Sunday, September 17, 2006

John Yoo's Vision of the U.S. Under the Unitary Executive

Scanning the newspaper before hitting the sack, I'm absolutely flabbergasted by John Yoo's op-ed in the New York Times this morning. I cannot believe that someone who has read the same Constitution as I have, can come to the the conculsions that he makes. Bush's critics "seem to believe that the Constitution created a system of judicial or congressional supremacy"? The Constitution is quite specific about the powers granted to the Congress, including the legislative, budget-making, and war-making powers that he specifically claims as presidential.

His interpretation of history is also astounding. He writes that the limits placed on executive power in the 1970's "occurred largely because we had no serious national security threats to United States soil, but plenty of paranoia in the wake of Richard Nixon's use of national security agencies to spy on political opponents." The Soviet Union, their tens of thousands of nuclear missles capable of flatting the nation a hundred times over, did not consitute a "serious national security threat"? But, by contrast, al Qaeda is? As for Nixon, the paranoia existed precisely because of his illegal conduct. Professor Yoo seems to believe, like many of the unitary executives, that Nixon did not actually do anything wrong. How someone can hold that view is beyond me.

In a way, though, his writing is refreshingly clear. Most Bush Administration propaganda is so filled with doublespeak, hollow language, and marketing hype that it is never clear what the true intetions are. Here, Yoo distinctly lists the controversial and illegal actions the president has taken; re-classifying declassified material, detaining prisoners without charge, "sidestepping laws that invade his executive authority", and preparing to execute prisoners without thier being told why.

Of all of the ideologies coming out of the Republican party, this Unitary Executive theory is by far the most poisonous to our Republic. And those who espouse it show every intention of claiming as much power as possible, to the point that representative democracy devloves into a dictatorship of the one person "elected by and accountable to the nation as a whole." Despite low poll numbers, many Republicans are still drinking th Bush koolaid, but clearly there are a few who balk at unrestrained executive power, such as Sens. McCain, Graham, and Warner. If the Democrats cannot run on this issue, then they have no hope. And if no one, from either party, can or will resist this, then our way of government and our heritage is in serious jeopardy.


Post a Comment

<< Home