People are wising up
Many Kansans, including members of The Eagle editorial board, have long admired Sen. Pat Roberts for his plainspokenness and reputation for fair brokering of issues.Writing blank checks? Where have I heard that before?
So it's troubling that Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is fast gaining the reputation in Washington, D.C., as a reliable partisan apologist for the Bush administration on intelligence and security controversies.
We hope that's not true. But Roberts' credibility is on the line.
From Abu Ghraib abuses to secret CIA detainee prisons to the Valerie Plame affair, critics say, Roberts has become a dependable shill for the White House, ever ready to shield Bush policy from criticism and ever willing to compromise Congress' legitimate oversight role.
A prime example: He has dragged his feet on a promised but long-delayed Senate investigation into whether the White House cherry-picked and amplified prewar intelligence to fit its preconceived goal of invading Iraq.
This week, Roberts sidetracked a Senate Intelligence Committee inquiry into the possibly illegal National Security Agency wiretap program, saying the White House had agreed to brief lawmakers more regularly and to work with him on a behind-the-scenes "fix" of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act...
What's bothering many, though, is that Roberts seems prepared to write the Bush team a series of blank checks to conduct the war on terror, even to the point of ignoring policy mistakes and possible violations of law.
That's not oversight -- it's looking the other way.
And, as long as we're reminding people today about the kind of people Republicans used to pretend to be, let's recall something Roberts once said.
Are we to have standards for the President different from standards applied to other citizens? Americans long ago rejected the imperial presidency. The President is not above the law. He is not a king.
In arriving at the conclusion this President should be removed from office I weighed whether his actions damaged the national security of the United States. Again, I concluded that the President, by his actions, has severely damaged his ability to act as a leader in the community of world nations at a time when solid leadership is needed.
This President has lost respect of our allies. His actions have emboldened our potential enemies, creating opportunities for them to act adversely to U.S. interests. Our foreign policy is adrift. The consequences to this generation and future generations are severe...
What is material is that the President of the United States is not credible. He is not trusted. He cannot act in the best interest of America.
He has lost the moral mantle of leadership.
He has selfishly placed this nation in jeopardy.
It is precisely this kind of situation, I am convinced, that worried America's founding fathers as they devised the impeachment mechanism to remove a sitting president whose actions endangered the republic.