First off, a hat tip goes to Hunter who front-paged about this today. A h/t isn’t worth diddly, but it’s all I’ve got to ackowledge another very well written piece. I recommend reading the whole thing – it’s reasonably short. So what’s going on?
John Yoo spent years under President Bush crafting legal memoranda declaring that everything Bush did was legal … because he was the president. It’s been the unspoken hallmark of this neo-Con-servative government: Congress and the courts can suck an egg because the Constitution was really written so that the President had all the power. They’ve had great success cowing Congress into buying into their insane theory, the courts less so. But Yoo was the lead person writing things regarding torture, preemptive warfare, illegal domestic wiretapping and more.
John Bolton? He spent much of his career disparaging the United Nations. Until Bush nominated him to be our ambassador to the U.N. Bolton was also a vocal fan of preemptive warfare and expanding Presidential powers. He has never been a fan of diplomacy and treaty making.
Which is ultimately what their petty letter to the New York Times was all about. They advocate the Senate block Obama’s attempts to have the U.S. sign new treaties. When you get right down to it, Hunter correctly identifies this piece as the height of comedic gold.
THE Constitution’s Treaty Clause has long been seen, rightly, as a bulwark against presidential inclinations to lock the United States into unwise foreign commitments. […] Executive agreements have an acknowledged but limited place in our foreign affairs.
If the quote from their opinion piece seems to conflict with my characterization of these two men’s work, it’s because it does. Flagrantly so. Hunter said it better than I can (emphasis mine):
Now, one could ponder, if one were so inclined, exactly what parallel dimension we have entered in which Satan’s own personal attorney, John Freaking Yoo, Bush administration apologist and go-to legal word-wrangler for seemingly every vicious, Constitution-dismissing, Geneva-convention-violating abomination that the administration could come up with for eight treaty-shredding, conscience-shocking years, suddenly comes to a point of epiphany and declares that Presidential power must now be studiously circumscribed. The answer, however, is so obvious as to defy even humor: he cares because now a Democrat will be president, and the outcome might be less to his liking.
Al Qaeda, two wars, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and an ongoing presidentially-backed domestic espionage effort could not shake their belief in unitary executive power, but talking about potentially lowering carbon emissions is a bridge too far.
The emphasis is all you really need to know about this. It’s another foundation of modern Con-servatism: It’s OKay If You’re A Republican. The same powers and privileges should not be available to Democrats. I told my conservative friends the past couple of years they should be careful which powers they want Bush to have because a Democrat would lay claim to them one day. That day has come, and as many progressive predicted, the Cons are freaking out. Fortunately for them, I don’t expect Obama to abuse his office like Bush has the past 8 years. Bush had the corporate media cheerleading nearly everything he did. Obama will have the corporate media hounding him on nearly everything he does. All in the name of fairness, of course.