Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Executive Powers

There's a lot of talk and argument going on around the net about how now all the Republicans who trumpeted executive power during the Bush regime will suddenly embrace checks-and-balances now that Obama holds the reigns, and contrastingly how Democrats who have been wailing about Bush's expansion of executive power will suddenly be okay with those same power being wielded by Obama.

Already, we've seen John Bolton and John "the President can torture anyone he wants" Yoo do that exact about face in suddenly arguing that we need to reign in the President in this NY Times editorial.

So, I will come out right now and say where I stand: the powers Bush claimed and exercised that I argued were illegal and unconstitutional under the Bush regime are still illegal and unconstitutional under the Obama admininstration. I do not want any President having or using them, no matter his or her political party.

I'm no more comfortable that Obama can now, for instance, designate US citizens as "enemy combatants" and hold them indefinitely than I was when Bush could do it. It was wrong when Bush claimed the power and used it. It is wrong for Obama to have it and would be wrong for him to use it.

And I'm not comfortable with forgetting about the precedents Bush set now that Obama is in office. "Obama won't do that" isn't a comfort to me. For one thing, I can only hope Obama won't use those powers. For another, those precedents are still there whether Obama uses the powers or not. I don't want future Presidents to have those powers either.

My position on those powers us unchanged. The President should not have them, and it matters not whether there is an (R) or a (D) behind the name of the person currently occupying that office.


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