Tom Donlan, editorial page editor of Barron’s, has an excellent editorial on Bush’s illegal wiretaps:
“Administration lawyers and the president himself have tortured the Constitution and extracted a suspension of the separation of powers.”
“Putting the president above the Congress is an invitation to tyranny. The president has no powers except those specified in the Constitution and those enacted by law.”
“Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later.”
Donlan concludes: “If we don’t discuss [Bush’s illegal wiretapping] program and the lack of authority for it, we are meeting the enemy — in the mirror.”
Donlan calls for the House Judiciary Committee to investigate Bush’s illegal wiretaps as a possible impeachable offense. Donlan states that any impeachment case would be “about the obligation of the president to follow the rules in the Acts that he and his predecessors signed into law.”
This notion seems profoundly archaic in today’s Washington. It seems like many years – perhaps even in the last century – since a conservative publication proclaimed that the Rule of Law requires the president to obey the law.
If impeachment proceedings begin, congressmen should look far beyond the wiretapping scandal. I suspect that there are other White House secret orders and memos that may make the illegal wiretapping look like jaywalking.