To the editor:
The current problems in our federal government go well beyond partisan politics and undue corporate influence. We now have a dangerous breakdown in the constitutional checks and balances intended to limit the power of the executive branch. For most of the Bush administration's tenure, a Republican Congress has put slavish allegiance to party and president ahead of their responsibilities as members of Congress. They have stood by as the administration lied to get us into Iraq, refused to take any responsibility for 9-11, dropped the ball on Katrina, used illegal wiretaps on citizens -- the list goes on and on.
A real Congress would have called serious investigations into numerous issues and events, regardless of party affiliation. Instead, we've had countless lame excuses, the blind eye of Republican legislators and an occasional, superficial, sideshow passing for an investigation. It is unclear whether this Republican timidity is the result of bullying from their leadership or a simple lack of courage and personal integrity (probably both). What is certain to me is that when one party controls both houses of Congress and the White House, those in Congress must make their constitutional responsibilities primary over party allegiance. There is no indication that the current Republicans will ever do this. We should note, however, that there is one final check and balance: We, the people, on Election Day.
ROBERT POLACK JR., Cape Girardeau