Saturday, March 11, 2006

Restraining Presidential power

The editorial board at the Toledo Blade clearly doesn't approve of the Republican Congress' collaboration with Bush on the warrantless NSA spying program. From In the dark on spying 03/11/06:

Senate Republicans don't know the precise details of President Bush's domestic eavesdropping operation, but - with heads firmly implanted where the sun doesn't shine - they want to keep everyone else in the dark, too.
Their heads "firmly implanted where the sun doesnt' shine"? When you've got straight-laced metropolitan dailies opening their editiorials like that, it's a sign of something. I'm not quite sure what.

The President, aided and abetted by his super-secret vice president, clearly doesn't want the American people to know the extent to which they are listening to telephone calls and reading e-mail. Perhaps the eavesdropping is aimed strictly at terrorist suspects, but this unconstitutionally intrusive operation sets a dangerous precedent.

If the government maintains a domestic spying apparatus, we have no doubt that it will be employed, sooner or later, for other purposes, including intelligence against political enemies. In hypothetical terms, how would Republicans feel if their calls were monitored one day by President Hillary Clinton?

The administration already has plenty of authorization for domestic spying, including the newly reauthorized Patriot Act. Why can't it simply follow the FISA law, which already allows eavesdropping with after-the-fact warrants?

Mr. Bush's relentless pursuit of greater eavesdropping authority indicates that it is personal power he is after as much as terrorists.
This "what if Hillary were doing it" argument is understandable. But it fails to fully account for the authoritarian nature of today's Republican Party. The answer is: (1) they don't expect the Democrats ever to take the White House again, even if they win the election as in 2000; and, (2) the Democrats don't claim unlimited authority for the President, only the Republicans do.

In other words, the Democratic Party believes as virtually everyone has in American history, that the President is required to abide by the law and the Consitution. But the Republicans' unilateral Executive theory says that the President can disregard any law or Constitutional provision he chooses, as long as he on his own discretion, without authorization from Congress or review by the courts, determines that his illegal acts are necessary for "national security".

With the Republicans now in power, Bush breaks the law and the Republican Congress supports and defends him in doing so, even passing cosmetic legislation (like Maverick McCain's anti-torture law) to help deflect public concern over the illegal acts.

But if a Democratic President were in power, the Reps would have no problem passing laws and using the courts to enforce them against the Democratic President. And, if the Democratic President intended to maintain the rule of law which the unilateral Executive theory of Presidential power rejects, they would have to work within that framework. That's what happened during Clinton's Presidency, although the Reps hadn't openly embraced the unilateral Executive claims for Republican Presidents at that time.

And even before the ascension of Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court, the Republican-dominated Court was willing to indulge in crass partisanship on behalf of their Party, most blatantly in Bush v. Gore in the 2000 election.

| +Save/Share | |


"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


  • What is the Blue Voice?
  • Bruce Miller
  • Fdtate
  • Marcia Ellen (on hiatus)
  • Marigolds2
  • Neil
  • Tankwoman
  • Wonky Muse


  • Sunni insurgents vs. Al Qaeda in Iraq?
  • The Left's Weakness?
  • Saving the Constitution
  • What Do YOU Know Re Global Warming?
  • Army wife continues to defend "Support Our Troops"...
  • Body of Florida lynching victim exhumed
  • Aftermath of the port deal fiasco
  • Choosing Liberalism
  • The mystery of Rummy
  • The Bush Doctrine: A postmodern empire?



    [Tip: Point cursor to any comment to see title of post being discussed.]
    www TBV




    Environmental Links
    Gay/Lesbian Links
    News & Media Links
    Organization Links
    Political Links
    Religious Links
    Watchdog Links



    Atom/XML Feed
    Blogarama - Blog Directory
    Blogwise - blog directory



    hits since 06-13-2005

    site design: wonky muse