Bush Blasted for Usurping Congress on Auto Bailout: Sen. Inhofe Defends the Republic as a Modern Cicero
By Julian Dunraven, J.D., M.P.A.
Heeding the overwhelming will of the people-- and perhaps at last developing a bit of good sense-- the U.S. Senate has rejected the idea of a bailout for the Detroit automakers. If we were still following that dusty old parchment called the U.S. Constitution, the matter would have ended there, at least until the next president takes office. As we have been ignoring the Constitution for a while though, the story continues.
President Bush declared that the Senate, far from rejecting the bailout, simply failed to act. On that flimsy pretext, he will use $15 billion of the $700 billion bank bailout to aid Chrysler, GM, and Ford. Although Congress authorized that money only for the financial services industry, there has been no oversight, and the Bush administration has already altered the implementation of the bailout several times without consequence. Thus, despite the fact that such actions completely usurp the Legislative branch and represent a total betrayal of our Constitution, the Bush administration is proceeding without hesitation.
At least one of our senators, though, is refusing to retreat quietly into irrelevancy. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), one of the most staunchly conservative members of the Senate, is fighting back on behalf of our republic and the Constitution. Like a modern day Cicero, he issued a philippic against Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the Bush administration declaring:
"As the Bush administration changes course once again, it is becoming clear to me that Washington, D.C. might be completely out of control.
"How have we come to a point that Congress--the institution that represents the will of the American people--has handed over so much money and authority to the Treasury Secretary that, if the democratic process fails to achieve a certain desired outcome, the outcome is simply ignored? The stated purpose of $700 billion bank bailout was to rescue us from a catastrophic breakdown of the financial system. Now we're told that the money might be used to bailout the auto companies because legislating their multi-billion dollar gift from the U.S. taxpayer might come with conditions that were too inconvenient for interested parties. I've been a U.S. Senator for some time, and I have never seen anything like this.”
Sen. Inhofe is correct. Congress has been lax in its duties and handed over far too much authority to the executive branch, which is now running roughshod over our republic and tearing the Constitution to shreds, while claiming that it is all justified because we face an emergency situation. Yet, that sort of justification is precisely what our Constitution and its processes were created to guard against in the first place.
It has gone on too long. When we suffered a terrorist attack and faced two wars, Congress handed the President unprecedented powers, both domestically and militarily, which the Supreme Court is still trying to cut back to constitutional levels. Congress sat by while the President made use of torture, suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus, spied on our own people without warrants, and otherwise made a mockery of our Bill of Rights—because it was an emergency. When the financial crisis hit, Congress again handed the president such sweeping power over our financial system that the U.S. government overnight gained more control over private industry than is exercised by the socialist government of Hugo Chavez's Venezuela. Our money printing has ballooned to a level not seen in the world since the French Revolution—increasing the money base almost 80%--over 40% in the last month alone. Now, the President even presumes to ignore express will of the first branch of government entirely—because it is an emergency.
Our republic is in grave danger. Though I may disagree with Sen. Inhofe occasionally on social issues, I cannot deny that he has both integrity and honor. Already, he has had my respect through the financial crisis because of his determined and reasoned opposition to the woefully irresponsible and ill planned bailouts. Now, though perhaps already too late, he is trying to defend the Constitutional process that defines this nation. For that he has my utmost admiration. I only hope he has more success than Cicero himself, and that his colleagues, and we the people, have enough courage and conviction to join and support him in his opposition to this madness which, as he states, “will not only be futile, but will also move this country further from those first principles that have made us the great nation we are today."