Monday, June 25, 2007

Softball with Chris Matthews

Where to begin? With free campaign ads.

Once again we see a show containing a variety of free campaign ads shown by NBC under the pretense that their presence on the web makes them news. (At least they acknowledged the obvious, that Fred Thompson's slickly produced evasion of any discussion of health care was a pre-campaign campaign spot.) I hope this does not mean that the networks are going to pick winners and run their spots for free, like they did when they endorsed the assertions of the so-called Swift Boat Veterans, yet that is what I saw tonight.

One thing about this campaign is already obvious to me. Only one candidate has raised enough money to run an ad that he actually pays for on one of the various cable channels that I watch. Mitt Romney. I have seen several of his paid ads over the past month or two, and none by any other candidate. The others are getting theirs run for free.

Then there is the question of the Vice President's branch of government.

Lots more softballs pitched on that one.

It is fine with me if the Vice President asserts that all of his actions have been performed within his single Constitutional duty: serving as the President of the Senate. That means that he was not a member of the executive branch when he participated in all of those meetings, which means he and (more importantly) no one else at those meetings has a right of executive privilege if asked questions about them. Those meetings are just like any other one where a member of Congress is present, with no expectation of executive privacy.

It also suggests to me that the President Pro-tempore of the Senate has the same authority granted to the President of the Senate by the President of the United States whenever the President of the Senate (the Vice President) is absent. That would include classifying and declassifying documents for any political purpose, even if it were to harm national security like the V.P. and his minions did by outing every covert agent who had ever worked with Valerie Plame on the single most important issue of our time: nuclear proliferation. However, I would suggest the President Pro-tempore focus on rendition and torture at the behest of some members of our government.

But if he wants to claim that any of his discussions are subject to executive privilege, as one might suspect due to his office being in the White House and Executive Office Building, then he must be bound by all of the laws that apply to any other person acting in the government at the behest of the President. Or be impeached for failing to do so.

No comments: