Tuesday, January 30, 2007

2008--Another Issue

Josh Marshall has an extremely important post at talkingpointsmemo.com. "[T]he virus of anti-constitutionalism President Bush has injected into the body politic is now so deepseated that a renewed constitutionalism should now be a central element informing our political priorities and political identification." He's absolutely right. The Bush administration has so damaged our political and legal condition that constitutional principles must be a leading campaign issue for the first time since 1860 (for those who aren't too good on dates, that's before the Civil War).

To begin with, every candidate for President in 2008 should be asked hard questions about where he or she stands on the issue of executive power. Will he or she insist on the same prerogatives that W and Cheney have: the right to imprison secretly, the right to hold prisoners without resort to legal process, the right to spy on Americans and legal residents without warrants, the right to control every move of the executive branch? Or, will the candidates agree to a recession of presidential power?

I also suggest that you read Adam Cohen's trenchant analysis of Congressional war powers--the first such article that I have read in a mass-circulation publication. And, don't miss Garry Wills' discussion of the militarization of the presidency; he notes that Ike, who had spent 35 years in the Army, never gave the hand-to-the-brow salute as President, because he wasn't in uniform. That gesture was started by the actor, Reagan and, regrettably, followed by all since. These pieces make Marshall's point even more clear.

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