Carl Bernstein: Senate Hearings on Bush, Now!!

Brian Zick

Bernstein, in Vanity Fair, calls for bipartisan hearings investigating the Bush presidency. Immediately.Carl says: … the truth is we have no trustworthy official record of what has occurred in almost any aspect of this administration, how decisions were reached, and even what the actual policies promulgated and approved by the president are. Nor will we, until the subpoena powers of the Congress are used (as in Watergate) to find out the facts—not just about the war in Iraq, almost every aspect of it, beginning with the road to war, but other essential elements of Bush's presidency, particularly the routine disregard for truthfulness in the dissemination of information to the American people and Congress.The first fundamental question that needs to be answered by and about the president, the vice president, and their political and national-security aides, from Donald Rumsfeld to Condoleezza Rice, to Karl Rove, to Michael Chertoff, to Colin Powell, to George Tenet, to Paul Wolfowitz, to Andrew Card (and a dozen others), is whether lying, disinformation, misinformation, and manipulation of information have been a basic matter of policy—used to overwhelm dissent; to hide troublesome truths and inconvenient data from the press, public, and Congress; and to defend the president and his actions when he and they have gone awry or utterly failed. ---Bernstein's encouragement to Republicans to hold hearings right away, before the November elections, parallels my own advice to the GOP. If the Republicans were to take Bush and Cheney down themselves - now - considerable political benefit would likely accrue to their congressional campaigns. If the GOP wants to retain its power, that is their best option.They would get a President Hastert for the remaining term, and potentially retain congressional majorities. Alternatively, if they keep themselves tied to Bush, they could lose majorities in both houses, plus then suffer the Watergate-like hearings Bernstein has urged anyway, which could ultimately result in twin-impeachment convictions (Republicans won't be able to resist constituent demands to support conviction, when the public hears the truth), and that would then mean a President Pelosi.Sure, that scenario is a stretch. But - as Bernstein reminds - "Republicans on the Senate Watergate Committee, including its vice chairman, Howard Baker of Tennessee ("What did the president know and when did he know it?"), began the investigation as defenders of Nixon." And we all know how that worked out. So maybe not such a long stretch.

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