PolySciFi Blog

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Executive Power Grab Round-Up!

Dick Cheney and the White House want to be sure that non-Department of Defense agencies are explicitly allowed to mistreat prisoners. I'll say that again. The White House, afraid that the McCain Amendment will force them to close down the CIA's secret prisons, want U.S. law to explicitly authorize prisoner abuse. The White House's claims that the prisoner abuse scandals represented a few bad apples acting alone were always ludicrous. And the few non-administration officials who claimed that the McCain Amendment was unnecessary because it only reiterated what was already government policy should be feeling pretty silly right now. Here's the story in Reuters.

Scott McClellan has implied that Rove and Libby lied to him. Which is interesting, given all the other spurious bullshit he spews at press conferences. Could it be that he's just been misled, all this time? And that's a serious question: Ari Fleischer obviously took real relish in lying to the press, but McClellan might have actually believed what he's been saying. Perhaps the cognitive dissonance is finally getting to be too much.

Finally, the Claremont Institute has an interesting essay about Bush and Federalism (if you haven't noticed, he's mostly agin it). This may have interesting long-term consequences for the small-government wing of the party (or what's left of it, anyway). I personally think that both Nixon's Southern Strategy and Regean's courting of evangelicals are going to be seen as Frankenstein stories by intellectual conservatives within, say, fifty years. Evangelicals especially tend to be authoritarian; once awakened, it didn't take long for them to notice how much good they could do with the federal government under their control. Here's John Eastman's summary from the article:
The big business component of the Marketeer part of the triad began to realize that a broad and preemptive federal regulatory power was better for them than having to deal with less sophisticated regulatory agencies in 50 different states, placing them squarely at odds with the limited government and federalism ideology. And the Doves, for their part, began to see a national government in their hands as a solution for the ills of society, a view equally at odds with limited government and federalism.
I don't want to hail any of the commentators on the right as heroes for finally stating the obvious. With Katrina and Meiers in short succession, Bush's incompetence and cronyism hit a tipping point. It's as fashionable to be a "dissenting conservative abiding by principles" as it was fashionable to be a "hard-hitting reporter speaking truth to power" during the destruction of New Orleans. But both spectacles were great fun to watch. Get your popcorn ready.

(Of course, with the notable exception of Obama, the Democratic Party is still unable to articulate what they'd do better, except that they'd make things better. Not good enough).


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