Mr. President, when the President of the United States breaks the law, he must be held accountable. That is why today I am introducing a resolution to censure President George W. Bush.He must be held accountable.
The President authorized an illegal program to spy on American citizens on American soil, and then misled Congress and the public about the existence and legality of that program. It is up to this body to reaffirm the rule of law by condemning the President’s actions.Bush authorized an illegal program.
All of us in this body took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and bear true allegiance to the same. Fulfilling that oath requires us to speak clearly and forcefully when the President violates the law. This resolution allows us to send a clear message that the President’s conduct was wrong.The President violates the law.
I wondered what our two Pennsylvania Senators had to say about the resolution. Let me amend that. I really don't know yet, but I am pretty sure Senator Man-on-Dog will say something idiotic and embarrass himself and every other citizen of this Commonwealth.
But what did the sane half of our Senatorial duo say? Here's a "live blogging" description from thedailybackground.
4:52 Specter takes the floor. Says subject matter is worth debate. Wants Feingold to stay on the floor, and asks him to return to debate with him. Describes Feingold’s speech as a “long sollioquy”.So our "sane" Senator's rebuttal is this: Bush couldn't be guilty of breaking the law because the law in question is unconstitutional. The law is almost 30 years old - and good ole Arlen is just discovering its unconstitutionality now? Georgia10 at dailykos is absolutely correct:
4:54 Specter says that although he agrees with many of the statements made in Feingold’s resolution, he thinks the censure resolution is “way over the top”. Feingold doesn’t seem to be returning.
4:58 Specter seems to be saying that the President has the power to do what he is doing, under the Constitution. He says that the President’s constitutional rights are above statute (FISA). Specter says that if Attorney General Gonzales is correct, then the President is legally okay.
5:00 Specter is basically saying that Article 2 of the Consitution superceeds any laws that the President may have broken. Specter says either the President should brief the Senate and House intelligence committee, or ask them to change laws about briefing, which require them to do so. He says there should be no in between. He says regarding not leaking– yes, Congress leaks, but that the White House leaks too, and neither have a perfect record.
5:04 Specter conceeds that he doesn’t “know what the [NSA] program is” and that Gonzales wouldn’t tell him at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings.
Specter's arguments are nothing more than strained and baseless legal tripe meant to distract the public from the gravity of the President's crimes. The Constitution unequivocally gives Congress the right to regulate all powers "vested" in the Constitution, and that includes the inherent power claimed by President Bush. Congress chose not to abdicate its constitutional powers in 1978, and it cannot chose to do so now.Oh Arlen, I am so dissappointed in you.
Russ Feingold, Arlen Specter,