Wednesday, July 11, 2007

WHEN THEY GET WHAT THEY WANT....

The gents and ladies at the National Review, those hardy he-men an women of the Hardly-Ever Right, tell me that I'm overly worried about The Constitutional Crisis presently taking place. That there really is no crisis, what with the President commuting Scooter Libby's sentence, admitting he did something wrong, but it wasn't worth 30 months in jail (though if I remember correctly, they were all quite willing to have Bill Clinton impeached and thrown out of office for lying about a blow job, an offense for which he was never even tried; they're just not quite as worried about someone who was convicted on 2 counts of perjury and 2 counts of obstructing justice who may be lying about the underlying crime of treason). Nor should I worry about the US Attorney scandal because I've been told by the Administration that they had nothing to do with it and that's why they are invoking Executive Privilege. Why, everyone can understand the logic there: We never spoke to these people; so you can't speak to them either. Or maybe it's that we did speak to them, but it had nothing to do with anything, so why would you want to,or....never mind.

On the barely legal side of the equation, we have the Fourth Circuit(?) Court of Appeals saying that you can't use the courts to find out if the Administration broke the Law against you; you have to know they broke the Law against you before you can bring any kind of criminal complaint against them. While I understand the Court's reasoning, I wonder how anyone is supposed to find out if the Administration broke the Law agaisnt them when the group charged with finding that out is the group that broke the Law in the first place (See FBI and Illegal Wiretapping and Justice Department)?

We have as well the Supreme Court saying that if you have loads and loads of money, you can pretty much say whatever you want in a political campaign, but if you're a high school student, don't make any bad jokes because we'll slap you down (if you're Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and the ilk, you can call all your demands for the Deaths of other people bad jokes and the Hardly Ever Right will defend you forever against supposed censorship). And as to Clarence Thomas' concurrent opinion which argues that schools in fact have the obligation to instill a set of common values, it may behoove the individuals arguing that position, including Clarence Thomas, to remember that one of the common values we're supposed to instil is the First Amendment. A sign saying "Bong Hits for Jesus" is considerably less inflammatory than what "The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" said about John Kerry during the last campaign, particularly since all of their allegations were outright lies.

But let us return to The National Review's arguement that The Cosntitution is not in fact in crisis; that this is just hyperbole. What we have is a Congress which just doesn't understand its place, they argue. Interesting assessment, but completely wrong. Congress comes first in The Constitution, not the President. The basic reason for the presidency is that it is easier to deal in foreign affairs with one individual than with 435. That is why the President can propose treaties, but those treaties need to be ratified by Congress (a position, I'm sure, The National Review and the Hardly-Ever Right find irksome). There is no, nor has there ever been, a Unitary President as the Hardly-Ever Right presently argues there is. What's more, their position is so shortsighted that were they to but look down the road a bit, they wouldn't want what they are demanding.

The Hardly-Ever Right's call for a strong, unitary executive is so myopic that it defies logic. Imagine if you will what happens when you have such a figure. The Hardly-Ever Right assumes that were a Democrat to be elected President, they would act with a greater sense of decorum and therefore there would be no problem as the Hardly-Ever Right would simply be the Bully they are and shout him or her down. The Hardly-Ever Right believes in ponies. But back to the topic at hand; if we imagine a smaller government limited only to military and policing and a Unitary President, what remains for that President to do? You need only look at what George W. Bush has done to see what you can expect more of, because let's face it, the next guy (or gal) just can't be as incompetent as this one.

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