- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Now that the pre-eminent constitutional scholar and sometime speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has determined that she is by fiat the commander in chief of our armed forces and secretary of state as well, it is time to consider the consequences of her actions by the same rules. If she commits “high crimes and misdemeanors” within those parameters indicated by the Constitution, would she be liable for removal from office by impeachment?

As luck would have it, the impeachment process begins in her own House, and since she has proclaimed herself virtually the entire executive branch of government, it follows that she might no longer have the constitutional protection of members of Congress who can be removed from office only by a vote of their colleagues in their own legislative body.

On the other hand, if the House would vote a bill of impeachment of Mrs. Pelosi, would that, by reason of the aforementioned rule, automatically remove Mrs. Pelosi from office, thus making the impeachment moot? Oh, these fiats make everything so complicated.

So filled with herself by her elevation to high legislative office as a result of the elections of November last, she embarked on a state visit to the Middle East contrary to the policy of the president of the United States, and appeared to be negotiating with nations hostile (read as “enemies”) to our country against the interests, and without any authority, of her own country.

Headlines from the Middle East trumpeted her warm welcome in Syria and by the current government of Israel (which is inept, unpopular and soon to be replaced). Is anyone surprised? Unquestionably, the leader of Iran felt left out. Perhaps he released the British sailors to get Mrs. Pelosi’s attention.

Furthermore, at her command, the “war on terror” is being banned in all legislative language, and the movement of our troops is now to be a function of her military whim, based of course on her many years as a military strategist and combat veteran.

Actually, according to Mrs. Pelosi and some of her colleagues, there is no longer a need for the executive branch of the American government. Congress can handle it all quite well, thank you, and “Shrub” Bush would be well advised just to host state dinners for visiting chiefs of state before they consult with the speaker.

To further increase their popular support, and to ensure their total victory in 2008, Mrs. Pelosi and her Democratic allies in Congress and in state legislatures are proposing massive tax increases and vast new spending programs. Of course, they are blaming all of our problems on a conspiracy of the rich, and promise to punish these individuals for their successful entrepreneurship. That’s the ticket. The year 2008 will be a landslide.

I am pleased to note that President Bush has not entirely retreated from the field, and unless I have missed something very important, our generals and their troops still report to him.

Not to be outdone by their colleagues in the House, the Senate exacted some gratifying revenge on Mr. Bush by blocking his nominee to be ambassador to Belgium, Sam Fox, who had incidentally contributed to the Swift Boat campaign in 2004. The target of that campaign, Sen. John Kerry, was reported to have received some satisfaction when Mr. Bush withdrew the Fox nomination.

Just as he, as well as those Democrats and members of the media who relish Mr. Bush’s decline in the polls, were savoring their victory, the president, obviously self-deluded that he was still “chief magistrate” of the nation (George Washington’s phrase), appointed Mr. Fox to be ambassador on a recess appointment, his term to be exactly as long as if he had been confirmed by the Senate.

No doubt, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, recognizing only Mrs. Pelosi to be in charge, will accuse the president of breaking the law by exercising his constitutional authority (which, of course, has been abolished by Mrs. Pelosi’s fiat).

In Europe (which is accustomed to these matters), Mrs. Pelosi’s behavior and actions would be called an attempted coup d’etat. Europeans will be polite, nonetheless, and will not say this aloud, because frankly they are secretly pleased that George W. Bush is apparently no longer in charge.

So we are at a constitutional stalemate. Who’s in charge of the executive branch? The speaker of the House or the president of the United States? The only way to settle it, I think, is to impeach the impostor, whoever she or he may be.

Barry Casselman writes about national politics for Preludium News Service.

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