Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Oh accountability, where art thou?

On this day in 1834, Congress censured President Andrew Jackson for refusing to turn over documents related to his attempts to dismantle the Bank of the United States. How quaint. They scolded Andy for assuming “authority and power not conferred by the Constitution.”

Ah, those were simpler times when Presidents were held accountable for their actions. Look at how standards have changed. We go from one administration where a President is impeached for trying to cover up some high school grope-a-dope action to the next administration, where the President seems unable to commit a crime heinous enough to insight the ire of the Republican led Congress.

“Accountability” has lost all meaning, especially in regards to the current administration. Following Orwellian doctrine, Bush has turned accountability on its head: greed is good, mismanagement is job security and loyalty trumps truth. As a Bush crony, you don’t get in trouble for screwing up, you get the Medal of Freedom.

In Jackson’s day, Congress actually thought it had a role to play in our government. It didn’t take orders from the President. Yes, it was a highly partisan institution then as it is now, but it was not afraid to challenge the executive branch when push came to shove. Today we have a Congress filled with right-wing ideologues who protect the President at the country’s expense and a cowering opposition that is concerned more with public perception than standing up for what’s right.

Hold the President accountable? What a charming notion. We’ll file it under, “The Once and Glorious United States.”

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