Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A very good sign

This is one of the most encouraging things I've heard from Barack Obama, Obama would ask his AG to "immediately review" potential of crimes in Bush White House by Will Bunch Philadelphia Daily News blog 04/14/08. I've been concerned that Barack's repeated desire to achieve a post-partisan status and join hands with the Republicans might lead him as President to take the approach Jerry Ford took to Watergate, i.e., try to sweep everything under the rug. Here is Bunch's quote from Obama on the topic:

What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney General immediately review the information that's already there and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can't prejudge that because we don't have access to all the material right now. I think that you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated. You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve.

So this is an area where I would want to exercise judgment - I would want to find out directly from my Attorney General - having pursued, having looked at what's out there right now - are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important - one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing betyween really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity. You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town hall meetings and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional circumstances. [!!?!] Now, if I found out that there were high officials who knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law - and I think that's roughly how I would look at it. (my emphasis)
It's not ideal. Any prosecution of Cheneygate crimes will be attacked by the Republicans as vicious partisanship. And the implication that he doesn't at this point see the administration's crimes as "exceptional circumstances" is an unpleasant jaw-dropped. But I'm glad to see Obama taking the position he outlines here. I hope he goes much further in that direction.

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