Monday, September 18, 2006

Yoo Gotta Be Kidding Me

In yesterday's New York Times, Bush apologist John Yoo (formerly of Dubya's Attorney General's office and now of some fancy shmancy law school on the West Coast) attempted to defend Dubya's gross post-9/11 power grab. He fails miserably. There's too much wrong there to attack point by point, but the proposition garnering the most press in the blogosphere is this whopper:

A reinvigorated presidency enrages President Bush’s critics, who seem to believe that the Constitution created a system of judicial or congressional supremacy. Perhaps this is to be expected of the generation of legislators that views the presidency through the lens of Vietnam and Watergate. But the founders intended that wrongheaded or obsolete legislation and judicial decisions would be checked by presidential action, just as executive overreaching is to be checked by the courts and Congress.
C'mon, pull the other one. Presidents can ignore "wrongheaded" legislation? That's going to come as some shock to the other living presidents (and, I imagine, most rational folks). Of course, this comes from a man who writes:
The changes of 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.
Ah, I see, it was the paranoia following Nixon's domestic spying operation that's responsible for the weak Presidency, not the domestic spying itself. Got it!

Glenn Greenwald does a good job of dissecting Yoo's arguments here, with help from the infamous leftwing bloggers who wrote The Federalist Papers.

From the Department of the Irony Challenged, revel in this Yoo quote from the Clinton days:
The second thing is that the Clinton Administration has displayed a fundmental disrespect for the rule of law. Not in the sense that they don't make legal arguments to defend their positions, but the legal arguments are so outrageous, they're so incredible, that they actually show, I think, a disrespect for the idea of law, by showing how utterly manipulable it is.
I wonder how Yoo has compartmentalized his memories of that statement during his current Dubya Uber Alles days. One would think his head would explode from cognitive dissonance if they met in his brain.


jedi jawa said...

Two of the best books that I have read about the abuses of the Bush administration were from two guys who really know their stuff when it comes to the separation of powers doctrine and the checks and balances system regardless of what one may think of them politically.

Former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean's "Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush" details how this Executive has gone far beyond the abuses that we think of when we look back to the Nixon Administration and this book was written during Bush's first term. Dean has written a second book that I want to check out called "Conservatives Without Conscience" that is supposed to discuss the modern conservative push to abdicate the checks and balances in favor of an authoritarian approach to governance.

Of course the other book is W.Va. Senator Robert Byrd's "Losing America: Confronting a Reckless and Arrogant Presidency" which details the historical role of Congressional authority all the way back to the Magna Carta and how both this Executive has done much to usurp that power and how the increasingly Republican filled Legislative Branch has done much to give that power away. Byrd is known in Washington as being a Constitutional scholar and he really backs up his arguments well. A big focus of the book is how the most important power that Congress has, the power of appropriation, has been most under attack lately as the Legislative Branch has been giving blank checks to this Executive to fund things like this "war on terror" that threatens to bankrupt the country while not limiting the uses for those funds in a way that ensures responsibility in the use of Executive power.

Both books are great reads and should be read by anybody who wants to understand what's wrong with the way that this Executive has gone about carrying out his office. I would especially recommend them for people who don't seem to get that it doesn't matter what you think of the President as a person, rather it is his policies that determine the shape of our government and society for the next decade.

jedi jawa said...

Avast me hearties! In all of my political thoughts I got caught up and forgot to Talk Like a Pirate today!