I’ve been getting a lot of e-mail about this clip of Joe Biden speaking at a campaign event yesterday in which he promised to go after the Bush administration for “violations of the Constitution”. Readers believe this to be an outrage, and perhaps it is, but for another reason altogether than what they think:
Biden’s comments, first reported by ABC news, attracted little notice on a day dominated by the drama surrounding his Republican counterpart, Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
But his statements represent the Democrats’ strongest vow so far this year to investigate alleged misdeeds committed during the Bush years.
“If there has been a basis upon which you can pursue someone for a criminal violation, they will be pursued,” Biden said during a campaign event in Deerfield Beach, Florida, according to ABC.
“[N]ot out of vengeance, not out of retribution,” he added, “out of the need to preserve the notion that no one, no attorney general, no president — no one is above the law.”
Quite honestly, there’s nothing objectionable about this statement. Who could object to holding elected officials accountable for crimes they commit in office? In this case, Biden is completely correct — no one is above the law, and we need to make sure that we don’t set precedents that undermine that concept.
Note too that Biden says If. If violations occurred, they plan to investigate them. As long as they stick to that approach, that seems not just fair, but fundamental to good government.
However, the real story here is that Democrats have controlled Congress for almost two years now, and they have conducted investigations into these allegations. What have they found? Nothing. The 110th Congress has abdicated all of its other responsibilities to focus on witch hunts, hoping to find a Holy Grail of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Despite wasting thousands of hours and millions of dollars, they’ve come up with a big nothingburger.
The real outrage here is either that the Democrats are so deep into the tinfoil hat brigade, or that they are so incompetent. Neither of those options speak well to keeping them in leadership roles. That’s why Joe Biden answered the man’s question carefully, and in my mind, completely appropriately. If Republicans want to become a party of real reform, they’d better get used to acting on it.