Bunning's Hold in the Senate: Will it Work?
So just one Republican is enough to hold up a bill to restore sanity to "sensitive" presidential records.
The executive order, which Mr. Gonzales drafted, made it significantly harder for historians and the public to gain access to a former president’s official records, and it provided an early glimpse of two Bush White House themes: a mania for secrecy and a dangerously inflated view of presidential authority to override existing law.
Six years and one Congressional power shift later, there is ample support in the House and Senate for repealing the executive order’s cumbersome rules, which give presidents, former presidents and even their heirs power to withhold sensitive documents well beyond the standard 12-year waiting period. A bipartisan measure reversing the presumption of nondisclosure and reasonably limiting executive privilege claims passed the House in March by a veto-proof majority. In June, it cleared Senate committee review.
Yet approval by the full Senate is in doubt because of a single Republican senator, Jim Bunning of Kentucky. Mr. Bunning has declined to detail his reasons for exercising his senatorial prerogative to hold up consideration of the bill beyond telling The Dallas Morning News that the “president ought to have the right to withhold any records he chooses.” His colleagues and all Americans are owed a fuller explanation of why he believes a politician’s desire to hide embarrassing information for no legitimate reason of national security should trump the public’s right to know.
Without going into a lengthy diatribe on the absurdity that a free democratic society needs so many secrets, I have two questions:
1. Why is it in question that Reid may or may not do the right thing in this case?
2. Why is it very clear that he's unhappy about Dodd's procedural threats re telco immunity and the AG nomination process?
Whatever Reid decides to do, contrasts like these are a big reason why I'm so very, very low on enthusiasm when it comes to "working hard for a bigger Democratic majority."
...and you gotta love the way in which Bunning confuses the office of President with that of King. Republicans aren't even trying to pretend anymore; they lurv their Lil Monarch and can't wait for the next one.