To-Do List

New column’s up:

In a vague order of priority known as “things I’d like to see them do,” here are the tasks which could face a Democratic Congress:

A repeal of the Military Commissions Act, signed by the president last week, which condones torture and cancels out centuries of established law by giving the executive branch the right to determine, on its own and with no oversight, who does and does not deserve a hearing on the charges against him. The law is monstrous, unnecessary, and unworthy of a great nation, and erasing it from the books should be a new congress’s first priority.

The rebuilding of New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast. The devastation of the Crescent City was not caused by Hurricane Katrina but by the failure of the government-built levees surrounding the metropolis. Those levees have not yet been rebuilt to sustain another Katrina-level storm, and much of the area remains destroyed by water damage. A major effort is needed to make this part of the country a priority for all of America.

Hearings on the Mark Foley scandal. The Republican Congress held hours of hearings on whether former vice president Al Gore used the wrong phone to make fundraising calls, but acts as if it is allergic to the same treatment for a congressman’s sexual harassment of a teenage page.

As many resolutions as it takes to make the president realize it is time for our troops to come home from Iraq. No more false markers for progress, no more rosy predictions, no more “as soon as the Iraqis stand up.” It’s time to stop pretending things will get better and paying for those delusions in American blood.

And last but not least, the question of impeachment. I don’t bring that possibility up lightly. The Republican Party showed America how terrible our politics can be when they wielded impeachment as a political cudgel. But because the GOP used this most severe of penalties for trivial indiscretions does not remove it from use for addressing the grave transgressions of peddling falsehoods to take a nation to war, condoning torture, and increasing terrorism around the world. Impeachment deserves at least to be considered with regards to this president.


7 thoughts on “To-Do List

  1. A very good, but partial listing of the jobs facing a Democratic Congress. Personally, I would not list the Foley matter as a high priority, preferring instead to tackle the problem of lobbying. Hearings into the outright bribery aspects of that lobbying would definitely be in order, followed by a Congress rule prohibiting any thing of any value from passing from a lobbyest to a Congressperson.
    Now, if the Senate remains under Republican control, I can easily see nothing whatever happening for 2 years. The goal then would have to be coming in first in the public’s eye on how the Congressional job was done when the 2008 election rolls around.

  2. You forgot the Patriot Act. Repealing that abortion would be very near the top of my priorities list.
    Also Medicare Part D and the ban on government negotiating with Big Pharma.

  3. As I said over at digby’s place, I want lots of investigations. But I’ve started to think that maybe the best approach for Dems is to frame the idea of conducting congressional investigations along the lines of the South African Truth Commission.
    Under cover of the lament that the system is so broken it will take drastic measures to fix it, the Truth Commission angle positions the investigations as a way to find the facts, not to assign blame. But they will of course do just that, without us having to say so. And yet, even saying that there has been so much systemic abuse that it warrants that kind of approach is damning. The idea is to trade impeaching the President and busting a few of his cronies now for discrediting the right and strengthening the left for years and years to come.
    The right will squawk, throwing up smoke about partisan witch hunts, etc. So we offer to essentially give some sort of immunity to all but the worst crimes, in exchange for laying out all the facts, in public hearings on TV every night in crystal clear detail for months and years (say until after the next presidential election) on end.
    And then we dive in, redoing all of the 9/11 investigations, taking down McCain by redoing his fake investigations of Abramoff, digging into Iraq War war profiteering, airing the use of propaganda against the American people, really airing the facts about spying on the American People, torture, election suppression, Valerie Plame, etc.
    Just put it all out there every night, progamming investigations like a television season, saving Foley and Hookergate for sweeps week of course. Might even beat a network or two.

  4. Congress just needs to tighten the purse strings on Iraq. Prohibit the expenditure of funds. The hell with gestures like ‘resolutions.’

  5. This is a losing strategy. Tightening the purse strings means leaving troops with inadequate equipment, not paying the troops, cutting back on support functions in Iraq, to the detriment of the troops, etc. This gives the Republicans a golden opportunity to propagandize about how Democrats hate our boys on the front line in the war …blah..blah…blah.
    The most the Democratic Congress can do is to revoke their authorization for the war, but this is also a losing strategy for obvious reasons, not to speak of the fact that such a new resolution would be ignored by Bush, and rightfully so. Congress’s only role in warmaking is to declare war – after that it is the President who has all of the authority.
    There are many ways Congress can put pressure on Bush, from refusing to approve any of his appointments, to ignoring any proposals from him, to outright expressions of contempt for him. Those are where any battles will be fought.

  6. One of the first things that would need to occur if the Democrats take one or two Houses of Congress would be to inoculate the public over the many landmines that will have been planted by Rove and his minions. Remember the fake keyboard and porn stuff that the Clinton staff was supposed to have sabotaged as they left the White House…these guys were projecting.
    I am sure the Rovian slime machine will turn immediately into an offensive endeavor and they will work hard in ruining any efforts the Democrats will try to do. Transparency will help, immediate response will be necessary on the inevitable shit that will hit the fan.
    Be prepared. Be forewarned.

  7. I think I need an award for mixing my metaphors. I’ll blame daylight savings…or something.

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