Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Curbing the Enthusiasm

USAToday.com has an article about Senator Hillary Clinton's thoughts on Executive Power, and what she intends to do with it if elected President. Speaking to the British publication, The Guardian, Mrs. Clinton says she "would consider giving up some" power, while acknowledging that the Bush Administration has gone a bit beyond the Constitution's boundaries regarding its use of Executive Power.

Recently, PBS's Frontline produced a compelling piece about this very subject within Mr. Bush's White House called "Cheney's Law". The documentary examines how the current administration, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, was intent on restoring pre-Watergate Executive Authority and doing so irregardless of legal precedents, congressional opposition and judicial objections. From the NSA wiretap operation involving the telecommunications industry to the use of torture tactics in foreign lands, Mr. Cheney was (and may still be) determined to concentrate the President's power in the Oval Office, using the Justice Department as his tool in the process.

Mrs. Clinton's ambiguous comments ought to be taken seriously, and not because she may curb Executive Power, but because she may do the exact opposite. In the interview with The Guardian, she never gives any specifics regarding Mr. Bush's transgressions, nor does she enlighten us as to how she would specifically narrow Executive Power. It's amazing that one of the most lasting impressions of the Bush presidency for generations to come will be his use of Executive Power, yet she chooses to address it lightly, and only when a foreign reporter brings it up.

This is not something that's unique to Mrs. Clinton, but to all of the Presidential candidates. In the Republican field, there seems to be a greater appetite for torture techniques, so you can assume Executive Power will not be trimmed back. Nor do you hear any specifics from the Democratic heavyweights on how they would return to a system of checks and balances, and not one of King George III, ruling the country without any accountability. It makes one pause regarding the reasons they're running. Is it to improve the nation and continue its progress, or is it for the power?

In extraordinary times, it's important to have a President, Congress and Judiciary willing to make the important, tough decisions that will preserve our safety and maintain the democracy. It is always imprudent, however, for citizens to not be more accountable to each other and hold elected officials as such in those extraordinary moments.

3 comments:

Kris said...

Nice post. And I think I can answer part of that for you: yes, it's for the power. I never even realized that was up for debate. When you look at the risks and rewards, and everything that a Presidential candidate has to endure, even before they get to worry about actually being President, it just isn't worth it - unless you crave power. I'm jaded, yes, but anyone good-hearted enough to run for better reasons doesn't get past local government office.

Anonymous said...

The post, combined with your comments, just made me a little sad. God bless...To hell with it.

Douglas E. Flynn said...

I'd have to say you are being overly cynical.