Monday, July 23, 2007

The Opinionator: A blog at the New York Times by Tobin Harshaw & Chris Suellenthorp

On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Sen. Russ Feingold renewed his Quixotic call for Congress to censure President Bush. Yet again, the rally cry was greeted by a resounding thud. Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters feels that even as symbolism, censure is pointless. “It would carry no weight nor force any change in policy,” writes Morrissey. “It amounts to little more than a temper tantrum and is at least arguably inappropriate in terms of the Constitutional separation of powers. Congress uses censure to punish its own members, not members of other branches. It has only been used once against a president — in 1834 against Andrew Jackson — and the succeeding Congress vacated it.”

More surprisingly, perhaps, the contributor “intranets” at the lefty collective site ePluribus Media also feels a censure resolution would be foolish: “Senator Russ Feingold proposes a meaningless Censure vote which will serve only to make Impeachment impossible. There is probably only one chance at voting on impeachment. Any impeachment efforts after a Censure vote would have the complicit media yelling foul and labeling Congress as unfairly partisan.”

In any case, it doesn’t look like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is going to put censure on the front burner. “Frankly, we have so many other things to do,” he said on “Face the Nation.”

“At this stage, Russ is going to have to make his case as to why we should do that rather than do our appropriation bills, finish the defense authorization bill, Homeland Security appropriation bill.”