Monday, April 02, 2007

Two More Imperial Presidents-in-Waiting

The cancer is spreading through the ranks of Republican leadership. Ramesh Ponurru reports at National Review Online:
Crane says he was disappointed with Romney's answer to his question the other night. Crane asked if Romney believed the president should have the authority to arrest U.S. citizens with no review. Romney said he would want to hear the pros and cons from smart lawyers before he made up his mind. Crane said that he had asked Giuliani the same question a few weeks ago. The mayor said that he would want to use this authority infrequently.
What is wrong with the Republican Party? The pernicious effects of Bushism and its embrace of the unconstitutional and authoritarian as the necessary and patriotic seem to be seeping into the conservative mainstream. Glenn Greenwald takes up the issue at Salon:
Two of the three leading Republican candidates for President either embrace or are open to embracing the idea that the President can imprison Americans without any review, based solely on the unchecked decree of the President. And, of course, that is nothing new, since the current Republican President not only believes he has that power but has exercised it against U.S. citizens and legal residents in the U.S. -- including those arrested not on the "battlefield," but on American soil.

What kind of American isn't just instinctively repulsed by the notion that the President has the power to imprison Americans with no charges? And what does it say about the current state of our political culture that one of the two political parties has all but adopted as a plank in its platform a view of presidential powers and the federal government that is -- literally -- the exact opposite of what this country is?
More here.

Update: Mona at Unqualified Offerings has this (and much more) to say:
I am entirely ready to conclude that modern conservatism (and the GOP) has long been evolving toward — and has now entirely reached — incompatibility with any reasonable conception of libertarianism.

. . .

Modern Republicanism is a corrupt, proto-fascist movement, and I think neocons have more to do with it than perhaps Jim does, particularly as they have married the theocons who also tend to be Christian Zionists. But whatever the reason, it is time for libertarians to realize that many liberals and Democrats, at this critical juncture (and with exceptions), wear hats of, if not white, at least beige compared with the utter black ones atop the heads of such as George W. Bush or Rudy Giuliani.
Second Update:

Well it looks like Giuliani really needs a refresher course in basic civics and our form of constitutional government if he has any intention of becoming President, because this is turning into a trend. Greenwald highlights yet another statement betraying a woefully narrow understanding of Congress' war powers:
Now, NR's Rich Lowry, who attended a Giuliani event in New Hampshire last night, reveals statements made by Giuliani explaining his views of presidential war powers that are at least as extremist and disturbing as the ones revealed this weekend:
Rudy to Bush: Ignore Congress?

Rudy was asked about the Iraq supplemental. He said he finds it "irresponsible and dangerous." Then he began to muse about, after a veto, "would the president have the constitutional authority to support them [the troops], anyway?" He said he's a lawyer so he wouldn't offer an opinion "off the top of his head," then he proceeded to do just that.

He seemed to suggest that Bush could fund the Iraq war without Congress providing funding, but it was confusing. In an interview with a New Hampshire TV reporter after his remarks, he seemed more categorical and said, since the war had been authorized by Congress, the president has "the inherent authority to support the troops." But he added, "You have to ask a constitutional lawyer."
It really should go without saying that (as even Bush supporter Rich Lowry recognizes) these comments ought to be a major media story. One could even argue that, standing alone, they are office-disqualifying. Particularly in light of Giuliani's belief in process-less arrest of American citizens, this really is a complete repudiation of how our government works, of the most basic and unquestioned constitutional principles of our republic. Literally.
At least up until now, even the most radical of the Bush Theorists of Presidential Omnipotence -- even the John Yoo/Dick Cheney/David Addington strain -- have acknowledged that the two (and, in their view, seemingly only) powers Congress has is to fund or de-fund various policies, and make decisions about war, and that Congress therefore has the power to end the war in Iraq by refusing to fund it or de-authorizing it. Even John Yoo . . .
More here.

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