Unequal Branches

Knowing a bit about impeachment, John Dean discusses the Kucinich resolution:

Based on conversations with members of the House and Senate, and countless public statements, there is no question that Congress understands that the Bush/Cheney presidency treats its members as if they were, and should be, a decidedly lesser branch. Nixon did the same, but with a difference. When Nixon was president, Congress reached a point where it was determined to end his abuses of presidential power. Yet pointing out this out would have been testifying to the obvious, and there is nothing I could say that would give those on Capitol Hill without spine the fortitude needed to take action. As with Nixon, Congress will have to stand up to the bully at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue on its own – or never do so.

Also, there is no shortage of witnesses who can discuss the abuses of power by Bush and Cheney, to create a record of how they have gone beyond established constitutional limitations. The examples are well-known: their excessive and unnecessary secrecy, their incessant stonewalling and refusal to provide information to Congress, the issuance of executive orders that have rewritten important laws (like Bush’s virtual repeal-by-executive-order of the Presidential Records Act of 1978), their politicization of the Department of Justice, their striking disregard for civil liberties, their exclusion of Congress from the necessary national security information when it votes on legislation like the FISA amendments (leaving Congress with no idea what the changes do or do not do), their deceiving Congress about the reasons for war in Iraq, their relentless expansion of purported executive prerogatives, their ongoing politicization of the federal judiciary, their violations of longstanding treaties in order to embrace a policy of torture, their utilization of the concocted theory of executive power known as “the unitary executive theory,” and their endless signing statements accompanying legislation and claiming the right to not enforce laws enacted and signed by the president. And this is to name merely a few of the matters with which the Congress is painfully familiar