Checks, Balances, and Limiting Executive Privelege

Okay, so the ever odious Jules Crittendon does as Jules is going to do from time to time; nitpick at liberal bloggers, misrepresent the argument, toss it in a blender with some really blatant double speak, and ultimately come up with a concoction that is the equivalent of intellectual diarrhea. Nothing new.

The bigger point I think Jules is going for is that we’re making a whole bunch of noise over nothing, we should probably just shut up and be grateful that we have the privelege of being presided over by George W. Bush. There’s no proof Rove did anything wrong, so why make a big deal?

Incidentally, it’s worth pointing out that Crittendon actually hints at sharing my views, which I find kinda funny because this is all very much a mirror of an issue I had with conservative blogger Ed Morrissey yesterday, namely that these guys are slowly coming around to the realities of this administration kicking and screaming the whole way.

Don’t worry Jules, you’ll get there eventually, and once you do, you may be wondering what the hell was going on in your head over the past God knows how long, but you’ll be glad that you finally saw the light.

Indeed, a rising theme among the right isn’t that we on the left are wrong, per se, we’re just being overly ambitious, as our resident conservative commentor xranger pointed out yesterday:

You are falling into the lib trap of saying that anything the executive branch talks about amongst themselves is open for congressional scrutiny. It is not.

Methinks that this could be pushed up to the Supreme Court. If the libs lose that, what a black eye to congress and oversight.Much to the joy of future presidents, of both stripes.

So this is my theory. We’re slowly all coming around to being on the same side, but because we’ve been in the trenches for so long, we’re finding it very difficult to amicably call a truce for something I think both sides of the internet politcal debate find incredibly troubling; the growing powers of the Executive Branch.

Disillusioned Bush supporters may not necessarily like what he’s doing, some may even believe he’s pretty much taken the entire Republican party and flushed it down the toilet, but when this realization hits the battlegrounds what you find is that the battlelines are drawn over whole new territories and all of a sudden conservatives find themselves on the same side as liberals, gulp! How can we ever get along?

Well one thing to do is realize and agree upon one thing; this administration is grossly abusing the rights, priveleges, and powers of the Executive branch. The structure of our government is such that each branch is equal and separate thereby allowing any one branch to legally check the power of the other, essentially preventing power abuses.

Over the last six years, this has not been the case as the Republican led Congress was largely aligned with the Bush agenda and therefore had no cause to enact constitutional checks and balances to rein the president in. But as the entire country shifts away from the president, seeing how flawed and detrimental his policies are, and a new Democratic majority resides in congress, we find that we aren’t able to stifle the Executive branch as we should be.

It is this very aspect that lies at the heart of everything in this debate; that whether you agree with the president or not, he should not have this much power and be this free from the oversight of constitutional checks and balances as this one is. I offer it up to conservatives like this, imagine Hillary Clinton were president… I know, I know, bear with me. No, wait, let’s make it real clear. Imagine Michael Moore somehow managed to be elected president, just do it, pretend he used the Supreme Court to help him steal the election if you must.

Now with that particular head of state in place, imagine him using all the tactics Bush has done to solidify his power to push forward his radical socialist agenda and avoid congressional and public oversight. Disturbing right? Okay good.

No president should be this powerful, no president should have the ability to stonewall an investigation into possibly illegal activities perpetrated by his administration that directly affect the state of the nation. Clinton was impeached over a blow job and should have been, he did some pretty bad things. But here’s the crux; what Clinton did had virtually no bearing on the state of the union nor on our foreign policy and place in the world. The missteps of the Bush Administration have had EVERYTHING to do with governance, and must be held to account.

The single issue that stands in the way of this, one that is not protected by the Constitution, by the way, is that of Executive Privelege, which brings us back to xranger’s comment above. It seems the growing wisdom among the right is that we shouldn’t pursue because to do so risks having this power of the Executive solidified and therefore setting the stage for years to come to engage in the same abuses.

I say, bullshit. The flaw in this logic is that if we don’t try it, if we don’t push the envelope, then the precedent is already set. Bush has already engaged in a blatant misuse of the privelege, and if this misuse goes unchallenged what mechanism is there to prevent future presidents from doing the same? If we don’t stop here, what’s to stop Hillary, or Michael Moore?

This is the bottom line. We are in the middle of a gray area here, a very dangerous gray area. Considering the abuses of this administration it is necessary that we should seek to define this gray area in crystal clear black and white. When this is done we must then evaluate if the resulting boundary of executive power is acceptable to our constitution and beneficial for our country. If it isn’t, then we must, through the Legislative, seek to change where this boundary lies.

It’s just that simple.

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