(Or, "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Executive Overreach")
You guys, we need to talk. No, it won't wait until Abu Gonzales resigns. We need to talk about this right now.
See, I've been thinking. I believe that just maybe this whole "Accountability is the New Black and Every Day is Fitzmas" thing may ultimately end up working against us. I think we need to stop everything and just think here for a second. I know we're all excited, fired up, and eager to see the dangerous expansion of Presidential powers kicked to the curb. Hell, even hoary old dim-witted conservatives like Bob Barr are trying to get in on the hot, uncensored accountability action:
Barr: Congress clearly has a right to inquire into the running of the Department of Justice, to inquire into the integrity of the process of hiring and firing U.S. attorneys, notwithstanding the fact that that that is technically a prerogative of the president. And rather than fight this, the administration really ought to be going out of its way to do what prior administrations have done, such as the Bush I administration and Reagan administrations, and that is take whatever steps are necessary to assure the American people that the integrity of our justice system has not been compromised.
I know, it's a bit disorienting, isn't it? A "Law and Order Republican" who actually gives a damn about the rule of law? Something must be wrong with him. His implant from GOP headquarters must be frying out and sending the wrong signals to his brain. Surely, he…oh, no wait. What's this?
WASHINGTON – An alliance of prominent national conservatives today announced the formation of the American Freedom Agenda (AFA), a campaign to restore governmental checks and balances and civil liberties protections under assault by the current Administration.
The AFA's mission is to reign in abuses of executive power that reach into three primary realms of our national foundation of government that have the greatest likelihood of adversely affecting personal liberties without appropriate checks and balances: the judicial and criminal justice system; national security; and the proper role of congressional oversight.
Fein, a constitutional scholar and former Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Reagan, was joined at the launch of the AFA by David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, the nation's oldest and largest grassroots conservative lobbying organization; Richard Viguerie, a writer and political activist who is considered one of the main architects of the conservative grassroots movement over the past quarter century; and Bob Barr, a former Member of Congress who served as an impeachment manager of President Clinton.
Okay, if I am not mistaken, this is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. When the PaleoCons start to back-talk and undermine the NeoCons in matters of the Imperial Preznincy, then something has gone deeply, direly wrong at the center of the Universe.
Now, this may be where you think I'm going to doff my hat to this ragtag band of Conservative rebels and say that never in my whole life did I ever expect to agree with Bob Barr about anything. But, well, you're all wrong.
The AFA must be stopped. In fact, we need to pack up our subpoenas, Congressional hearings, and DoJ emails and go home. Why? Well, I think the same thing has occurred to Bob Barr and friends that occurred to me just two days ago.
Given that the Republican Party has roughly the same prognosis as Terri Shiavo in the upcoming elections and that we may see the GOP brand sullied and disgraced for a generation as a result of the Bush Administration, I think we may be acting a bit hastily on this proposed roll-back of Executive Powers. No, no, seriously, I mean it. Just think what President Obama could do with those powers.
Ah, yes. Now you're with me.
Or let's say President John Edwards has just been sworn in and he decides it's time for a little payback. He picks up the phone and calls his people at the NSA and says, "I need to see all of Bill Donohue's cell-phone records, taxes, credit card transactions, and checking account records for the last ten years. Oh, and freeze his assets. I think he may be involved in terrorist activity."
See, if you throw in the T-word, all those provisions of the Patriot Act come into play. No need to go to a judge. No need for a subpoena. That stuff's for sissies. Let's just get his records, find the data we need (or not!), change his status to "Enemy Combatant", and off he goes to our secret interrogation facilities in Romania. Ta-daaaaaaah!
"But please!" Donohue would beg, "Let me speak to an attorney! Let me at least know what charges are being brought against me!"
Nope. Too bad, so sad, but all that went out the window when the Bush administration gutted habeas corpus.
Or say that President Hillary Clinton is tired of Tom DeLay's lip. So she decides to have his money-laundering trial moved to a military tribunal at the Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay. No jury, no cameras, no witnesses, and the tribunal won't kick off until, oh, 2012, or whenever we get around to it. It would be perfect.
See? Life with a Democrat Unitary Executive could be great! President Kucinich could rule by decree just like Chimpy and Hugo Chavez! He could have Bush and Cheney imprisoned in an undisclosed location indefinitely! And wouldn't that be fun?
So, please, you Dirty Fucking Hippies, lay off on the challenges to Bush's god-like powers of the Imperial Presidency. He's only going to be around for a few more months, and then once he's gone, we'll be in charge. And what use will due process, checks and balances, and the Constitution be to us then?
Exactly. Those things will just be impediments to our unfettered ability to reward our friends and torment our enemies.
And we can't have that, now can we?