When George W. Bush was installed as President of the United States of America by the Supreme Court, a lot of us Democrats really wanted to take him at his word when he said he would be a “uniter, not a divider.” He also said that Democrats were going to be surprised. We sure were. Apparently, George’s way of working with Democrats was to say, “if you’re with me, I’ll cooperate, but if you’re not, we’re going to have a problem.”
Six years later, with American voters handing a mandate to Democrats all over the country to enact change on their behalf, Bush is expected to deliver a speech this afternoon calling for unity. We have heard this story before. On the anniversary of September 11th, Bush made a public call for unity, then followed it by saying on the campaign trail that the Democrats’ only idea for national security would be to “wait until we are attacked again.” Comments like that hardly work to foster a spirit of unity.
I hope that Bush will indeed work with Congress to get something done during his last two years in office, but that hope is tainted by his actions of the past six years.
One of the key points on the Democratic agenda will be to reign in some of the power that the executive has staked out for itself over the past six years. That isn’t likely to meet with much approval from Bush and Cheney, and one blog noted the following:
Bush and Vice President Cheney have made the expansion of executive power one of their hallmarks, and advisers say they do not plan to give up any of the ground they have won without a fight all the way to the Supreme Court. “We’re going to have a fierce constitutional showdown over the boundaries of power between the executive and legislative branches,” one adviser said. “The executive usually wins those battles, so we think we’ll consolidate our gains.”
If America voted for anything last night, it was for checks and balances… For oversight. The fact that this is one particular area where the White House will be unwilling to give any ground doesn’t bode well for the next two years.
For all the talk about “witch hunts,” impeachment has been publicly announced by Nancy Pelosi as being “off the table.” That does not mean that people who have committed crimes will be let off scot-free in a new wave of generosity from the new majority party. People will be held accountable. If the Democrats clean up the system and truly “drain the swamp,” as Pelosi suggested they will, they will be rewarded with more time in another two years. If they spend the next two years simply issuing subpoenas and spinning their wheels going after Republicans, they will prove that they are no better than the party that preceeded them. America voted for change, and that didn’t mean just a change of party. The Democrats asked for the opportunity to change Washington, and now is the time to make good on their promise. The real challenge will be to enact change with no cooperation from the executive. Whatever the words that eminate from the White House this afternoon, we already know the character of George W. Bush. He said one thing in 2000 and then proceeded to rule like a king. He claimed the United States should be “humble” in its dealings with other countries, then when elected, he changed the U.S. foreign policy to one of superiority by military supremacy and reserved the right to pre-emptively attack countries that posed any military threat.
People like George W. Bush do not change. When they are confronted with their transgressions, they stand their ground and show their anger at being caught. The next two years are not going to be easy. I hope the Dems are up for the battle. Our healing as a nation depends on it, as does our standing in the world.