Welch’s Promises of Accountability Up in Smoke

Today over on his Salon.com blog, Glenn Greenwald once again highlighted the ineptitude of the Democratic-led Congress in dealing with the corrupt, law-breaking White House, here. This put me in mind of Peter Welch’s response to Vermont citizens calling for Bush and Cheney’s impeachment last spring. Welch is Vermont’s freshman Representative. Here’s a quote from the Vermont Guardian (full article here):

Welch, along with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, issued a joint statement after the state Senate vote, urging Vermonters to let a series of investigations currently underway to be completed.

Welch reiterated that in an interview with the Guardian.

“My hat is off to the citizen activists in Vermont for bringing their case to the Legislature; they are representative of the proud tradition we have in Vermont to speaking out,” said Welch. “People are expressing broad outrage about this president’s handling of the war, his treatment of civil liberties, and the use of bogus intelligence, and there is a lot of common ground here on holding the president and vice president accountable. The major question is the best way to make that happen.”

Welch said the current investigations on everything from the war to the firing of U.S. attorneys are potentially the beginning of further action, not the end. He said the current probes into the Bush administration are akin to the congressional investigations into the Nixon administration.

The difference now from the days of Nixon is that the Congress back then had balls. I expected Welch to be ineffectual — he did, afterall, cave in to Republican Governor Jim Douglas on key healthcare legislation in ’06 when he was in the Vermont State Senate.

I had hoped for more from Pat Leahy, but he has been a big disappointment as well. If Greenwald is correct — and his track record is pretty darn good — then Leahy is helping to sell out his constituents once more by helping Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid push through legislation that fails to stop warrentless eavesdropping by the government and grants retroactive immunity to law-breaking telecomm companies. Once telecomms get their immunity, it will be virtually impossible to investigate and expose the extent of Bush’s illeagel wiretapping. Here’s how Glenn put it:

If and when telecom immunity is passed… forever extinguishing any hope of investigating and obtaining accountability for the President’s illegal spying programs…

 In other words, Leahy is helping to undermine the very investigations that he and Welch promised would lead to consequences for the White House. Ha!

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