More proof from Washington today that accountability, justice and the rule of law are taking a back seat to the ugly politics of foreign policy and election year posturing inside the Beltway.
There is simply no other way to explain the comments of democratic Wisconsin senator Russ Feingold on Meet The Press this morning:
"The worst thing we could possibly do is what Vice President Cheney and President Bush did which was take us into an unnecessary war - that had nothing to do with 9/11 - on false pretenses. They have done the worst thing that has ever been done in this regard."
Sounds good if you're in favor of impeachment, right? Feingold mentioning the unnecessary, illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq (note to all you hopeless neocon semantics: Feingold's failure to mention the illegal part does not make the invasion magically legal), an illegal warrantless wiretapping program, the president violating his oath of office and defiling our Constitution by declaring himself to be above the law, and Feingold's own words from the July issue of GQ magazine, as quoted by Tim Russert:
"Problem is, George Bush has committed a more clearly impeachable offense than Clinton or Nixon ever did."
And more of his own words on MTP this morning:
"I think the claim...the extreme claim that under article two of the Constitution, the president can make up whatever laws he wants, is one of the greatest threats to our system of government....I do think it is the greatest threat to our republic."
It may seem at first glance that we've finally got somebody in Washington with the nerve to demand real accountability, but we all know first glances can be deceiving. Indeed, before you launch a petition to put Feingold's face on Mount Rushmore, read on, folks.
"So logically you're suggesting that George Bush deserves impeachment."
"No. I think he's committed an impeachable offense, in other words something that could be within that category, but that doesn't mean we should do it. That doesn't mean that it's the right thing for the country to say it's in the best interest of America to actually remove him from office. I question that....I think it would be disruptive to America to have an impeachment proceeding. I think it would be sufficient to say ‘Mr. president, you broke the law.'"
He went on to say that Bush should accept censure (the political equivalent of a slap on the wrist), admit he got carried away while "honestly" trying to protect the American people with the illegal wiretapping program and say he's sorry.
Russ Feingold publicly revealed himself today for what he really is: Just another cowardly Beltway politico, throwing grass in the air to see which way the wind is blowing, hoping to come down on the correct side of the electoral fence in a 2008 run for the presidency.
For Feingold to suggest that we should tell the president of the United States that he broke the law (which Bush has unquestionably done and continues to do – willfully and maliciously), but then say that simple censure and an apology is an acceptable way to rectify the situation, is to expose his stated concern for the "greatest threat to our republic" represented by George W. Bush as wholly disingenuous.
Sorry Mr. Feingold, but we need some real public servants in Washington.