Pelosi and Reid have failed America
By Michael Payne
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jan 29, 2008, 01:53

By now it should be crystal clear that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are totally unfit for the leadership positions that they hold in Congress; and so the members of the House and Senate should take immediate steps to force them to resign or to remove them from their positions. Their stonewalling of the American people can no longer be tolerated. Both now have proven that they no longer represent the best interests of this nation.

The people of America have watched the charade that has been taking place in this Congress since the decisive elections of 2006 when the Democratic Party took control of both the House and the Senate. At that point, the majority of Americans had had enough of the insane Iraq War, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the neocons' madness, tax cuts for the wealthy, scandal after scandal in this administration and the Republican Party. Americans wanted change, a new direction, a new vision, an end to the blatant attempts to negate the Constitution of the United States.

Regardless of these strong desires for swift, positive change Americans received no positive actions from the newly installed Democratic Party majority in both the House and the Senate -- what they did get was Pelosi and Reid, the absolute worst possible combination that could have been created to lead the critical movement to turn our nation from the disastrous course that was leading to the destruction of our democracy. They needed patriotic courage, conviction, strong, unrelenting leadership, ideas and, above all, leaders who would show America that a new day had dawned. It just did not happen.

Pelosi and Reid soon showed their true nature as they assumed the roles of passive "special assistants to the White House." Pelosi immediately took impeachment off the table and continues to indicate that she will never do what clearly needs to be done. Reid, as well as our ever-smiling speaker, warned time after time that they were through giving Bush a blank check without a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, but every single time that Bush waved his veto pen, they completely caved in and retreated into the shadows.

How could these two individuals, considering the current chaotic state of American foreign policy and the sinister threats to our democracy, not rise to the occasion? They both stood at the threshold of potential greatness. They might have been revered by historians as patriots who stood up to Bush & Co., took charge and began the long, very difficult process of reversing the damage that has been done to our nation. They could have become living American patriots.

But they completely failed to rise to the occasion; they refused the mandate they were given by America. Instead, they capitulated, they caved, and they give every appearance of having become willing enablers of the Bush administration. Remember the phrase "lead, follow or just get out of the way"? Well, I want to change that to "Pelosi and Reid, you have convinced America that you cannot lead, you excel at following, so just get out of the way." It is bad enough to be stonewalled by Bush and his crafty, clever administration, but it is entirely unacceptable for Americans to be stonewalled by the supposed Democratic Party leadership in Congress.

The most disturbing aspect of their failure to lead is their handling of the Iraq war and what this monstrous, unnecessary war has inflicted on the nation and people of Iraq, on this American society, our troops, and the entire Middle East. America's reputation in the world will never be the same. This war and its destructive effects will be a permanent scar on the soul of our nation.

Besides the physical and mental damage that this war has caused, it also is a major contributing factor to our current crisis of economic stability and solvency. Our economy is being bled dry and is in danger of bankruptcy if we cannot somehow find the way to stop the bleeding. We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars that we don't have by mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren. It is this misguided war that has been a major reason for the largest national debt in our history, now more than $9 trillion.

For all of these reasons and many others, Pelosi and Reid should have taken a very strong position that any additional funding for the war would have to directly tied to an orderly withdrawal -- and they should have been relentless and unbending, refusing to back off and literally putting their careers and reputations on the line to stop the war. They had the mandate, they had 70 percent of Americans supporting them.

Pelosi did not even have to initiate impeachment. Hearings by the Judiciary Committee, currently being vigorously proposed by Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida, could have easily established key, very damaging facts and evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors that could bring intense pressure on Cheney and then on Bush. There would be a very good chance that both would resign rather than face impeachment. Dennis Kucinich and John Conyers could have been strong facilitators in this process, but Kucinich was stymied and Conyers apparently was blocked. But Pelosi continues to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" and she stonewalls every effort in this regard.

Reid has become very subservient to the Bush administration. He is now in the process of facilitating their demands for additional wiretapping power by personally forcing the FISA reauthorization bill to the Senate floor. If approved, it would grant retroactive immunity to telephone companies accused of breaking surveillance laws and allows wiretapping without the FISA court approval. Has he become a pseudo-Republican in Democratic clothing? No wonder our Constitution is reeling from the attacks upon it by those who no longer represent the American people.

The future of America is at great risk. We are in the last year, we better hope so, of a president and an administration that, for the past seven years, has damaged this nation so severely that many problems may be irreparable. This last year will be one of the most dangerous in our history -- a possible attack on Iran; Pakistan may explode; Iraq continues to disintegrate and suck up billions upon billions of dollars into that eternal black hole. We are in the throes a financial meltdown. This nation is bleeding from many, many wounds and the leadership we badly need right now is just nowhere in sight.

America cannot reverse direction and bring back stability without courageous, dedicated leadership and so Pelosi and Reid must now step aside. If they refuse they must be removed and replaced by leaders who will not cower, will not cave, will not procrastinate and will simply follow the mandate of the American people. It is time for Pelosi and Reid to get out of the way -- America has work to do!

Can Pelosi and Reid be replaced if they refuse to resign? Since the speaker and the majority leader both are elected by the majority party in their respective houses, they can be removed by same. In the current atmosphere in this Congress, obviously it would not be easy, but it surely is possible. Therefore, the best way to accomplish removal would be through extreme pressure from the most influential members of the Democratic Party. As to who would become the new leaders to replace them will be up to the House and Senate to judiciously pick two individuals with the courage and conviction to provide this critical leadership. If there is simply no one in either body that is qualified and up to this critical task, or if either body picks someone out of convenience, then all I can say is, the chances of preserving our democracy our Constitution will be severely jeopardized. And this nation will continue in our current downward spiral.

We are facing a critical turning point in the direction that our nation will take, and we do so with an administration that has damaged this nation, this society and the entire world to a degree that is almost incomprehensible. We need leaders of the highest principals and moral values to begin the almost impossible task of reversing this massive destruction. It is now up to the House and Senate to realize that, unless Pelosi and Reid are replaced by new, dedicated leaders, our Constitution and our democracy will remain under constant threat by those who want unrestrained power and control over all branches of this government. America cannot allow that to continue.

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