Over the last week, the parameters of what will be the the most important issue of the 2006 congressional elections were set.
First, Al Gore gave a powerful speech in Constitution Hall, sure to go down in history. During that speech, Gore called for the appointment of a special counsel to conduct a criminal investigation of the illegal wiretapping and electronic surveillance of Americans' emails by George W. Bush.
Second, a second nonpartisan report was released by the research arm of Congress. That report concluded that George W. Bush's program to spy against American citizens is certainly illegal. Another, similar report had previously come to the same conclusion.
Third, on Thursday, New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler sent a formal request to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that a special counsel be appointed to investigate the role of President Bush and Gonzales himself in planning and implementing the NSA program to spy against Americans. You can read Nadler's letter to Attorney General Gonzales here.
Fourth, it was revealed on Friday that President Bush and Alberto Gonzales had engaged in electronic surveillance against hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions, of Americans when they requested databases containing information about what web sites Americans visit from the Google, Yahoo, and MSN search engines. Yahoo and MSN appear to have caved in to the demands of Bush and Gonzales, whereas the people at Google did the right thing, and told the Bush White House to take its spy program and stuff it.
As Al Gore put it, " the President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently." Now, the question that we all must ask in the 24th District is: What is Sherwood Boehlert going to do about it?
Sherwood Boehlert pretends to be a moderate, although he has voted for some of the most extreme right wing legislation that has passed through Congress over the years. Boehlert voted for the Iraq War, though there was no evidence of need. Boehlert also voted for the infamous Patriot Act, which has unleashed gigantic but useless programs in the FBI and military intelligence communities to spy against law-abiding American political dissidents.
A true moderate does not sit by quietly while a grave crime is being committed. A true moderate does not look away and do nothing while extreme policies to undermine the very foundation of American liberty and democracy are being put into place.
If Sherwood Boelert wants to prove that he is a true moderate, then he will support Jerrold Nadler's request for the appointment of a special counsel. Given that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is himself a target of criminal investigation, the Department of Justice cannot conduct a fair and honest inquiry into the matter.
So far, Congressman Boehlert is quiet and inactive in the face of this serious Constitutional crisis. With every day that passes in which Boehlert does nothing and says nothing, he loses credibility.
The citizens of the 24th District cannot afford to be represented by a man who grows weak in the face of a moral challenge. The citizens of the 24th District cannot afford to be represented by a man who values power over principle. The citizens of the 24th District cannot afford to be represented by a man who is afraid to challenge the ideologues in his own political party.
The citizens of the 24th District cannot afford to be represented by Sherwood Boehlert any longer.