Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Hyman Freezes Inellectual Debate

A few thoughts on “Freezer-Gate” and Mark Hyman’s commentary on it.

First, William Jefferson certainly seems to be a scalawag of the first order, an embarrassment to his constituents, his party, the House of Representatives, and himself. The sooner he is out of Congress, the better.

Second, although the FBI should have the right to search his offices, it would have been wise and Constitutional to have a representative of the legislative branch witness the search. Separation of powers can be observed without (as Hyman suggests) allowing any ne’er-do-well representative from crying “sanctuary” in the halls of Congress and getting away with it.

Third, it’s odd that, given the amount of corruption that appears to be going on in Congress, it would be a Democrat targeted for an FBI office search. It’s also odd (well, okay, maybe not) that it would take an executive power move targeting a member of Congress for the legislative branch to finally broach the topic of how the Bush administration has treated the Constitution and the rights it affords all Americans the way Hitler treated the Sudetenland.

Lastly, we have in Hyman’s commentary a textbook example of a straw-man fallacy, in which he attacks Representatives Hastert and Pelosi in a way that suggests they believe it’s unconstitutional for any search to be done in the offices of the legislative branch. Rather, they objected to the way in which the search was carried out, particularly given other possible options in retrieving the information, the fact that there was already a mountain of evidence against Jefferson, and the fact that this type of search is utterly unprecedented in the history of Congress.

Whether Hastert and Pelosi are right is certainly a matter of debate, and the issue of separation of powers is one that, as central as it is to our government, deserves respect, scrutiny, and informed debate when issues such as this come up.

But, as always, Hyman’s prattling only serves to muddy the waters, not contribute to the conversation.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 3.37


At 4:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted, maybe some good will emerge from the search of Jefferson's office - if it moves some of these lackadaisical Republican rubberstamps to actually engage in some meaningful oversight of this out-of-control, fascist executive branch, and their methodical use of the Constitution and Bill of Rights like pages from the Sears catalog in an old out house, after all, they all pledged an oath to defend it (the constitution I mean, not the Sears catalog)!
Mike B. in SC


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