Im surprised by the publics anger over this. When a GOP operative first emailed me about the White House meeting where Bush called the Constitution just a goddamned piece of paper, I put it aside as one of many reports I get about the Presidents temper tantrums.
Bush lashed out at an aide who dared question him on the USA Patriot Act. Thats typical Bush. We started reporting on the Presidents outbursts last year and those tantrums are now widely reported now by the so-called mainstream media.
As Evan Thomas and Richard Wolfe write in the current edition of Newsweek:
We get tips about Bushs temper and his comments all the time. Most of the tips dont get used because we dont go with information from just one source. The tip about the goddamned piece of paper seemed destined for the byte bin until a second aide, in casual conversation, mentioned the comment.
So I called a third source who has confirmed information in the past. At first he was defensive.
Look, you know how the President is, he said. He gets agitated when people challenge him.
All I wanted to know was did the President of the United States call the Constitution a goddamned piece of paper.
Yeah. He did.
So I went with the story. To me it was just another example of a President who too often lets his anger get the better of him, particularly with anyone who dares disagree. I didnt see it as a rallying cry for those who either want Bushs head for his various misdeeds or mine for daring report them.
Some say Bush should be impeached. Sorry, I dont agree. Hes not the first President to consider the Constitution an expendable document and he wont be the last. Most Presidents have complained that the Constitution gets in their way.
Teddy snapped back: Why destroy the beauty of the act with legalities?
Presidents, by their nature, look for ways to skirt the law when that law gets in the way of their agendas. If we impeached every President who disregarded the Constitution when it didnt suit his purposes we probably would have tried just about every President in the last 50 years.