By David Swanson
I've decided to drop my advocacy for the impeachment of Cheney or Bush and focus on something more realistic: making Senator Hillary Clinton our next emperor. After all, when the candidate is someone good, you should want them to have as much power as possible. Bear with me a minute, and I think you may agree.
Now, electing Clinton as the 44th President is one thing, and that would be wonderful. But what makes that task truly historic and worth devoting our energies to for the next year and a half, or longer if the election is disputed, are the extra benefits.
First, we would be giving Hillary Clinton the undisputed right to spy on her political opponents without any warrants or judicial review. President Bush spies on whoever he wants, without legal justification or explanation. A federal court has ruled that spying a felony. Bush openly admits that he does it. And Congress has rolled over and given Bush the A-OK. At first Congress's acquiescence disturbed me, but then I caught on to the strategy. The Democrats running the Congress want Hillary to have the same power. Pretty smart, huh?
Second, we would be bestowing on Hillary just as surely as Paris Hilton is going to inherit hotels, the right to kidnap people without telling anyone, to hold people in secret dungeons without notifying their families or any legal counsel, to ship people off to foreign lands to be tortured, and to torture people herself or murder them. Are you watching your back, Grover Norquist? Now might be the time for that radical surgery you've been considering, Rush.
Oh well, sure, you may be thinking, but Congress could make those practices illegal again.
But don't you get it? That's the beauty of this. All of those practices always were illegal and still are. And if Congress says otherwise, Hillary can draft a terse little "signing statement" and tell them to stick it up their conservative male… and another thing, come to think of it, is what Hillary can do with the Department of Homeland Security, after renaming it the Department of It Takes a Village. She can hire some relatively articulate schmuck to periodically announce that his gut tells him the right wing conspiracy is infiltrating our towns and planning an attack. Added bonus: it'll actually be true. So, Hillary will be able to seize even more power than Cheney and Bush did!
Wow, I almost peed in my pants there. Calming down for a second, let's be serious. The point of electing Clinton as the new emperor is that nothing she says will have to be true. If she wants to launch a war, she can make up a bunch of bull, feed it to Congress, threaten to accuse them of being wimpier than a girl, and start the $%&%^** bombing! And if the lies come out, it won't matter, because we've already established that under Bush and Cheney. And perhaps just as importantly, we've established that the Emperor can simply not tell anyone what's happening and take the money they need from the Pentagon and just do it. Talk about a dream scenario. Ka-ching!!
Oh, and if you're starting to think that the media might revert to, you know, practicing journalism, that's covered. Bush and Cheney have established that an emperor can hire reporters, bribe reporters, blacklist reporters, produce your own media – even including phony video news reports – and lock the media out of war coverage. They've even targeted reporters in their war and killed them. Then they've paid newspapers in a country they're occupying to print what they want. And the genius of letting them get away with it is that Hillary is smarter than they are and will do a more effective job of using all the same tricks now that they've been established as acceptable.
But here's the really tricky part, and I readily admit that this is the weak link in this chain. A fundamental ingredient in the recipe for turning the presidency into an imperial throne has been our willingness to look the other way when the president steals elections. How can we make sure that Hillary Clinton has the power to steal elections without first stealing an election for her? It's the ultimate chickenhawk and egg dilemma, and it's important that we think it through.
There's going to be a temptation to get the public overwhelmingly behind the Democrats by impeaching Cheney and Bush. The thinking would run something like this: "If we give the public what it wants and show that we stand for the rule of law and are capable of enforcing it, we'll win with such a huge margin that nobody will be able to steal the victory from us. And if we fail to convict Cheney or Bush in the Senate, the Republican senators who block it will be out on their ears. We win either way."
I assume you've already spotted the problem: if you reinstate the rule of law, then you might elect Hillary as President, but she won't be Emperor.
So, let me suggest a different approach: Cut a deal. Cut a secret deal with Bush and Cheney. Hillary will pardon them and Halliburton of any crimes, honor their service, place a monument to them on the National Mall, and rename the occupation of Iraq, "Operation Dick and Dubya". Only a Democrat can promise those things. In exchange, both camps will agree to steal the election for Hillary.
Then… watch out world! And, Sean Hannity? Get yourself a personal Blackwater contingent.
I think this can be done. I know it sounds utopian. The biggest danger, I think, is that Republicans will catch on too soon and start saying things like Bruce Fein said on Bill Moyers' show last weekend, start pushing the old quaint idea that impeachment protects us all.