Does Bush's actions require censure or Impeachment?
Like many Americans, I've long been concerned regarding the manner in which President Bush misled our country into the war in Iraq. I've been concerned by the scorn President Bush has shown for our obligations under the Geneva Conventions with respect to the torture of prisoners. However, it is President Bush's acknowledgement that he repeatedly authorized wiretaps of American citizens, without obtaining warrants, which appears to directly violate American law.
There may be some explanation offered by President Bush regarding both Iraq and our torture policy which might render it inappropriate to impeach him on these grounds. With respect to the topic of spying on American citizens, though, there is no "wiggle room" for this president.
Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 1978, with the explicit intention of striking a balance between the legitimate requirements of national security on the one hand and the need both to protect against presidential abuses and to safeguard personal privacy on the other. In his self-admitted violation of this law, President Bush has thrown down the gauntlet. He has challenged Congress, declaring himself to be above the laws of our nation. Congress must now respond forcefully.
In 1998, the U.S. House found that President Clinton's lies regarding his private sex life constituted "high crimes and misdemeanors." President Bush's self-admitted violation of the FISA appears to be an infinitely more serious matter. Should the president be censured for his actions, as suggested by Senator Russ Feingold? Anyone with a full understanding of the law and of the president's own statements should answer affirmatively. Political gamesmanship, however, has left Senator Feingold with few allies on this question.
The sad fact is that Feingold's call for censure does not go far enough, and would be nothing more than a symbolic gesture. Congress should be demanding full-scale investigations of this president, investigations which might ultimately result in his impeachment and removal from office. My opponent, Tim Johnson, has failed the citizens of Illinois' 15th District by quietly standing by during this time of crisis. As our next Congressman, I'll defend our Constitution to the best of my ability, without concern for political game-playing or partisanship.