Russell's Blog

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Posted by Russell on August 15, 2007 at 9:24 p.m.
Evidently, no one noticed that in passing the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, Gonzalez will get yet another nifty new power. Now, he can fast-track the process of killing prisoners. Hurray!

I wonder if it has ever occurred to the friends of the administration to wonder how these various expanded powers might be exploited by a hypothetical power-hungry, incompetent and ruthless ultra left-wing Democrat. It wasn't that long ago that people were actually somewhat concerned that a seemingly moderate Democrat might turn out to be a card-carrying Communist taking his instructions (or his ideas) straight from the Politburo. On the basis of such a possibility, wouldn't one want to blunt the power of such a disastrous individual by insisting on a limited executive?

I think we can take Republican party's embrace of expanded executive power as sufficient proof that they understand that the radical left is dead. They know that the most sinister thing the Democratic party has to offer is a few small-time crooks and the occasional philanderer. We can take the very fact that supposedly serious people are willing to promulgate the idea of a "unitary executive" as evidence that the advocates of the theory do not expect their political opponents to exploit such powers.

They are probably correct. If one may indulge in some speculation, what would Al Gore, had he been elected and had turned out to be a foaming-at-the-mouth enviro-communist, have done with the power to indefinitely detain people as "enemy combatants?" Whose phones would evil-universe Al Gore illegally wiretap? I can't imagine any answer to these questions that isn't just plain silly.

Barring some exceedingly bizarre event (e.g., the conquest of the United States by space aliens), I will probably vote for one of the Democratic presidential candidates next November. For the first time in living memory, we face the refreshing dilemma of choosing among genuinely good candidates, rather than the drudgery of selecting the least odious. I have to admit that even my least favorite Democratic candidate would probably make a pretty good president. But I wouldn't trust any of them with the wiretapping powers Congress granted to this president by passing the legislative turd that I shall dub the Illegal Wiretapping Reauthorization Act of 2007.

So there you have it, folks. The Republican leadership trusts any Democrat to exercise executive power responsibly and effectively. If they didn't, then they would be less enthusiastic about the expansion of executive power. Clearly, they trust the field of Democratic candidates more than I do.

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