When Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers refused to comply with House subpoenas over the U.S. Attorneys scandal, the Judiciary committee voted to hold them in contempt. That was in July. A vote from the full House was required to make the subpoenas official, but such a vote was delayed for the August recess. When the recess ended, the leadership decided to again delay the vote, so people could learn more about it. That was September. In November, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers made the White House a final offer, the White House didn't comply, and the bold House leadership promptly delayed the vote until December, which somehow turned into January. So, today Politico is reporting this:
House Democrats will postpone votes on criminal contempt citations against White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers, while congressional leaders work with President Bush on a bipartisan stimulus package to fend off an economic downturn, according to party leaders and leadership aides.
Senior Democrats have decided that holding a controversial vote on the contempt citations, which have already been approved by the House Judiciary Committee as part of its investigation into the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, would “step on their message” of bipartisan unity in the midst of the stimulus package talks.
Right. Or maybe it's just another excuse for not forcing a long overdue Constitutional showdown.
When have the Republicans ever exhibited "bipartisan unity?" And more importantly: what does passing a stimulus package have to do with trying to enforce the rule of law? And why would Democrats think that pursuing these subpoenas would somehow so ruin the atmosphere that Republicans wouldn't work with them on such a package? Fed Chief Ben Bernanke is reported to be telling people that the economy is in much worse shape than he's admitting in public. Are the Republicans in Congress going to stand in front of the TV cameras and explain to the American people that they refuse to help a teetering economy because the Democrats are being mean to Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers?
The Democrats continue to fail to force confrontations with the Bush Administration. An Administration of which at least 60% of all Americans disapprove. The Administration continues to act with impunity because it knows it can get away with it. Because the Administration knows that however egregious its behavior, no one will do anything about it. The Administration believes it is above the law, and until someone proves otherwise, it is.