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Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007 04:18 am

Congressional betrayal

They really screwed up when they confirmed Michael Mukasey

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Untitled Document President George W. Bush’s approval rating is down to a new low of 24 percent. Before Democrats gloat, however, note that Congress’s approval rating, in the same Zogby Poll, is down to — brace yourself — 11 percent. If the Democratic leadership wonder why they score so low, they might whisper the name “Michael Mukasey.” Bush’s attorney general appointee was supposed to restore the rule of law at the Justice Department, but he stumbled at his Senate hearing by refusing to say whether waterboarding is illegal torture, even though it clearly is a war crime under both U.S. and international law. Mukasey also asserted that Bush has the autocratic authority to ignore or negate any particular law — a direct affront to Congress and the rule of law. Yet the Democratic-controlled Congress didn’t say no. Indeed, Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein led the way to approve him, allowing Bush, once again, to trump the rule of law and the public will. The two Democrats zeroed in on the waterboarding issue, meekly saying that Mukasey assured them in private that if Congress passes a bill outlawing this method of torture, he would uphold it. Hello, Senators — waterboarding is already outlawed! Plus, if you pass another law to “re-outlaw” it, Bush will either veto it or ignore it. And if Mukasey won’t go public with his private pledge to you, why on earth would you believe him? Meanwhile, what about Mukasey’s much more audacious assertion that the president can subvert the laws of our land? It’s bad enough that congressional leaders wouldn’t take a firm stand on torture, but how pathetic that they so easily surrendered their own constitutional powers to Bush. The Democratic Congress’s approval rating is so low because, well, they deserve it. 

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, columnist, and author.
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