Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The horror, the horror

...from my pal, Judd Williams
The dateline is April Fools Day, but it sounds so much like this administration it's hard not to take it seriously.

Doug Mills/ The New York Times

JACKSONVILLE, North Carolina. April 1
Vice President Cheney delivered a speech early Sunday morning before a formation of soldiers at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The speech was not publicized and the prepared remarks were intended to boost troop morale. The comments were fairly unremarkable except for one short comment near the end of the speech in which Mr. Cheney suggested that the Bush Administration may seek to challenge the 22nd amendment in the 2008 presidential election in an effort to ensure that the war in Iraq is successful.

Mr. Cheney again cited the war in Iraq as a key component in the effort to combat terrorism, saying "The war in Iraq is such a crucial part of the greater war on terror that we currently have our legal advisors looking into the possibility that the 22nd Amendment may not apply in 2008."

Because the speech was not publicized and was held on a secure military base, very few journalists were present, and none were able to ask questions about what the Vice President's comments might mean. Repeated efforts to contact the Vice President's Office to clarify the comment were unsuccessful.

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution prohibits U.S. Presidents from running for a third term, stating "

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice...". The 22nd Amendment was passed in 1951 after President Franklin Roosevelt broke a tradition that dated back to George Washington, in which Presidents voluntarily refused to run for a third term.

Political pundits and Constitutional experts are split on what the Vice President's comments could mean. Some see the comments as an effort to extend the Administration's "war powers" due to the fact that the country is at war. They argue that there is a tenuous case to be made that the 22nd Amendment doesn't apply during war time since the Congress waited until after WW II to introduce such an Amendment. Others say that the mere fact that the country had just ended the war in 1951, when the Amendment was passed, suggests that the Congress would have put such an exception into the language of the Amendment if they had intended it not apply during times of war.

Others say that the Bush Administration will argue that the 2000 race was not actually decided by an election and that the Bush administration has technically only been "elected" once since the Supreme Court's Decision in Bush v. Gore effectively nullified the popular vote. Anonymous sources inside the White House have corrborated that this may indeed be the Administration's plan.

Arguing that it was not actually elected would be a very interesting approach for the administration to say the least, but most experts agree that it is certainly possible given the Bush administration's history of creative interpretation of the law with regard to such cases as:

• the assertion that The Geneva Conventions do not apply to U.S. detainees captured on the battlefield,
• suggestions that the legal definition of "torture" only includes activities that cause death or organ failure,
• the argument that U.S. Citizens do not have a right to "due process" if declared "enemy combatants", which was recently rejected by the Supreme Court,
• Attorney General Albert Gonzales's testimony before Congress that the Constitution doesn't guarantee U.S. Citizens a right to Habeas Corpus,
• The Administration's claim that the FISA law does not apply to their warrantless wire taps of Americans.

Critics of the Administration argue that these cases are all the proof needed to believe that The Bush Administration would try to argue that its own victory in 2000 demonstrates that it could run for a third term in 2008.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worst. Nightmare. Ever.

8:02 PM  

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