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December 20, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

EXECUTIVE POWER....In CQ Politics this week, David Nather recaps the Bush administration's enormous expansion of executive power and then asks whether any of the candidates running for election in 2008 are likely to give up that power if they win office. It turns out he had a hard time getting anyone to go on the record about it:

In light of the Bush record, all eight of the major presidential candidates were asked by CQ to answer a set of written questions on specific issues, such as whether the candidate believes that a president can authorize conduct outside the laws to defend the country; under what circumstances the candidate would claim executive privilege; and whether the candidate believes that a president should issue statements after signing legislation into law, as Bush has, that declare some of the provisions optional.

Only one of the candidates — Edwards — answered the questions, although Clinton's campaign touched on some of the issues in a separate exchange.

Among the Democrats, Nather reports that all three of the leaders live up to their stereotypes: Edwards is fiery and populist; Clinton takes the middle ground; and Obama speaks in vague but agreeable generalities. Here's the full list of Nather's pieces on the major candidates and their record on executive power:

Kevin Drum 2:48 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (54)

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Comments

What is needed is not a president who is willing to "give up" that power. What is needed is a Congress which is aggressive about taking back that power from the president. This includes tough questions of nominees for judicial positions about their views on presidential power.

Colin

Posted by: Colin on December 20, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

The BUsh admin's expansion of executive power makes me wonder what their plan is for when a Democrat inherits the fruits of their labor?

Posted by: Del Capslock on December 20, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

Can you or others point to a single example of this "enormous expansion of executive power" that Bush has undertaken that runs afoul of the U.S. Constitution or the laws of the United States?

Unlike Bubba, who lost almost every court decision regarding his assertions of executive authority or privilege, Bush has mostly won in the courts.

Posted by: Chicounsel on December 20, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Can't think of a better endorsement:

"Only one of the candidates — Edwards — answered the questions"

Posted by: Samuel Knight on December 20, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Unlike Bubba, who lost almost every court decision regarding his assertions of executive authority or privilege, Bush has mostly won in the courts. -Chicounsel

It refers mainly to the 1100 signing statements he made. I haven't heard where any have been tried by the supreme court.

BTW, what cases are you referring too?

Posted by: Ya Know... on December 20, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

To whomever is parodying Chicounsel, even he is not usually that stupid.

Posted by: Disputo on December 20, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

And where is Sen. Dodd in Nather's list?

It gripes me no end that Dodd is leading the country on this issue, and yet is taken less seriously as a Presidential candidate than an empty suit like Fred Thompson.

Posted by: joel hanes on December 20, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Where is Bill Richardson? He has stated unequivocally that restoration of checks and balances will be one of the very first things he does. I think that is important to remember if he is indeed chosen to be a running mate. (I want to vote for Dodd for Majority Leader. Or Secretary of State.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 20, 2007 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not a paul-ite, but I'm surprised he didn't interview the candidate most likely to explicitly disclaim these unconstitutional powers.

Posted by: chris green on December 20, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Can you or others point to a single example of this 'enormous expansion of executive power' that Bush has undertaken that runs afoul of the U.S. Constitution or the laws of the United States?"

Executive privilege, signing statements, surveillance, rendition, habeas corpus ... those will do for a start.

"Unlike Bubba, who lost almost every court decision regarding his assertions of executive authority or privilege, Bush has mostly won in the courts."

Completely and totally false. Nice try at denial, though.

Posted by: PaulB on December 20, 2007 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

"To whomever is parodying Chicounsel, even he is not usually that stupid.

Unfortunately, he is. You should see him over on Tapped; really astonishing ignorance and denial. He's pretty much become a parody of whatever it is he used to be.

Posted by: PaulB on December 20, 2007 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

t as l heure ?

Posted by: name on December 20, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Fred Thompson is a major candidate?

I agree with BG. Big Bill definitely should have made the interview cut before "Asleep at the Wheel" Thompson.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on December 20, 2007 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

The US, by executive order, is currently under at least three national emergencies: terror (9/11), WMD and Iran. The president, any president, uses national emergencies to remove civil rights and to take other actions that benefit the executive branch.

The president has signed other executive orders to give him extraordinary and probably unconstitutional powers under FEMA, to block the property of anyone interfering in his Iraq policy and to protect US oil companies doing business in Iraq..

When it comes to war, the president is the decider, unchallenged by Congress: " I have directed the participation of U.S. Armed Forces in all of these operations pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive."--GW Bush, Dec 14, 2007

Probably the next president will be no better. The remedy must come from Congress, not the president. Colin is correct--the Supreme Court has found that the president's orders are valid if they aren't challenged by congress. Colin:"What is needed is not a president who is willing to "give up" that power. What is needed is a Congress which is aggressive about taking back that power from the president." Exactly.

Posted by: Don Bacon on December 20, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo:

Thanks for your concern but I am me, not a parody. lol

And I noticed that no one has yet provided a single example of an assertion of executive power by Bush that was found by the courts to be unconstitutional or illegal.

Ya know:

Example of cases where the courts rejected Bubba's claims of executive privilege or assertions of executive authority include most famously the unanimous Supreme Court decision against him in the Paula Jones case. Other examples include the rejection of executive privileges in matters arising out the Starr special prosecution and the attempt to shield the Hillary health care policy meetings from the public.

PaulB:

Sigh, I realize that your attempts to make a contribution to the debate are apparently self-evidently obvious to you, but for the rest of us, could you try to have a point.

"Executive privilege, signing statements, surveillance, rendition, habeas corpus ... those will do for a start."

How? Why? Lincoln suspended habeas corpus on his own authority and held American citizens in custody without charge throughout the Civil War. FDR ordered the forced internment of American citizens of Japanese descent and took their property in violation of the 5th Amendment and the Supreme Court said that was within the scope of executive powers. Also, he established military tribunals to try and execute German spies and saboteurs who were found to be in the US.

Has Bush done anything remotely similar to those actions which are clearly within the scope of executive power?

Do you have any idea of stupid you appear when attempting to debate when you are clearly out matched and can offer nothing of substance. Since I'm not a liberal, I will not tell you to STFU. But I will not respond to you again since you clearly have nothing to say.

Posted by: Chicounsel on December 20, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Agree that this Chicounsel is a parody--or, more likely, Suburbocounsel himself having a copy-and-paste fest. The thinking's as muddled as ever and the lack of self-awareness as hilarious as always, but the writing, while execrable, is not nearly as bad as usual. He's also missing his usual many dozen misspelled words.

Posted by: shortstop on December 20, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

Chicounsel, as far as I can tell, is correct. Again, the Supreme Court has generally held that any presidential executive privilege or authority, expanded or not, is legal unless it violates some law and/or is not countermanded by Congress. Power fills a vacuum, and the weak rubber-stamp US Congress of the last six or so years has facilitated the expanded unitary executive.

Posted by: Don Bacon on December 20, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

**

Posted by: mhr on December 20, 2007 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

I am no supporter of Ron Paul, but David Nather was negligent to us all if he didn't ask Paul.

Posted by: jerry on December 20, 2007 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Paul, the Gold Standard on executive power:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul185.html

Posted by: d on December 20, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

FDR did indeed radically reshape the office of the President and expand its powers. What makes that very, very different from what Bush is doing is that Roosevelt did so transparently and with full appreciation of the Congress's prerogatives of oversight and accountability. The court-packing scheme was an exception to this, and he got smacked down handily by a Congress that took its role as a check on the executive seriously. Times of crisis, like the Great Depression or 9/11, may indeed call for a more expansive role for the Executive Branch. That's not the gripe progressives have with Bush. It's that the scope of the Presidential powers he is claiming, what he does with them, to whom, and for how long, have been declared a state secret. Roosevelt never claimed that as Commander-in-Chief, for example, he could direct the armed forces to violate American or international law, nor did he use "signing statements" to assert that he could implement legislation in any way he saw fit regardless of what the courts or Congress said. That is precisely what Bush claims he can to and why his way of expanding presidential power is so corrosive to our democracy.

It's also why Roosevelt is considered the greatest President of the twentieth century and Bush will be regarded as a blight on our national conscience for generations to come.

Posted by: jonas on December 20, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Signing statements didn't originate with Bush, they go back at least to Andrew Jackson. Reagan and Clinton used them. In regard to the illegal use of force, there's Clinton again, along with every other recent president.

Posted by: Don Bacon on December 20, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, signing statements are old. What other presidents would do is write something expressing how glad they were that Congress finally enacted this or that program that will help the American people, yada, yada. What they did not do was use them as an extralegal memorandum to state that they reserved the right not to enforce the law, or to only enforce it selectively as they saw fit in their role as commander-in-chief. And please, pray tell, when did Clinton or any other recent president ever assert that US troops or other agencies were not obliged to act in accordance with international or US law? You've called, Don. Let's see your cards.

Posted by: jonas on December 20, 2007 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Executive Power ? Bush is a spend thrift, liar and a spy. Bucks up against Congress until they finally give in and give this stupid SOB more money in the sum of $70 Billions More Dollars for his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, how fucking stupid can they be after he vetoes the child health bill twice, Congress and the Democrats need to grow some balls and learn how to stand up against this tyrant.

Posted by: Al on December 20, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards for President.

Posted by: bobbywally on December 20, 2007 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Will whoever has hijacked Al's good troll name above please not do that? Al is the official handle of the wingosphere's most unhinged id and it's really disappointing to see it become anything less.

Posted by: jonas on December 20, 2007 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

jonas: You've called, Don. Let's see your cards.

Cats and dogs, jonas, cats and dogs.

re: signing statements, from "By Order of the President", by Phillip J. Cooper

p. 200: "There was real frustration by legislators of both parties with the sense that the White House had decided to do whatever it pleased, even if that meant repudiating the provisions of legislation that the president had signed. This particular confrontation can be traced back to a statement issued by the president in October 1999 when he signed the Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2000. His statement, to all intents and purposes, told the Congress that Clinton dod not intend that his administration would implement the law as Congress had written it."

p. 201: "It was the Reagan administration that had taken what had ben a relatively benign and largely ceremonial practice of issuing a statement on signing of legislation and worked to make it a systematic and effective weapon to trump congressional action and to influence not only the implementation of the law but also its legal interpretation."

re: Clinton's illegal use of force

On June 26, 1993, Clinton bombed Baghdad in retaliation for an alleged but unproven Iraq plot to assassinate former President George Bush. Eight Iraqi civilians, including the distinguished Iraqi artist Layla al-Attar were killed in the raid, and 12 more were wounded.

Clinton's 1998 bombing of Afghanistan and the Sudan. Unknown numbers were killed in Afghanistan (and by the missiles that accidentally landed in Pakistan), and the pharmaceutical factory destroyed in the Sudan was the major source of medical drugs in that poor country.

Clinton's inhumane policy of sanctions on Iraq, supplemented by the maintenance of intense satellite surveillance and regular bombing attacks that have often resulted in civilian casualties. UNICEF reports that in 1999 more than 1 million Iraqi children under 5 were suffering from chronic malnutrition, and some 4,000-5,000 children are dying per month beyond normal death rates from the combination of malnutrition and disease.

Finally, the US/NATO war on Yugoslavia, 78 days of high-intensityy bombing of civilian targets--bridges, hospitals, schools.

Posted by: Don Bacon on December 20, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

It is the best grounds for impeaching Bush and Cheney - because they committed so many crimes but just like Harry Reid showed us all in the FISA Bill, whereby recently with 76 - 10 congress members are ready to throw the US Constitution out the window. Dems don't care what voters think either, at least not beyond the election.

Posted by: me-again on December 20, 2007 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

What is needed is not a president who is willing to "give up" that power.

What is really needed is for enough Americans who are not willing to let congress or the president take these powers. There are too many Americans that think freedom is drinking beer and lighting 4th of July fireworks.

Posted by: me-again on December 20, 2007 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Not a SINGLE vote cast in any Primary, yet the media has conspicuously and arbitrarily "narrowed" the field to these few, as if the contest were already decided.

Some "democracy", huh?

(Translation: The corporations have made their choices -- "like it or lump it".)
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 20, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

My question is when did Hillary Clinton get executive experience? I swear she was just First Lady.

Posted by: Keith on December 20, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

"... how fucking stupid can they be ...?"

After so MANY instances of glaring Congressional complicity with the Fascists, it's nearly impossible to believe that "stupidity" has any relevance.

It surely appears by now that the most "malleable" Democrats in Congress, including the supposed leadership, are in reality "dumb like foxes".

Whatever else, they're clearly serving their own agenda in some fashion, though it ill serves the country as a whole. What motivates such arguably treasonous behavior, be it "carrot" or "stick", is the real question

For example. one doesn't issue "carte blanche" to a dictatorship by decreeing impeachment "off the table" unless one stands to benefit from such duplicitous enabling.

J'accuse!
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 20, 2007 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
- George Orwell, 1984

Report indicates White House encouraged torture tape destruction
Administration demands retraction, calling news story "pernicious"
By Joe Kay [WSWS News]

At least four top White House lawyers knew about the existence of videotapes documenting the torture of prisoners held by the US Central Intelligence Agency, according to a report published Wednesday. One source has said that several officials strongly encouraged the destruction of the tapes to eliminate evidence of the interrogations.

The report, published in the New York Times, directly implicates leading figures in the Bush administration in the criminal destruction of evidence, in addition to the original crime of torture captured on the videotapes. In an indication of the extreme nervousness of the White House over the revelations, press secretary Dana Perino immediately issued a highly unusual statement condemning the article and demanding that the Times change its headline. ...
.

Posted by: Poilu on December 20, 2007 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

"The history of the great events of this world are scarcely more than the history of crime."
--Voltaire

Posted by: Quotation Man on December 20, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, the US/NATO war on Yugoslavia, 78 days of high-intensityy bombing of civilian targets--bridges, hospitals, schools.

Uh-huh. Power grids and telephone exchanges, themselves targets of dubious legality, I'll grant you, but hospitals and schools? Not even.

Posted by: dob on December 20, 2007 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

>...Bush administration's enormous expansion of executive power...

Giggle...You mean that expansion of ILLEGAL executive powers?

It's kinda hard to keep something your not suppose to have, or do, in the first place.

No reason to even try to "keep" any of it.

Posted by: James on December 20, 2007 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

This is the biggest argument in favor of the election of Ron Paul. I do not trust any of the other candidates, R or D, to give up the powers that Bush has claimed for the office of the president. Paul has the longest and most clear track record with this issue. The mealy-mouthed responses of all of the other candidates should be warning to the voters.

The same wishy-washy responses are given by the "major" candidates with regard to Iraq--once again Paul has a clear, unequivocal track record.

What about Paul on the other issues that are problematic to many voters (abortion, currency, IRS, etc)?

My response--what does the president actually control? He controls the conduct of his office and agencies and the military and foreign affairs. This means that the issues of Iraq, foreign policy and presidential power expansion can, and will, be controlled by him.

All of the other issues are so mired in legal and legislative control and regulation that a spirited and cleansing debate can be had on the other troublesome topics. Who knows where these issues end up? Who knows, but they are largely out of his immediate and direct control.

Posted by: Neal on December 20, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

OFF TOPIC:

I've just watched the 2003 BBC documentary "Bush Family Fortunes" by American Greg Palast, and it's pretty interesting.

My two major criticism are: (1) It includes Bill Burkett, the witness in the matter of the destroyed Bush Reserve documents. The matter is so fraught and obnoxious to even think about--I believe him, but he may have been played later with false documents, and why couldn't he have fished the damn things out of the garbage. And (2) Palast's phony Matt Drudge-style 1940s-tec affectations, with slouchy hat and trenchcoat. He really oversells the material, both in person and in the cheesy voice-overs. At least the voice-overs could have been done by some well-spoken Englishman, and not with that nasal, nasal, nasal American whine. (Although he does sound exactly like Michael Moore, I suppose.)

The good thing about the show is its gathering of tidbits of information and background that you don't get anywhere else. It was interesting to see a one-time associate from Bush's Arbusto ("little bush") oil company, showing off Bush's business card and the office-tower in the middle of nowhere where they once had their office. And it was intersting to learn about the Binladin family's backing of Arbusto through an intermediary. No wonder Binladins' terrorist financing was left uninvestigated by the FBI, despite the known activities of family members.

Posted by: Anon on December 20, 2007 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

I'm an admirer of Congressional Quarterly. The publication does, however, have a tendency to look at politicians' positions in a somewhat abstract way, and tends also to take those positions at face value.

In the first place, the Bush administration has mostly sought to expand White House authority, and to some extent the authority of national security agencies -- not "executive authority." Most Executive Branch agencies have actually lost freedom of action since Bush took office, in the most fundamental way: they have less ability to decide how their own budgets are spent. Congress, which used to append hundreds of earmarks to federal appropriations bills, now adds thousands. This isn't something Congress has forced on the White House; the administration barely complained about the torrent of earmarks until the Republicans lost their Congressional majorities.

Secondly, the expansion of "Presidential authority" by the Bush administration has included a novel element -- meaning an element previous Presidents not only never asked for, but would have opposed had it be suggested. This is the expansive role of the Office of the Vice President. In George Bush's White House, Dick Cheney has functioned as a kind of co-President, exercising all the authority of his nominal superior whenever Bush declines to object. This isn't analogous to anything any previous President attempted. Just imagine Richard Nixon's reaction to a proposal to clear the opening to China with Spiro Agnew.

Finally, there isn't much ambiguity about the motivation for some of the administration's baldest assertions of executive privilege. Time after time, the White House has asserted privilege simply to avoid the publication of politically embarrassing information. It is probably stretching a point unreasonably to interpret this as an application of an expansive view of executive authority -- as opposed to a reflex to cover up the use of government agencies to fulfill campaign-related objectives.

Which among the 2008 Presidential candidates would fight most tenaciously for the right to do the same kind of thing Bush has in this regard? Giuliani, for sure. Clinton, for sure. McCain, probably not. The others are likely somewhere in between. It isn't just a question of how a candidate feels about "executive authority" in the abstract, but what kind of executive authority we're talking about and what each candidate would want to use it for.

Posted by: Zathras on December 21, 2007 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Chicounsel: Unlike Bubba, who lost almost every court decision regarding his assertions of executive authority or privilege, Bush has mostly won in the courts.

It helps if you've got the court in your pocket - that's how he got "elected" in the first place.

Posted by: alex on December 21, 2007 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

Shame CQ could not be bothered to ask Dodd, Biden, or Richardson, as if they don't exist even though no one has voted. And they seem able to ask more than three Republicans. Democrats, not so much.

Personally, I'm upset these sorts of useful activities are used to marginalize candidates by excluding them. Which makes them disappear, again before any votes are cast.

Posted by: Fred on December 21, 2007 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

Poor Edwards. Even we he gives the right answer, he's just being a "fiery populist". Give the man his due and your vote!

Posted by: padcrasher on December 21, 2007 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

"De facto, nil de jure"?

Posted by: Forrest on December 21, 2007 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Example of cases where the courts rejected Bubba's claims of executive privilege -Chicounsel

I was referring to cases sent to the courts on the validity of Bush signing statements, not Clintons cases.

Posted by: Ya Know... on December 21, 2007 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 20, 2007 at 3:50 PM

Amen to that. Where's Big Bill?

Posted by: Apollo 13 on December 21, 2007 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

I hear Ron Paul is willing to give up Executive power. Lots of Executive power.

I hear Ron Paul has raised over $18.4 million dollars this quarter.

I hear Ron Paul is tied for third in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Are people around here deaf?

Posted by: Sean Scallon on December 21, 2007 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

I hear that after raising all those clams, Ron Paul is polling exactly even with Alan Keyes among Republicans.

Posted by: shortstop on December 21, 2007 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

Bush says Congress wasting time and money, he is a fine one to talk about someone else wasting time and money , and what he has been doing for the last seven years is what? His sorry azz has been spending money like a druken sailor ever since he has been in office, he fills our head with his lies like the Economy is strong sure it is with all the foreclosures and unemployment and the housing market going down the tubes, keep on living in your fantasy world Bush your time left before you leave office cant come soon enough for me, you are a disgrace.

Posted by: Al on December 21, 2007 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

When someone demands evidence Bush/Cheney has expanded Executive branch power it makes you wonder what planet they've been living on for the last few years. Even the admnistration claims they have expanded powers under the Unitary Executive theory. To ask for evidence is evidence of idiocy.

Posted by: MarkH on December 21, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

"And I noticed that no one has yet provided a single example of an assertion of executive power by Bush that was found by the courts to be unconstitutional or illegal."

Since you have not provided a single example of an assertion of executive power by Bush that was found by the courts to be constitutional or legal, forgive us if we don't take this silliness any more seriously than the rest of your ill-informed rants.

In any case, we didn't provide the data becausae a) you made the assertion, which means that it is up to you to support it, and b) the cases are so well known. Bush has lost more than he has won. And where he has won it is not because he has won on the merits, it is because he has successfully blocked the court from issuing a ruling on the merits. You know this as well as we do, which is why you haven't even tried to justify your idiotic assertion.

"Sigh, I realize that your attempts to make a contribution to the debate are apparently self-evidently obvious to you, but for the rest of us, could you try to have a point."

ROFL.... Project much, dear?

"How? Why?"

Dear heart, were you truly a "counsel," you would not have to ask those questions. In any case, since you know quite well what I was referring to, forgive me if I decline to play your silly little games.

"Do you have any idea of stupid you appear when attempting to debate when you are clearly out matched and can offer nothing of substance."

ROFL..... Oh, the irony of this statement coming from this poster. I do so love the guy. I wonder if he truly doesn't understand just how much of a parody he has become?

Posted by: PaulB on December 21, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Chicounsel, dear? I really could not care less whether you respond or not. Since you post only mindless partisan drivel, no real discussion with you is possible, which is why all you've gotten from me is mockery and derision.

Posted by: PaulB on December 21, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

"What makes that very, very different from what Bush is doing is that Roosevelt did so transparently and with full appreciation of the Congress's prerogatives of oversight and accountability."

Keep in mind, too, that the Bush administration has done everything in its power to block oversight, both Congressional and Judicial. No president has ever made such extensive use of the "state secrets" exception to try to prevent the courts from ruling on the legality of the cases before them.

Posted by: PaulB on December 21, 2007 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Let's assume, for the sense of argument, that with George Bush as President there has been an "enormous expansion of executive power". The point is that this expansion has been allowed and facilitated by the Congress, particularly the current Congress which has just gone on recess after giving the president everything he asked for, without reservation.

This Democratic Congress has failed to end the Iraq War, which 70% of Americans favor. It has failed to restore habeus corpus, failed to end rendition and torture, and failed to close Gitmo. Last summer. the Congress caved and expanded a warrantless domestic spying program that should have been ended. What has Congress been doing? These losers tried to condemn a newspaper ad and failed, but they were successful in passing a resolution praising Christianity. Now that took courage.

History has shown that power, if unchecked, expands and fills a vacuum. The Congress is that vacuum. The governmental body which has been granted the preponderance of power by the Constitution has failed to exercise it, thus allowing the President to exercise executive power which has been totally unchecked.

The subject of this thread is--what have presidential aspirants said about solving this problem? The answer, with he exception of Ron Paul, is . . . nothing. So the question arises, if this is such an enormous problem, and it is, then why hasn't any prez wannabe except Paul remarked about it? The answer to that is that they would presumably do the same, and THAT clearly illustrates that the solution to the problem lies not with any president but with the Congress.

Posted by: Don Bacon on December 21, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Just had to come back to note the irony of someone who wrote:

Do you have any idea of stupid you appear when attempting to debate when you are clearly out matched and can offer nothing of substance.

also writing:

Bush has mostly won in the courts.

Do let us know when you're going to offer any "substance," won't you, dear?

Posted by: PaulB on December 21, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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