This week Bush admitted to breaking federal law. He is a confessed criminal. He should be impeached and prosecuted, but of course he won't.
For those who have been out of touch on this issue, for the last 4 years, Bush has authorized secret wire-taps inside the United States. Under federal law, this is possible, but only through a certain prescribed process. There is a court that was set up in the 70's that is supposed to give judicial review for all of this type of wiretaps within the United States. This court (and the laws governing it) was set up after the excesses of the Nixon, Johnson and Kennedy administrations in spying on our own citizens.
The law is pretty simple. If the Federal Government wants to setup a wiretap on someone in America, they have to get approval. If they want to keep it secret, they can go to this secret judiciary, setup especially for this process, and get the approval there. They don't even have to wait for approval, they can get approval up to 3 days AFTER they have started the wiretap. The court has approved thousands of wiretaps and only rejected 4, so it is not much of an obstacle.
However the Bush Administration apparently thought it was. Four years ago, they called in the Chief Justice of this secret court, and told her that they were going to be conducting a number of wiretaps outside of her (and her court's) review, and that she must keep it secret, even from the other judges on the court. They then proceeded to break the law, by not notifying the court of wiretaps, and not seeking judicial oversite and approval. They broke the law, plain and simple.
They have lots of excuses for why they did that. Bush has said that it was necessary to keep us safe. He claims that his Administration needs the flexibility to pretty much do anything in order to fight the war on terror. He admitted that these wiretaps occurred without judicial review, and then even said that he would continue to do so. That is like me admitting that I have stolen 50 cars, and I will continue to steal them as much as I want. Maybe I was giving the stolen cars to poor single mothers, so I felt justified. I am sure Bush felt justified in what he was doing, but that doesn't make it legal, and it doesn't make it right.
The really stupid thing is that the court's review is reasonable and not onerous at all. They have up to 3 days after conducting the wiretap to get review, so it is not like it is even a matter of flexibility and speed. They are just so arrogant in their perception of their power, that they no longer believe they have to bother themselves with such pesky things as laws and separation of powers.
The President is not a King. He is not a despot. He is subject to laws just like everyone else, and he should be held accountable for them. The founding fathers set up a system of checks and balances for a reason, and Bush is that reason. He is a man who no longer feels himself checked by Congress (who passed the law he is breaking) or the Judiciary (who he ignored). When a man starts to think he is above the law, that is when the law needs to remind him the reality of the situation.
Now will it happen? Of course not. The Republicans have control of all branches of power, and they are not going to impeach their president. They should of course, but they won't. In fact, this is a perfect example of their hypocrisy and lack of principles. They continually claimed during the impeachment proceedings against Clinton that they were not attacking him as a matter of politics, but that they were simply upholding the rule of law. They claimed that Clinton had made a false statement under oath. That is a breach of law, and they claimed that the fact that he had broken the law meant he needed to be removed from office. In their public statements it had nothing to do with the fact that they hated the man.
Well now of course is their chance to show that they meant what they said. Bush's lawbreaking is far more serious that Clinton lying under oath about an illicit affair. One was a personal infraction that was stupid and wrong, but really didn't hurt the country as a whole. Bush has weakened the very fabric of our constitutional separation of powers, and has violated the constitution. While he has done a huge number of other reprehensible and immoral things (lying almost constantly since the beginning of his Presidency) this time he has come right out and admitted breaking a law, shunting aside Congressional law and Judicial oversite. He is basically saying "Yep, I broke the law, but I am President. What do you want to do about it?"
Something must be done.