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What's most important about winning the House? Pelosi: "Subpoena power"

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Rose Siding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 07:05 PM
Original message
What's most important about winning the House? Pelosi: "Subpoena power"
This is an AMAZING article. If you ever wondered: Do they have a plan?, or Do they know what they're doing?, you must read "Pelosi's Moment" by The Nation's William Greider.

I just (finally) got excited about the implications of a Democratic House. Snips don't do it justice, but here goes:

Even if Republicans hold on to the Senate, a House majority for Democrats will gain voice and leverage, plus the clear power to block what remains of Bush's right-wing agenda: tearing up Medicare or repealing the estate tax and other tax relief for capital. The Democratic House caucus would be freed to set its own agenda and act on it. That dynamic will change the national conversation in the run-up to the next presidential election.

If this happens, expect a flurry of long-stalled but popular legislation to be passed promptly in the House, with likely votes from nervous Republican moderates. Freewheeling debate will be revived. The interplay between House and Senate will suddenly require compromises with liberal Democrats instead of the lockstep conformity imposed by the Bush White House.


Not ONLY will bush's disastrous agenda be foiled and replaced with things that people actually care about, it gets even better:

Perhaps most significant among the changes if the Democrats take over is that the new Democratic committee chairs would be able to launch myriad hearings and investigations--the oversight Republicans have virtually shut down. That includes contracting scandals and governing breakdowns in the executive branch, constitutional abuses by this President and the gaping holes in America's system of elections. The House could become center stage for the war debate, with Bush's lieutenants under oath required to answer their critics. Oversight is one of the core functions of Congress. Because Republicans have willfully shunned it, oversight hearings have the potential to expose scandal and produce shocking headlines. Pelosi was asked what was most important about regaining majority status. "Subpoena power," she said.


Beyond that, the piece breaks down some of what the would-be committee chairs have been working on, from investigations ready-to-go -Conyers on Bush's constitutional abuses, Waxman on fraud and waste, Dingell on oil companies, Markey will take on the FCC- to pre-counted vote totals in a dem House to details on all sorts of deliciously Democratic legislation.

Greider wraps up with some advice:

Pelosi has the sure footing to step up the pace as circumstances improve, but she needs outside help. She will be aided if others turn up the heat on her, raising their expectations for what Democrats can achieve. The newly revived Progressive Caucus is already playing that role. Its members are now nearly one-third of the Democratic caucus. Co-chairs Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee will push big questions others aren't yet ready to face--like cutting the military budget and reviving the commitment to eliminate poverty.

The outsiders in the party--rank-and-file voters, issue groups and ankle-biting bloggers--should get closer to the Congressional action and insinuate themselves as friendly critics of what the party is doing or afraid to do. Banging on Bush is always worthwhile, but banging on Democrats may now produce results.


I don't know whether to start singing We Shall Overcome, or just quote Commander Codpiece, who said (repeatedly one afternoon) "the stakes couldn't be higher". So volunteer, write an editor, find another $20 for a progressive and savor the possibilities.
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Bitwit1234 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 07:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. Third in Line
Knowing that the so called president and vice president could both be impeached and removed from office, and if a democrat becomes Speaker of the House, that person would then become president and the shit would really hit the fan. Everything and I mean everything this president has done to foul up this country and the world will be brought to light. AND DON'T THE REPUBLICANS KNOW IT. That is why we should expect something outrageous to try to stop the democrats from taking over the house. I would not even put an attempt to assassinate a key democrat from these ruthless republicans. or bush declaring martial law and suspending elections.

Truthfully this could be a very dangerous time for this country.
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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
2. One potential bonus, ALONE, is worth this: John Conyers heading
the Judiciary Committee.

Savor the possibilities...

:toast:
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Rose Siding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. No kidding -and there's so much more in the works
Miller has environmental and labor legislation for which he's *already* counted the votes. And look at Barney Frank's plans:

Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts liberal who would chair the Committee on Financial Services, wants to legislate across a broad front and predicts, "We are going to frame these things so a lot of Republicans are going to have a hard time voting no." His committee's jurisdiction would let him take up predatory lending, unregulated hedge funds, consumer protection from financial fraud, Federal Reserve policy, the IMF and World Bank. He wants to give shareholders the power to reject the swollen pay packages awarded to corporate executives. He wants to start a major inquiry into income inequality, both in America and the global economy.

I swoon. -Especially considering Conyers, as you note, et al.

Once dem issues are out in the open -on the floor, in front of everyone- repubs have to fall in line -it would be politically suicidal to oppose them. How do they explain to voters that they oppose min wage or environmental action or roll back on oil company tax give-a-ways?
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beaconess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-15-06 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. Four committees would be chaired by African Americans - a first!
Edited on Sun Oct-15-06 12:10 PM by beaconess
Judiciary - Conyers
Ways and Means - Rangel
Homeland Security - Thompson
House Administration - Millender-McDonald

Appeal to Racism alert - notice that when Republicans try to instill fear in voters at the prospect of a Democratic victory, right after they chant "Speaker Pelosi," they almost invariably point out that Judiciary will be headed by Conyers and Ways and Means will be chaired by Rangel - those are usually the only committees they mention. Wonder why.
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pat_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
4. Pelosi: 'We dont have time for that (impeachment)'
Edited on Sat Oct-14-06 10:54 PM by pat_k
. . .Ms. Pelosi, mindful of the power of the Republican charge that the Democrats will spend the next two years on partisan payback, explicitly ruled out impeachment of Mr. Bush in an interview on Thursday. 'Absolutely,' she said. 'We dont have time for that.'. . .


Congresswoman Pelosi has ruled out impeachment. If she keeps her word, bushcheney "rule by signing statement" is secure.

How can any agenda that deliberately leaves the massive power of the American Presidency in the hands of a rogue syndicate be considered a "positive agenda"?

I find it hard to get excited at their "plans."

When your house is burning, do you plan a renovation project?

The nation's House -- the institutions and principles established in our Constitution -- is burning and we are hearing promises to start a renovation project instead of making some attempt to put out the flames.

The executive branch under Bush and Cheney is not enforcing the good laws that already exist. Bush nullifies anything decent that does get passed with signing statements.

Every day that Bush and Cheney wield the massive power of the American Presidency they conspire to steal billions from the American people to line the pockets of their cronies and gather ever more power to themselves -- and every day adds dollars and decades to the burden on our children. Every day they tear down international bridges that are the heart of our security. Every day they continue to systematically destroy the treasured principles and institutions we established in our Constitution.

When the police pursue a drunk driver, they are doing so for one reason: to protect the public by pulling over and taking the keys away from a driver who is out-of-control. The police are sworn to protect the public. The power to apprehend is the weapon we gave them to fulfill their oath. When the public is threatened or being harmed the police are sworn to pursue, whether or not they think they will successfully apprehend.

Just as the police are sworn to protect the public, Congress is sworn to defend the Constitution. The power to impeach is the weapon we gave them to fulfill their oath. When the Constitution is under attack from within they are sworn to act, whether or not they think they can successfully remove the attackers from power.

Each Member of Congress took an oath to defend the Constitution. The oath is an individual oath. The choice an individual choice:

  • Accuse Bush and Cheney of nullifying our Constitution with their fascist fantasy of an American unitary authoritarian executive. Call on their colleagues to rescue our constitutional democracy by impeaching and removing them.

  • Give Bush and Cheney cover by keeping silent or by promising NOT to impeach. ("If we were nullifying the Constitution more members of Congress would be demanding impeachment; they are not. Ergo, we are doing nothing wrong."). Be accomplices to the crimes against the nation.

Instead acting to fulfill their sworn duty, the so-called Democratic "leadership" is promising to be derelict in that duty.

My hope for the future does not lie with them; my hope lies with us and the citizen lobbyists who are determined to Wake Up our representatives to reality. Impeachment is the only moral option. Impeachment IS Our Positive Agenda. (What could be more positive than reasserting our collective sovereignty by taking power back from a usurper?)
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Rose Siding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 10:51 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Questions: How many times has a party recaptured Congress
Edited on Sat Oct-14-06 10:51 PM by Rose Siding
by running on an impeachment platform? (that's probably the most germaine to the topic of impeachment, as nothing -nothing- happens without control of the House)

Secondly, do you know of any prosecutors who draw up charges before a crime is investigated? Are those prosecutions ever successful?

And finally, do you happen to know the wordage of the question Nancy was asked for which she gave the answer you cited in that partial snip? Is that transcript available? I'm just wondering if the question might have included any reference to impeachment as a campaign issue, which could alter the meaning a bit. -not that it matters too much to me. If getting it off the table was the way to take the House, and thereby begin investigations, I'm good with that.
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pat_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. "When the congressional Democrats failed to pursue impeachment as . . .
Edited on Sun Oct-15-06 12:07 AM by pat_k
. . .the necessary response to the Iran-Contra revelations of rampant illegality in the Reagan White House rejecting the advice of Henry B. Gonzalez, the wily Texas congressman who alone introduced the appropriate articles in 1987 they thought they were positioning the party for victory in the coming presidential election. Instead, Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush, having recovered from the gentle slap on the wrist he received from Congress for his own involvement in the scandal, was elected to the presidency in 1988 by a landslide, and expected Democratic advances in Congress failed to materialize.

"Pulling punches in a political battle usually results in a knockout, with the party that holds back collapsing to the mat and struggling, often for a very long time, to finally get up again. And the Democratic Party of the George Herbert Walker Bush years, with its inexplicable penchant for pulling punches, runs the very real risk of being flattened not once but repeatedly if it fails to confront the issue of rampant wrongdoing on the part of the Bush administration." More from John Nichols "The Genius of Impeachment"


I continue to be mystified by the almost universal blindness to the risks of failing to demand impeachment and removal when the actions of our high officials demands it.

By not running on impeachment, if they win back the House they condemned themselves to being viewed as hypocritical cowards when they finally realize impeachment is a moral imperative. Americans don't look kindly on people who only "fight for principle" when it's safe. When a person is truly fighting on principle they don't wait until there is no risk involved to do it.

There is no higher principle than defending the Constitution. It trumps party; it trumps fear of failure. Their oath has no exceptions. (e.g., "Only do your duty when a member of your own party is third in the line of succession.")

In this case, impeachment wasn't just the right thing to run on, it was the WINNING thing to run on ("Impeach now and swear in President Hastert, or look forward to swearing in President Pelosi in 2007"). The Number 1 problem the Democratic Party has is the perception that they are weak and unprincipled. If they stood strong, accused and demanded impeachment, they would have blown the perception that they are weak out of the water.

Instead, they continue to confirm the wimpy Dem image when they say "Don't worry, we won't impeach anybody!" When they say they have no intention of impeachment, they aren't just breaking their oath, they muzzle themselves. (If you accuse bushcheney of crimes, why aren't you impeaching? Since you won't impeach, you can't accuse. If you do accuse them of destroying our constitutional democracy, but refuse to demand impeachment, you are a wimp who is unwilling to back up your words with action.)

Even though they have condemned themselves to looking like partisan cowards, if they win back the House the only moral option open to them is to do everything in their power to see Bush and Cheney impeached and removed.

When principle demands action you must either act or betray the principle you claim to be committed to.




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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 10:55 PM
Response to Original message
6. K&R
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-15-06 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
8. It's what I've always said
Control of Congress is all about TWO things - Committee chairmanships and subpoena power.

Without those two things, you're powerless.
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