Sunday, February 03, 2002

Brian Linse points out this article by John Dean, comparing Cheney's stonewalling on Enron to Nixon's on Watergate. But it seems Mr. Dean may be another conservative (or so I gather from his service to Nixon) who's getting disproportionately obsessed with Enron.

There are a couple of things about this piece that I found disturbing. The first was the banner ad with the dancing monkey that said "SHOCK THE MONKEY... with gorgeous FindLaw apparel!" But the ads are in a rotation, so you, gentle reader, may be spared.

The second was this quote:

In fact, not since Richard Nixon stiffed the Congress during Watergate has a White House so openly, and arrogantly, defied Congress's investigative authority.

This is where Dean goes overboard. In fact, this very administration has been more open and arrogant about defying Congressional authority. For instance, they invoked executive privilege to keep Congress from learning why the FBI let an innocent man rot in jail for 30 years on a murder rap. (This story just keeps getting worse, by the way; according to a recent 60 Minutes story on the case, the star witness at the trial was a mobster who the FBI knew to be the real killer, and memos bluntly describing the whole affair were sent directly to J. Edgar Hoover).

And the administration's open defiance of the Presidential Records act (to cite another of my hobbyhorses) is at least on a par.

Still, Dean's piece is worth reading, for two things. One is to learn how thin and insubstantial Cheney's legal arguments actually are. The other is his discussion of the consequences for checks and balances if the lawless Supreme Court majority that decided Bush v. Gore chose again to side with the Bush administration...


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