Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

09/05/2008 (5:05 pm)

Biden Verifies the Witch Hunt

Joe Biden was reported by the UK Guardian to have said that he intends to prosecute the Bush administration when he takes office. The video is below. Listen to it carefully:

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air thinks there’s nothing here to get agitated about; he observes that what Biden says is correct, that nobody, not even the President, is above the law. I agree with that particular statement, but I disagree with Morrissey otherwise. There’s a great deal here to get agitated about.

Recall Biden’s comment in the video that Waxman, Conyers, and Leahy are gathering documents and “going through everything with a fine-tooth comb.” Which President’s administration suffered this sort of scrutiny without some prior, clear indication of criminal activity? Which suffered it even with some indication of criminal activity? Where, exactly, does Biden evince a proper role of Congress to carefully scrutinize millions of documents looking, hoping for some indication that a crime has been committed?

This is not legitimate review, no matter how carefully Biden attempts to wrap it in non-committal language. This is a witch hunt. It’s obsessive. It’s deranged. And, even if it’s not strictly unconstitutional, every signer of our Constitution would regard it as gross dereliction of duty on the part of Congress.

We’ve seen this before from the Democrats. Back in the 1990s, Newt Gingrich correctly identified House Speaker Jim Wright’s (D, Tx) illegal avoidance of gift and contribution restrictions (the sort that are intended to prevent bribery); the ensuing ethics complaint forced Wright to resign from the House. Then Gingrich became Speaker in 1994 when the Republicans won the majority in the House. David Bonior (D, MI) proceeded to file 76 separate ethics complaints against Gingrich over the next 2 years. All but one were found by the Ethics Committee to be without merit; on the one remaining issue, they fined Gingrich $300,000 because a single document prepared by his attorney had an inaccurate statement about a college class he’d taught. The complaint was that he’d allegedly violated finance rules by not declaring as a campaign contribution remuneration he received for teaching the course. Three years later, the IRS ruled that no violation of the law had occurred, so in actual fact, all 76 charges were without merit. This was a clear and deeply troubling abuse of government power by Democrats. It is similar to the current irrational rage against Bush in that like the assault on Gingrich, the current rage follows a Democratic presidency that was racked by genuine scandals and which was properly and appropriately investigated by Congress, and like the assault on Gingrich, this assault turns proper governmental oversight mechanisms into weapons for partisan oppression.

Apparently Democrats think they’re entitled to take tit for tat, even when their own are committing real crimes and their opponents are not.

Aside from missing the malignancy of the effort, though, Morrissey nails it with this:

…Democrats have controlled Congress for almost two years now, and they have conducted investigations into these allegations. What have they found? Nothing. The 110th Congress has abdicated all of its other responsibilities to focus on witch hunts, hoping to find a Holy Grail of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Despite wasting thousands of hours and millions of dollars, they’ve come up with a big nothingburger.

The real outrage here is either that the Democrats are so deep into the tinfoil hat brigade, or that they are so incompetent. Neither of those options speak well to keeping them in leadership roles.

Some Republican operative needs to calculate the amount of money wasted on these efforts, since the normal Democratic Party response to any investigation of real crimes by Republicans is a tally of how much it cost — as though there’s a price tag on honest government. But that’s a minor point.

The major point is that the Democrats have no regard for the rule of law. There’s been plenty of oversight, plenty of litigation, plenty of properly-formed legal complaints against what Democrats regard as violations of the Constitution. They’ve lost just about all of them, though they’ve won some. The point is, they’ve used the system that’s designed to exercise checks and balances, but that does not satisfy them. They want more.

I wrote earlier that this could eventually constitute a cause for civil war. If the Democratic party is so deranged that they think it’s appropriate to dig through literally millions of documents hoping to find some grounds for prosecution, which Republican politician will ever be safe?

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