cross posted at mediocris
Ruth Marcus of the post nails the Bush Administration's treatment of congress this morning. During Monday's Senate Appropriations hearing, Bush's two top mine safety officials walked out, despite the Chairman's request that they stay:
The administration's two top mine safety officials had finished testifying, but Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) asked them to stick around for an extra hour in case other questions came up -- as is the panel's custom. Sorry, said David G. Dye, the acting assistant secretary of labor for mine safety and health. He and Ray McKinney, the federal administrator of coal mine safety, had too much real work to do to sit around listening to a group of pesky senators...
Specter...dryly noted that the assembled senators also had some "pressing matters" on their plates. "So we don't think we're imposing too much to keep you here for another hour," he said. At which point the administration officials walked out a back door of the hearing room.
More below the fold.
[T]his, in a nutshell, is the way this executive branch treats its supposedly equal partner: as an annoying impediment to the real work of government. It provides information to Congress grudgingly, if at all. It handles letters from lawmakers like junk mail, routinely tossing them aside without responding.
It unabashedly evades the need for Senate confirmation of officials by resorting to recess appointments, even for key government posts; see, for example, the recent recess appointments of the top immigration official, the number two person at the Defense Department and half of the Federal Election Commission.
It thinks of congressional oversight as if it were a trip to the dentist, to be undertaken reluctantly and gotten over with as quickly as possible. Most astonishingly, it reserves the right simply to ignore congressional dictates [i.e. laws] that it has decided intrude too much on executive branch power. President Bush's thumb-in-the-congressional-eye statement when he signed the bill banning torture of detainees, in which he announced that he would construe the law "in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President," is one recent, and flagrant, example.
Read the whole piece if you can, I would encourage it. She goes on to hammer Bush on his supposed "congressional briefings" on the illegal wiretaps.
For my part, I believe that this sort of behavior, more than anything else, is what eventually could flip a key number of Republicans over to the side of impeachment. The Bush Administration is routinely rejecting the Constitutionally mandated system of government.
And, more importantly to a lot of these GOP congressmen, the Bush Administration is giving them absolutely no respect. I don't know how much longer Congress can be expected to play the whipping boy to the Bush Administration, especially a lame-duck administration loaded with scandal and disasters.
Perhaps all of the talk about Impeachment isn't too out of line after all...