’s certainly possible.”

Republican advisers have been telling the White House to be ready for war, and many cited Miers as the wrong general. “The White House knew they needed to get a tough street fighter — that’s what this is about,” said one such adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve access to the White House.

The advice, according to this person, could be summed up this way: “You guys better lawyer up, and lawyer up in the right way. You better understand the need and the peril and the urgency. . . . You need somebody as tough as [Clinton aides] Harold Ickes or Bruce Lindsey. Because they’re coming for you.”

So much for bi-partisanship and co-operation and all that happy horseshit. The Democrats get nuttin’ unless they’re willing to fight for it. Bush and his band of neocon brothers are going to do their damndest to make sure that if any truth emerges or responsibility is assigned for 6 years worth of massive cockups, corruption, and Constitution-shredding (and btw, if Miers is such a “ferocious defender of the Constitution” [Tony Snow], what the hell was she doing working for Bush?), it won’t be on his watch. They’re circling the wagons.

Which brings up the question of whether or not Pelosi/Reid & Crew are ready to storm Bush’s barricades. You wouldn’t think so from the way they’re talking.

“I’m going to work on the assumption that there won’t be a problem in getting information,” said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “There has been [resistance] in the past, but we were in the minority. Now, if the committee requests information, [it] will be acting on behalf of the committee and they have a responsibility to respond. I’m not looking for a confrontation.”

Wrong answer – or, at best, an incomplete answer. What he should have said was something to the effect that he hoped there wouldn’t be a confrontation with the WH but if there was, well, the committee has a job to do that the American people asked it to do in November and the committee is going to damn well do it. Or words to that effect.

Henry is a tough little bugger who’s been going up against the administration for years. Normally he wouldn’t be averse to a little mild-mannered intimidation but as Digby points out, the Pubs are circulating a new theme which the MSM is hugging to its bosom and the Democrats may be starting to buy into: the election was really about “bi-partisanship”.

You see, the Republicans had no choice but to treat the Democrats like garbage. The Democratic minority kept putting them on the defensive. And the Republicans are understandably still upset about it.I have been watching this theme emerge for days now and it’s starting to crystalize: apparently the Democrats have been keeping the Republicans down for years (since at least the 50’s!)and the Republicans are very bitter about it. The overwhelming issue in the November election was the deep desire out in the country for the congress to work tegether. That’s why they voted for divided government.

Who put the acid in the DC water supply?

If the Democrats allow this to become the prevailing belief – and so far, like Waxman, they haven’t said what they need to be saying to undercut it – they’re going to find themselves trapped in a NeverNeverLand where the Pubs will be chopping them off at the knees and the Dems will be apologizing for forcing them to be so vulgar. Will they rise to the challenge? If you’re Marc Cooper, you’re not holding your breath.

I can’t decide which event was more over-hyped by CNN. The funeral of Gerald Ford? Or the self-glorification rites of Pelosi’s Congressional Democrats?Choose either one and you come to the same conclusion. Americans — or at least their cable networks– are totally bereft of historic memory. Ford was an unelected lackluster President who had already been forgotten and exiled to the sandtraps of Rancho Mirage. The “new” Democrats sworn-in on Thursday are actually the Old Democrats who seem congenitally incapable of generating at least one, single, new idea.

The polls showing that 60% of Americans are “optimistic” about the 110th Congress reveals just how fed up they are with Everything Bush. But, man, are there gonna be a lot of disappointed folks 5-6 or months from now when they realize the Democrats have changed little or nothing in their lives (even that much over-rated minimal minimum wage hike is going to affect just 2-3% of the workforce). And that the war is likely to roar ahead.

He’s got a point. The “100 hours” business is a stage show, a limpid copy of Gingrich’s 100 days in ’94, so not only do they not have an original idea, the ideas they’re copying are Republican.

I can’t bring myself to believe this is a good sign.

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