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Prepare to Impeach Obama if He Accepts Unconstitutional Powers

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With Obama backpedaling on the investigation of torture and other Bush crimes, his promised rollback of unconstitutional Executive Branch powers seems in peril.  On the prosecution of Bush crimes, Joe Biden has already given the standard slimeball cop-out you would expect from Joe Biden: "We're looking forward, we're not looking backwards."  On Obama's transition website, the question which outranked all other questions from the public was on the appointment of a special prosecutor, submitted by Bob Fertik of  The question was disregarded, even though it had the most votes, as having been "already answered."  

And today in the New York Times Obama signaled his reluctance to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate torture and warrantless wiretapping, until there was evidence.  Bush admitted to approving torture, illegal surveillance, there is blood all over the floor and five bodies heaped in the corner.  But we need evidence.

But the case can be made that if Obama refuses to do his duty to uphold the Constitution, then at some point when he has reasonably been given a chance, the focus of the Bush impeachment movement should transfer to him.  By not explicitly renouncing the Executive Branch's new powers to declare American citizens as "enemy combatants" indefinitely, to torture them as they did Jose Padilla, to engage in warrantless wiretapping, and to break the law with impunity, he implicitly accepts these unconstitutional powers.  Absent an explicit renunciation of these and their accompanying, unconstitutional legislative counterparts like the Military Commissions Act, he will be acting outside the law, as George Bush was, and he will be passing these powers on to his successor.

The economic crisis will deepen into a Darwinian quagmire no matter what Obama does.  In the end it will end as all depressions end: with the strongest fatter than ever and everyone else pretty much starting all over again.  This is not about another temporary economic cycle.  It's about what form of government we will live under for the next one hundred years.

Obama is in a tenuous position, and it would behoove him to understand that there are those on his own left who take the constitutional form of government seriously.  With powers in his own party already signaling that it will not be an easy ride, by balking at what should be an uncontroversial element in his tax plan, a $3000 tax credit  for companies which hire or retrain workers, he is looking at hostility from both the right and the left.  It's starting to look like Jimmy Carter all over again.

As an outsider and relative newcomer it was planned by the Washington establishment to make Carter look like he could not do anything right.   His excellent plan to start us on our way toward energy independence was torn to shreds by members of his own party, just as Obama's tax-cut plan is getting picked apart by John Kerry and other Democrat blowhards.  Contrast this to the discipline of the Republicans, who sing in unison to get things passed, and move anyone who steps out of line to an office in the basement where you can hear toilets flushing.  The Democrats did it to Carter because he was not one of the Old Boys, and he was impinging on their own power and prerogatives, and their buddies in the auto and oil industries. 

There is already a vigorous impeach Obama movement afoot on the right, driven by right-wing radio.  The problem for Obama is that this means 60 million people are listening to this day-in and day-out, and the power of right-wing radio to shape the debate should never be underestimated.  This might be a good time for the Constitutionalist Left to make a strategic alliance with them.  No, I don't think expanded healthcare is socialism, one of the main beefs of the movement on the right, but I am ready to make common cause, for my own reasons, if it will save my beloved Constitution.

The Constitutionalist Left can use the momentum already set into motion by the Impeach Obama Right, to make sure that Obama hears them.  We can be Obama's best friend or his worse nightmare.  If he does the right thing, we can sit in the offices of the John Kerry's of the world and ask them to shut their traps so Obama can get something done.  If Obama does not restore the Constitution and prosecute Bush crimes, then he is just as bad as the rest. 

If history follows the pattern that it did with Jimmy Carter, Obama will be a one-term president with many idealistic pronouncements but few accomplishments.   He can stave off this fate with a bold restoration of democracy, by repealing the Military Commissions Act, renouncing enemy combatant status for Americans, and prosecuting illegal wiretapping and torture. Then we'll be happy to ride herd on these Democratic congressmen when they start throwing monkey wrenches at his agenda, as they surely will.

It's not that I don't trust Obama with the new Executive powers toolkit being handed to him by Bush.  It's that I don't want him to pass it on to the next guy.  God forbid a fascist swine like Jeb Bush, who'll make his brother look moderate, take hold where George left off, and take it from there.  A couple of terror attacks and he'll have a grip on the country Hitler could only dream of.  He'll have the technology, and be all of Bush's amorality plus some brains.  Now that's scary.

By allying with the Impeach Obama Right for our own reasons, it can be the not the right, not the left, but the American people who win.

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Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He writes for Truth Out, Alternet, Consortium News, Op-Ed News, and other Internet media. He reported from Afghanistan in 2009 and produced a short documentary film on (more...)

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