2015年考研暑假必读文章:Abdicate and Capitulate

来源:新东方 2019-02-21

Abdicate and Capitulate

It is extraordinary how President Bush has streamlined the Senate confirmation process. As we have seen most recently with the vote to confirm Michael Mukasey as attorney general, about all that is left of "advice and consent" is the "consent" part.

Once upon a time, the confirmation of major presidential appointments played out on several levels-starting, of course, with politics. It was assumed that a president would choose like-minded people as cabinet members and for other jobs requiring Senate approval. There was a presumption that he should be allowed his choices, all other things being equal.

Before George W. Bush's presidency, those other things actually counted. Was the nominee truly qualified, with a professional background worthy of the job? Would he discharge his duties fairly and honorably, upholding his oath to protect the Constitution? Even though he answers to the president, would the nominee represent all Americans? Would he or she respect the power of Congress to supervise the executive branch, and the power of the courts to enforce the rule of law?

In less than seven years, Mr. Bush has managed to boil that list down to its least common denominator: the president should get his choices. At first, Mr. Bush was abetted by a slavish Republican majority that balked at only one major appointment-Harriet Miers for Supreme Court justice, and then only because of doubts that she was far enough to the right.

The Democrats, however, also deserve a large measure of blame. They did almost nothing

While they were in the minority to demand better nominees than Mt. Bush was sending up. And now that they have attained the majority, they are not doing any better.

On Thursday, the Senate voted by 53 to 40 to confirm Mr. Mukasey even though he would not answer a simple question: does he think waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning used to extract information from a prisoner, is torture and therefore illegal?

Democrats offer excuses for their sorry record, starting with their razor-thin majority. But it is often said that any vote in the Senate requires more than 60 votes-enough to overcome a filibuster. So why did Mr. Mukaey get by with only 53 votes? Given the success the Republicans have had in blocking action when the Democrats cannot muster 60 votes, the main culprit appears to be the Democratic leadership, which seems uninterested in or incapable of standing up to Mr. Bush.

Senator Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat who turned the tide for this nomination, said that if the Senate did not approve Mr. Mukasey, the president would get by with an interim appointment who would be under the sway of "the extreme ideology of Vice President Dick Cheney". He argued that Mr. Mukasey could be counted on to reverse the politicization of the Justice Department that occurred under Alberto Gonzales, and that Mr. Mukaseys reticence about calling waterboarding illegal might well become moot, because the Senate was considering a law making clear that it is illegal.

That is precisely the sort of cozy rationalization that Mr. Schumer and his colleagues have used so many times to back down from a confrontation with Mr. Bush. The truth is, Mr. Mukasey is already in the grip of that "extreme ideology". If he were not, he could have answered the question about waterboarding.

Mr. Bush said Mr. Mukasey could not do so because it would reveal classified information about Central Intelligence Agency interrogation techniques. That is nonsense. Mr. Mukasey was not asked if CIA jailers have used waterboarding on prisoners, something he could be expected to know nothing about. He was simply asked if, as a general matter, waterboarding is illegal.

It was not a difficult question. Waterboarding is specifically banned by the Army Field Manual, and it is plainly illegal under the federal Anti-Torture Act, federal assault statutes, the Detainee Treatment Act, the Convention against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. It is hard to see how any nominee worthy of the position of attorney general could fail to answer "yes".

The real reason the White House would not permit Mr. Mukasey to answer was the risk to federal officials who carried out Mr. Bush's orders to abuse and torture prisoners after the 9/11 attacks: the tight answer could have exposed them to criminal sanctions.

The rationales that accompanied the vote in favor of Mr. Mukasey were not reassuring. The promise of a law banning waterboarding is no comfort. It is unnecessary, and even if it passes, Mr. Bush seems certain to veto it. In fact, it would play into the administration's hands by allowing it to argue that torture is not currently illegal.

The claim that Mr. Mukasey will depoliticize the Justice Department loses its allure when you consider that he would not commit himself to enforcing Congressional subpoenas in the United States attorneys' scandal.

All of this leaves us wondering whether Mr. Schumer and other Democratic leaders were more focused on the 2008 elections than on doing their constitutional duty. Certainly being made to look weak on terrorism might make it harder for them to expand their majority

We are not suggesting the Democrats reject every presidential appointee, or that the president's preferences not be taken into account. But Democrats have done precious little to avoid the kind of spectacle the world saw last week: the Senate giving the job of attorney general, chief law enforcement officer in the world's oldest democracy, to a man who does not even have the integrity to take a stand against torture.

#p#副标题#e#

重点单词
assume 
【文中释义】v.推断,假设
【大纲全义】v.假装;假定,设想;承担,呈现,采取

cabinet 
【文中释义】n.内阁
【大纲全义】n.内阁,内阁会议;(带玻璃门存物品的)橱拒

supervise 
【文中释义】v. 监督
【大纲全义】v.管理,监督

court 
【文中释义】n.法院
【大纲全义】n. 法院,法庭;宫廷,朝廷;院子;球场

slavish 
【文中释义】adj. 盲目的
【大纲全义】adj. 奴性的,卑屈的;无独创性的;盲从的

simulate 
【文中释义】v.假装
【大纲全义】v.模仿,模拟;假装,冒充

extract 
【文中释义】v.获取,提取
【大纲全义】v. /n.拔出,抽出;摘录n.抽取物;精华;选集

razor 
【文中释义】 adj 像剃刀一样薄的
【大纲全义】n..剃刀

sway /swei/
【文中释义】v.支配
【大纲全义】v. (使)摇动;倾抖挽摇动;影响力

ideology 
【文中释义】n. 意识形态
【大纲全义】n. 意识形态,(政治或社会的)思想意识

超纲单词
presumption n.可能性 nominee n.被提名的人

honorably adv.体面地 denominator n.限度

abet v.怂葱,教唆 filibuster n.阻挠(的人)

muster v.召集 culprit n.罪人,犯人

reticence n.沉默

重点段落译文
以前,要确认重要的总统委任,要经过好几道程序—当然首先从政治开始。据推断,总统将会选择志趣相投的人担任内阁成员或者其他需要参议院批准的职位。委任的确认有一个前提就是他的提议要被通过,同时其他事情也是如此。

在乔治·布什当总统之前,事实上,还涉及其他一些事情。有专业背景知识的提名者真的能够胜任吗?他会公正无私、正大光明地履行他的职责,履行保护宪法的誓言吗?即使被提名的人符合总统的要求人选,他会代表所有美国人鸣?他或她会尊重国会监督行政机构的权力并尊重法院执法的权力吗?

在不到7年的时间里,布什先生已经把上面这个列表缩减到了最低限度:总统应该有选择权。首先,布什先生在盲目的共和党多数派的怂恿下在一个重要的任命即提名哈里特·迈尔斯担任最高法院大法官前裹足不前,当时仅仅因为有人怀疑她跟右翼离得足够远。

然而民主党很大程度上也应该受到指责。当他们受到少数人支持时,他们并没有要求布什提名出更好的合适人选。现在,他们已经受到大众的支持,但与以前相比,他们的做法几乎毫无改善。

周四,参议院以53票对40票通过对麦卡锡先生的提名,即使他回答不了一个很简单的问题:在他看来,用水刑—— 一种模拟溺水的方式来从囚犯口中获取信息是酷刑,因此是违法的吗?

民主党人为他们不尽人意的做法寻找各种借口,往往多数情况下是站不住脚的。但我们常说,参议院的任何表决至少需要60票—这个数字足以说服阻挠的人。那为什么麦卡锡先生仅53票就通过呢?如果说民主党不能召集到60票,是共和党成功的阻挠行动在起作用那主要的罪人好像是民主党的领袖,因为他好像毫无兴趣或者没有能力与布什先生对抗。

扭转了提名局势的纽约州民主党人士参议员查尔斯·舒默说,如果参议院不通过总统对麦卡锡先生的提名,总统会在“副总统迪克·切尼的极端意识”支配下,用临时委任蒙混过去。他认为,麦卡锡先生会扭转司法部在阿尔贝托·冈萨雷斯时期的政治局面,而他在水刑非法问题上的沉默可能会引发一场辩论,因为参议院正考虑出台一部法律明确说明它的非法性。




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