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Under Oath, On The Record, & In Public

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Believe it or not, for the first time in over six years, George Bush has said something that I agree with. But, I'm not gonna tell you what it is up front. That was just the tease. Read on, and you'll see what I mean.

Of course this all has to do with the confrontation-du-jour between the Executive and Legislative branches of our government - in particular, the scandal involving the dismissals of eight US attorneys. I'm not going to get into the specifics of this scandal, because I've already done that once, and certainly there have been many other bloggers and journalists who've articulated all the points ad nauseum.

My shtick at this juncture is to ask a tough question of the Bush Administration - Why are you insisting on shielding your senior officials from answering questions from Congress UNDER OATH, ON THE RECORD, AND IN PUBLIC? The only possible reason for this is that they have things to hide.  Of course they have many things to hide, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. After all, we don't want our enemies finding out things they shouldn't. The Bush Administration has been THE MOST SECRETIVE of any presidential administration ever. The real question we need to answer is - are they hiding some wrongdoing? Or.. Have the Bushies been naughty?

Under Oath

Ab-so-frickin'-lutely! The Bush Administration officials, as well as any and everyone who comes before Congress or any hearing or any courtroom should be giving their testimony under oath! There should be NO room for ambiguity as to whether or not their testimony is honest, and there should be serious consequences for knowingly making false statements (perjury). I'm sick & tired of the White House's consistent & persistent pattern of lying!

We've gone through this before with Dubya and the 9/11 commission. There's no reason whatsoever that ANYONE should be exempt from being honest when testifying.

On The Record

You mean we shouldn't write down what you say? Why bother saying it if you're not going to own up to saying it? Once again - ridicules. This has to do with oversight and checks-&-balances in our government. EVERYONE should be accountable for what they say and do, and there should be NO ambiguity as to what was said simply because it was "off the record".

In Public

Here's where I agree with George. I don't believe these hearings should be in public. In fact, I think they should be closed-door hearings so that NO ONE outside of the Congressional committee (and necessary staffers) and the questionee are in attendance.

In this way, each administration official testifying will not have visibility as to what the others testified. Sure, they can try to coordinate their stories, but if they don't know what each of them said, there's a better chance of catching one or more of them in a lie when their stories don't synch. They'll be even more compelled to tell the truth, and there'll be no objections about national security if it's not broadcasted to the public.

At the pleasure of the President

Jon Stewart had a great sketch on how the right-wing talking points espouse presidential prerogative.  The Daily Show put together a montage of clips of each neo-con saying essentially the same thing - "... [so-and-so] serves at the pleasure of the President...".

To that I say "THE PRESIDENT SERVES AT THE PLEASURE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!". Somehow Emperor George seems to have forgotten that. We are his boss, yet he continues to thumb his nose at us. Usually that kind of insubordination will get one fired. We should be so lucky.
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Scott Shuster is a progressive columnist, publishing since May of 2005. His liberal ideology is a refreshing diversion from 'politics as usual' in Washington.
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