Saturday, October 12, 2002

John Dean vs. Dick "Nixon" Cheney.

Cheney apparently wants to turn the clock back to the days of the Nixon administration, before Watergate, when Nixon sought to make Congress merely another administrative arm of the presidency.

Of course, because such a power shift would be strikingly Nixonian doesn't automatically mean it is evil. Not everything Nixon did was illegal, nor done without the public good in mind. But doing anything with Nixon as a model, or precedent, calls for the closest scrutiny, for Nixon had little respect for the mechanic of government.

Indeed, one of the reasons Nixon was attracted to foreign policy was that an American president is largely free from domestic constraints when he steps on the world stage. Nixon preferred unilateral decisionmaking, both on the domestic and international stages.
There is no question that Congress makes life difficult, sooner or later, for every president. Powerful arguments can be made that we have become what is, in essence, an administrative state, with the people selecting a new top administrator every four years. That may lead one to ask: Why not give the top administrator all the power and authority necessary so that he can most effectively administer the nation's affairs? This seems at the core of Cheney's contention.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Saletan over at Slate is a bit more hawkish than I would have expected. Still he does clear away alot of the rhetoric surrounded by the whole Iraq debate.

The Senate debate on Iraq boils down to this: Whom do you trust less—President Bush or the United Nations?

Nobody's putting it that way, of course. Democrats don't want to show disrespect to the president, and Republicans don't want to show disrespect to our allies. But if you scrape away the pomp and platitudes, that's the question that drives the debate.

Here's the key paragraph of the war resolution senators have been discussing: "The President is authorized to use all means that he determines to be appropriate, including force, in order to enforce the United Nations Security Council Resolutions [previously passed against Iraq], defend the national security interests of the United States against the threat posed by Iraq, and restore international peace and security in the region."

Does anyone want to give a gun to Boy George?

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Hertzberg takes a swing at the Bush Doctrine.
Hi! It's been a busy two weeks but I'm back and raring to go. By the way, for those of you that have never been to Texas, it's all true!