Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Presidential power, the Unitary Executive, under Bush was no big deal...but Obama? Welcome to the party of no Principles.

Just image if Barack Obama said this:
"I believe in a strong, robust executive authority, and I think that the world we live in demands it -- and to some extent that we have an obligation as the administration to pass on the offices we hold to our successors in as good of shape as we found them."
Dick Cheney said that outrageous gem, a comment that today would have seen the rise of a tea party revolution with Second Amendment remedies. Right wing backers of Bush went along with this insane idea of the Unitary Executive; that the other branches of government take a subsidiary role to the executive branch when safeguarding national security.
Under the Bush administration's interpretation of the unitary executive theory; his or her power is restricted only by the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Judiciary. Congress can hold the President accountable only by censure, impeachment, or constitutional amendment; legislation restricting the executive branch has no power.
But that’s not all. Imagine Obama throwing out this mind blowing concept:
June 25, 2007: The Vice President and the President have casually declared their offices to be independent of the executive branch and completely autonomous, with Dick Cheney also attempting to abolish agencies his office is supposed to be accountable to.

Why didn't we see the emergence of the tea parties back then, and why didn't we see the same outrage over presidential power from the GOP like we’re seeing now? Besides the more obvious racial reason; arrogant tea party Republicans, energized by state GOP majorities, are showing their true rightwing authoritarianism. These rugged individuals need leaders to tell them what to do.
WashingtonTimesVice President Dick Cheney said President Bush is aggressively consolidating the powers of the presidency, reversing a weakening of the office dating back more than 30 years.
“We’ve been able to restore the legitimate authority of the presidency,” he told reporters … Mr. Cheney, who was President Ford’s chief of staff, said “an erosion of presidential power and authority” emerged during that era but that the pendulum has now “swung back.” “At the end of the Nixon administration, you had the nadir of the modern presidency in terms of authority and legitimacy,” he said. “There have been a number of limitations that have been imposed in the aftermath of Vietnam and Watergate.”
Remember being told by Republicans that wiretapping was no big deal, unless you had something to hide?
In 2002, for example, Mr. Bush signed a secret order authorizing the National Security Agency (NSA) to wiretap Americans suspected of communicating with al Qaeda operatives overseas.

The vice president also suggested that the strengthening of the presidency is not finished. He noted that no president has eliminated the War Powers Act, which he said “many people believe is unconstitutional.” “That was an infringement on the authority of the president,” he said. “It’s never been tested. It will be tested at some point.”

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