priv·i·lege - a) A special advantage, immunity, permission, right, or benefit granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class, or caste.
b) Such an advantage, immunity, or right held as a prerogative of status or rank, and exercised to the exclusion or detriment of others.
The big news today, the one thing everyone in Blogtopia (except the 26%-ers) wants to talk about is Bush's refusal to answer to congressional subpoenas for documents in the AttorneyGate investigations. The White House "also made clear that Miers and Taylor would not testify next month, as directed by the subpoenas" even though neither is actually in the administration any more. They are going to invoke the entirely non-constitutional legal precedent of "executive privilege" and stonewall.
Which is utterly reprehensible. It's probably criminal. It certainly demands that Congress begin impeachment proceedings after charging everyone involved in the decision from Bush on down with congressional contempt.
And then what?
Here's my read on it. The Supreme Court are going to make the decisions on this one, but that's going to take time - plenty of it. There's no chance whatsoever that impeachment proceedings can now be concluded before Bush's time in office is up and he disappears to his new ranch in South America to clear brush forevah. There's probably no chance that congressional contempt charges can clear SCOTUS before Bush's exile begins either. In any case, the way in which Bush has stacked the court means he has to be pretty confident he can get the decision he wants.
And - here's the important bit - this has been Bush's plan all along. His administration have known, since the 2004 election, that the clock was in their favor. There was no chance of a Republican-led Congress doing anything with spine so they were safe until 2006. They figured a Dem-led Congress would take several months to be goaded past the point of their own fear of the GOP's PR boogy-man. So they decided to turn the administration up to 11, knowing they could run the clock out.
The window of opportunity was fleeting, they figured they had it covered, they were right.