Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wyden NO Wimp

on Iraq...
But on Impeachment he is WRONG


Oregon's "senior" senator Ron Wyden held a town hall meeting at PSU this afternoon and the hall was full. I remarked to a fellow sitting next to me how few students were at this university venue, whereupon he reminded me it's the middle of summer. I do need to get out more, or at least look once in a while at a calender. But what's the point when Congress has utterly failed to set a timetable for withdrawl from the quagmire which is the Iraq occupation.

It should be said that Wyden stands as one of the more consistently principled anti Iraq-war voters in the US Senate. Attendees were given a two page "Iraq War Timeline" which chronicled the senator's many votes which attempted to reign in Bush's reckless foreign war policy. Sadly it's a long list of failures. The amendment failed. The amendment failed. The amendment failed.

Wyden attempted to take impeachment off the table at this town hall, but the People wouldn't stand for it. Either obliquely or directly the questions kept coming back to the topic of impeachment and the senator tried repeatedly to mollify the crowd. The attempts failed. The attempts failed. The attempts failed.

The first question came from Joe Walsh, a US Navy veteran. His question was pointed (at the senator especially): "Do you have any idea how angry so many of us are at the Democrats?!" Joe's question touched not only on the new majority (D) party, continuing to fund the fiasco but also Congress's criminal lack of oversight in not holding the Bush administration to account. Joe is among the many veterans who currently are protesting outside the local offices of Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who inexplicably is willing to give Bush, Cheney & Co. a pass on all their criminal, unconstitutional misdeeds.

Regarding the abuses of King George's rule, Wyden had to concede "They are way over the line." Asked if the war itself was illegal, or if the administration was conducting it in ways which were unconstitutional, Wyden sidestepped the direct question. The People wanted an answer however and a later participant stepped up to reiterate the line of inquiry, noting the previous attempt at obfuscation. On the ropes, Wyden could only do that which politicians are trained in doing. He answered out of both sides of his mouth.

"I brought up the arguments that say [the war's] illegal"
"It's hard to make the legal case that it was illegal"

For weeks now, Wyden has been trying to lend a sympathetic ear to impeachment advocates (a majority of his constituents) by saying, should the House vote to impeach, he would look at the issue very carefully. Knowing the stranglehold the "democratic" leadership has on it's rank and file in Congress, he's taking what he believes to be an easy out.

Ron Wyden is confident he'll never have to deal with impeachment in the Senate, and in many ways, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because of his lack of leadership in exercising his Constitutional duty to provide checks and balances, our only hope is that the People will lead. They didn't come today with torches and pitchforks. Instead they were armed with the truth and pugnacity. There were catcalls from the crowd to be sure. I was sitting in the front row, close enough to be spat upon as the senator narrowly missed stepping on my toes. So i didn't mind if i stepped on his toes as i shouted out:
"You need to call your congressman, Senator"

Somehow, i doubt that Wyden will be calling Wu anytime soon to encourage him to step up and do the right thing. That task is left up to US.

[Part two: Town Hall.]
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3 comments:

maloney said...

Good on you Thom. I don't have a lot of faith that the Oregon Delegation will lead the charge on Impeachment, but it's good to keep the pressure on. That's the only way it happens.

Mark said...

Nice take, Thom. Maybe torches and pitchforks will come sooner than we think...

Thom said...

I feel like i'm standing on the head of a needle with disillusionment on all sides.

Party insiders are so calculatingly cautious, it makes me want to puke. Their daggers seem to only come out when a true progressive has the temerity to call them on their wimpishness.

Besides Kucinich and Feingold, where are the true progressive Dems?