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Monday, June 05, 2006

Napoleon's Ghost in Washington

Suddenly, with the FBI raid on Rep. William Jefferson's office, Congressional leaders appear to be rediscovering the U.S. Constitution. For years now they have looked the other way as President George W. Bush behaved much like an emperor without limits on his authority. They remained mute as he launched permanent wars and authorized unwarranted spying on private citizens. And yet now, in reaction to a search for evidence in the case of the $90,000 in the freezer guy, both parties are crying foul.

Some Republicans are no doubt motivated by a desire to break loose from a President whose policies could cost them control over Congress. For Democrats, the newfound interest in the Constitution could lead to a shift in their own strategy vis-à-vis a President with illusions of imperial power.

Until the Jefferson case, the Democratic leadership had seemed to be pursuing the strategy that General Kutuzov used against Napoleon in the war of 1812. Rather than confronting the French invaders, Russia's commander-in-chief held his troops back, allowing Napoleon's Grande Armée to succumb to hunger and a brutal Russian winter.

But Bush and his political army are unlikely to disappear into a snow bank without a fight, however low his poll numbers might sink. Perhaps the spark of resistance to the office raid is a sign that Congressional Democrats might be coming out of their bunkers to use the power of the U.S. Constitution to hold the President accountable for his actions.

Napoleon's opponents didn't have the advantage of a Constitution to limit his authority. After having himself proclaimed emperor, Napoleon had free reign to make war wherever he fancied. To realize his imperial dreams, he merrily dispatched soldiers from one end of Europe to the other.---------------
read the rest......
Napoleon's Ghost in Washington

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