LA Times/Bloomberg: Plurality Supports Censure

The Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg this week became some of the first traditional media outlets to ask intelligent questions surrounding calls for the censure of President Bush. The wording of the poll reads as follows:

Q40. As you may also know, a U.S. Senator has valled for a Senate resolution to censure George W. Bush, which is a formal expression of disapproval, but does not carry any legal consequences. The Senator claims it was illegal for Bush to authorize government agencies to use electronic surveillance to monitor American citizens without a court warrant. What do you think? Do you think that George W. Bush should be censured by the Senate for this, or not?

Yes, censure 46
No, don't censure 45

Rather than framing the question exactly as Bush administration spin would dictate -- i.e. performing electronic surveillance of terrorists -- the LA Times and Bloomberg ask a much more sensible question that actually gets to the root of the issue. And when the question is correctly worded, a small plurality of Americans agree with Senator Russell Feingold that the President should be censured. So much for the theory maintained by Fox News pundits and certain Democratic consultants that the Feingold's move would be the bane of his party...

Tags: Censure, George W. Bush (all tags)

Comments

6 Comments

Censure will not take us anywhere

We need push for something that has a chance to make something happen. Perhaps impeachment in 2007, if the extent of these wiretaps is voluminous, as it appears to be (the AT&T case).


A Comprehensive Plan
for Holding the Administration Accountable

  1. Demand a special counsel investigation into warrantless wiretaps, with suitable clearances being granted for the investigation, and operating in the FISA court, if necessary

  2. Form a congressional panel to look into the classification requirements being claimed by the administration on wiretaps.

  3. Establish whistleblower protections.

  4. Demand telephone companies to cease and desist complicity with wiretaps and other forms of surveillance outside the purview of existing laws including FISA.

  5. Filibuster any bills that attempt to retroactively justify the circumvention of the law by the administration.

  6. Conduct congressional inquiries into the wiretaps (e.g. Sen. Byrd's S. 2362) as well as various other matters of administrative dysfunction (as in Rep. Conyers' HR 635). Sen. Schumer's S. 2468 is of interest as well.
  7. Dem leaders should make extensive media appearances informing the public about the excesses of the administrations and its attempts to sidestep the constitution, and soundly argue for taking appropriate actions to remedy the situation

  8. If the Whitehouse and the Rubberstamping GOP stonewall and shut out getting to the bottom of the NSA wiretaps, then censure Bush.

  9. Appoint a congressional panel to look into rescinding the 2001 AUMF which the administration has been employing as carte blanche for endless war and from which Bush is drawing his purported "authority as Commander in Chief in time of war" to run warrantless surveillance and claim other dictatorial powers. This panel would consider the question of Congress taking back its Constitutional war power.

  10. Optionally, Draft articles of impeachment on Bush's declared dictatorial intent, claims of "unitary executive" privileges, which are instantiated by the arrogation of power on warrantless wiretaps.

Between Plamegate and whatever comes out of serious investigations into wiretaps, we may well be in a place to impeach in 2007.

If and when a case for impeachment gains steam, the Republicans may push for censure as a compromise. Most probably they will do either that or call for Bush and Cheney to resign.

We shouldn't be starting with censure as our desired remedy. That's like calling for a draw before the game begins.

What do you say, Jonathan?

by NeuvoLiberal 2006-04-14 01:20PM | 0 recs
Re: LA Times/Bloomberg: Plurality Supports Censure

I favor seeking censure.

Look...  Censure really has no teeth.  It's little more than a statement of institutional disapproval of what the President has done.  I think the numbers for censure would go up once that became more clear.

We have to do something to make it clear for history that you can't use article 2 of the Constitution to justify any executive branch power-grab that gives the president a woody.  It's vital for the health of our democracy to have this line clarified.  

Impeachment would be better, and I would find it very gratifying, but I do remember the Clinton Impeachment.  It backfired because it was seen (rightfully) as pure self-indulgence on the part of the Republicans.  That is what we need to avoid.  So, yeah, if the support arises later for impeachment, I'm for it, but a censure may be all we need and something feasible to pursue.

by Dumbo 2006-04-14 01:48PM | 0 recs
Politics of censure

The value of censure is not so much the idea of getting it to a vote.

The value is keeping the idea out there, dripping, dripping.  It corrodes Bush in a way less jarring than talk of impeachment, but takes you into the same territory.

Every day the censure question is out there is a bad day for BushCo.  It means people are talking about pinishing him.

by Pachacutec 2006-04-14 01:51PM | 0 recs
Re: LA Times/Bloomberg: Plurality Supports Censure

Surely a 46 to 45 plurality is within the MoE of the poll.  We can't be sure that a plurality supports censure.

but yes, censure is not this radical move, and is supported by a significant proportion of the population.

by Valatan 2006-04-14 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: LA Times/Bloomberg: Plurality Supports Censure

If 52-48 is a mandate, then SURELY 46-45 is a plurality!

by teknofyl 2006-04-14 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: LA Times/Bloomberg: Plurality Supports Censure
As you may also know, a U.S. Senator has called for a Senate resolution to censure George W. Bush, which is a formal expression of disapproval, but does not carry any legal consequences. The Senator claims it was illegal for Bush to authorize government agencies to use electronic surveillance to monitor American citizens without a court warrant. What do you think? Do you think that George W. Bush should be censured by the Senate for this, or not?

I'm still unhappy with the framing. Most of the public knows Feingold is basically on his own with this measure. So when the Times says the Senator "claims," it can convey the incorrect impression that he is making a wild or minority interpretation of the law. There really is no dispute over whether Bush broke the FISA law or not; but he "claims" that he is entitled to do so. The following would be a more accurate and fair wording of the polling question:

As you may also know, a U.S. Senator has called for a Senate resolution to censure George W. Bush, which is a formal expression of disapproval, but does not carry any legal consequences. The Senator believes Bush should be reprimanded because he did not follow the law known as FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) which requires a court warrant to use electronic surveillance to monitor American citizens. What do you think? Do you think that George W. Bush should be censured by the Senate for this, or not?
by jayarbee 2006-04-14 02:57PM | 0 recs

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