So, several years ago i read a question (i think it was in a paul krugman article) which i have quoted many times: ‘How do you know when you are five years out from the French revolution? or 5 months? or 5 days?’ or something quite close to that. its interesting to ponder what people (from random workers to executives, from the un-engaged citizen to the high-powered politicos) were doing, noting, thinking while others worked their levers of power, and grabbed what they could get — old ways be damned.
Like the frog and the boiling water, its easy to let things slide a little, thinking, well of course i dont trust them but they arent really crazy, certainly they understand people wont tolerate much more of that, these lunatics in suits arent really doing what the other lunatics in tinfoil are ranting about.
Well, the Washington post has an article about George Bush’s administration finally declaring itself truly out of the reach of Congressional wishes, deciding, with help of disgrace-to-texas AG AG, that the ‘executive privilege’ is really ‘executive branch privilege’ and, better yet, can be applied to folks who no longer are part of the executive branch. They have placed themselves above the law, in every meaningful way, although i admit, they have, in an evil-genius way, created a legal ‘opinion’ for that, too.
Some choice quotes:
Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege.
David B. Rifkin, who worked in the Justice Department and White House counsel’s office under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, praised the position and said it is consistent with the idea of a “unitary executive.” In practical terms, he said, “U.S. attorneys are emanations of a president’s will.” And in constitutional terms, he said, “the president has decided, by virtue of invoking executive privilege, that is the correct policy for the entire executive branch.”
Mark J. Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University who has written a book on executive-privilege issues, called the administration’s stance “astonishing.”
“That’s a breathtakingly broad view of the president’s role in this system of separation of powers,” Rozell said. “What this statement is saying is the president’s claim of executive privilege trumps all.”
Is this a bold enough maneuver to shake loose the Republicans who voted again for this man and his minions? Already the Rs in congress have begun to understand, whether for political survival or perhaps for genuine reasons of principles, that George Bush’s Administration is a far greater threat to the continuation of American culture as we have come to know and love it, warts and all, than the foreign terrorists.
I wonder if citizens who chose this path realize they would generate TWO great threats to American democracy? Will this be enough to turn them, at the State level as well, to understanding that the Republican party, whatever it once might have claimed to stand for, is the vehicle for dismantling the constitution and our culture?
I will continue to hope that, as the miami sound machine sang, so presciently, so long ago: The hubris is gonna getcha, the hubris is gonna get ya…