Chris Matthews has interviewed Zack Galifianakis and Will Ferrell, who star in the up-coming film entitled The Campaign, which is, well, about a political campaign.
During the interview, Chris mentioned that one of his sons has political views “to the Left of Obama.” Chris described the son in question as a perfectionist – in other words, an EmoProg. Someone who demands the impossible. As an example, Chris quipped that the son in question was “pretty angry about Gitmo” and added that a lot of people were.
Chris also admits he, himself, has to work on his son’s totally unrealistic views, and maybe Gitmo is a good place to start educating his son, who’s an adult by the way, on exactly how the United States government is Constitutionally established and how it’s supposed to work. He could explain to him that the system of checks and balances, devised by the Founding Fathers as a fool-proof method to prevent one branch of government superseding the other in the power stakes, worked to ensure that Gitmo remained opened.
Sure, the President vowed to close the place down and even signed an Executive Order calling for this; but that’s as far as an Executive Order can go. The hammer then fell on Congress to organise the closure, find adequate prison accommodation on the mainland for the inmates and, in the eventuality of the main culprits coming to trial, support the Department of Justice’s attempts to organise civil prosecution procedures.
Chris should make sure that his son understands that all of the above is within the remit of Congress, not the President. And Congress acted accordingly. When a disused maximum security prison in Illinois was suggested as a venue to which the inmates might be moved, Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat, opposed this vociferously. When Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the prisoner who masterminded the 9/11 attacks would be sent for trial in New York City, Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrats, balked at that suggestion. When Pennsylvania was suggested as an alternative venue, Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey, Democrats, refused to consider this. And, finally, when Virginia was suggested as another possibilty, Senators James Webb and Mark Warner – you guessed it, Democrats – rebelled at the idea.
Those ideas were shelved.
And when time came for the Senate to vote on funding to close Gitmo, in a purely bipartisan move (one of the few to occur in this administration), they voted 96-4 against this. Even Saint Bernie Sanders and Al Franken voted against the move.
So the education of Chris’s son in civics, something his parochial school and university obviously didn’t provide, should start with Gitmo, and how the President can be overruled by a recalcitrant Congress.