Bush and Executive Arrogance

The New York Times calls out Bush for his executive arrogance, as displayed this past week regarding Guantanamo and the NSA warrantless wiretapping program.

Over and over again, the same pattern emerges: Given a choice between following the rules or carving out some unprecedented executive power, the White House always shrugged off the legal constraints. Even when the only challenge was to get required approval from an ever-cooperative Congress, the president and his staff preferred to go it alone. While no one questions the determination of the White House to fight terrorism, the methods this administration has used to do it have been shaped by another, perverse determination: never to consult, never to ask and always to fight against any constraint on the executive branch.

Bush's non-relenting invocation of the 9/11 attacks have been intended to instill the fear of terrorism in the heart of every American so that they passively accept his Administration's chipping away at our civil liberties, little by little, one by one, until there are precious few if any left, not comprehending that none of these power grabs have made us any safer. Or, as the Times, puts it:

To a disturbing degree, the horror of 9/11 became an excuse to take up this cause behind the shield of Americans' deep insecurity. The results have been devastating. Americans' civil liberties have been trampled. The nation's image as a champion of human rights has been gravely harmed. Prisoners have been abused, tortured and even killed at the prisons we know about, while other prisons operate in secret. American agents "disappear" people, some entirely innocent, and send them off to torture chambers in distant lands. Hundreds of innocent men have been jailed at Guantánamo Bay without charges or rudimentary rights. And Congress has shirked its duty to correct this out of fear of being painted as pro-terrorist at election time.

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    Re: Bush and Executive Arrogance (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 04:36:21 PM EST
    Clearly the New York Times doesn't understand a couple basic facts. Slavery is freedom. War is peace.

    Re: Bush and Executive Arrogance (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 04:47:52 PM EST
    Follow the "money".

    Re: Bush and Executive Arrogance (none / 0) (#3)
    by rdandrea on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 05:02:43 PM EST
    Arrogance isn't a crime. Violating the law is. While most of us can agree that the Administration is arrogant, if we really want to do anything about it, we need to focus on the law. That's a bit of a problem because arrogant people will always exploit "gray areas." Then, we need to find someone else, someone in power, who cares. Someone who will take the position that it's not really gray at all, it's really black and white. That's the bigger problem. Nobody in power will step up. There's an election to win, folks, and we're still focused on Ned Lamont vs. Joe Lieberman; progressives vs. the DLC. We're sweating nuances of Democratness rather than focusing on the larger problem: Republicans in power. We need to be focused on "right" vs. George Bush. Anything else and we're gonna be back here in two years complaining about the same stuff.

    Re: Bush and Executive Arrogance (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 06:17:59 PM EST
    The NYT editorial was indeed excellent. Not only has Bush's go-it-alone policy been a disaster domestically (violations of US law, secret wiretapping), but the same policy of failing to consult or build a consensus has brought tragic harm to US interests abroad (Iraq, torture, renditions, secret prisons). Way to go, George!

    Re: Bush and Executive Arrogance (none / 0) (#5)
    by jimcee on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 06:44:19 PM EST
    rdandrea has it about right, as in 2004 it might be in 2006, 2008, the elections are for the Democrats to lose. There has been little unity in the Democratic party lately with the Lieberman kerfuffle and all. There seems to be a battle for the control of the party between the centrists and the leftist and IMHO if the leftist win control the Democrats will lose the next two elections. The Democrats with Sen Kerry didn't lose the last election, they gave it away. By sending a prevaricating patrician to the ballot they lost thier chance to unseat Bush. If they had nominated Howard Dean we would all now know how a strong anti-war candidate would fare nationally and it would have saved us all from this drawn out political melodrama. But of course this is just my opinion.

    Re: Bush and Executive Arrogance (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 09:51:00 PM EST
    Howard Dean? There's now way he would have won an election in '04. Keep in mind support for the war was higher then. And, of course, there was a little screaming incident that would have done him in even had he earned the nomination.

    Re: Bush and Executive Arrogance (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 10:15:46 PM EST
    This administration has always had nothing but utter contempt for the rule of law. They exude this contempt through every pore of their beings. Their way of governance is one best left to that of the deepest depths of the Cold War: pick a jingoistic goal, no matter how insane, and get there no matter what - the law be damned. And if the law has to be broken to get there, then we'll just change the f***ing law to make it say whatever the hell we want it to say. Bush is not quite so arrogant to utter "L'etat c'est moi." But isn't it obvious that this man's mantra is none other than "La loi c'est moi"? Bush doesn't like democracy; he wants an oligarchy masquerading as democracy. Like the one he has now.

    Re: Bush and Executive Arrogance (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Jul 16, 2006 at 11:00:36 PM EST
    Executive arrogance? Look no further than the U.S. military for the style of governance employed by the Bush administration. The system is unqustioned Command Authority. As the military increasingly adopts civilian corporate structure and management style, in an odd correspondence the "civilian" government inexorably tends toward a feudal/military hierarchy with the obvious radicalization of the entire governmental system. Notice how in the Bush administration, all departments "compete" for attention and financing, just like the sister services of the U.S. military. The only trait consistently rewarded in each arean is loyalty. Individuals gain promotion based soley upon a irrespressible willingness to leverage personal loyalty and personally capitalize at the direct expense of others, 21st century American predation, particularly as they call out internal enemies. Call it what you want; feudalism, corporatism, fascism, modern militarism, but it sure as hell ain't any respectable mixture of democracy, free-trade-capitalism and republicanism. The only difference between the late 1930's Europe and the U.S. is our President possesses less than half the popular support (36%) of his historic partner in parallel.

    Re: Bush and Executive Arrogance (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 17, 2006 at 09:26:34 AM EST
    NYT - "While no one questions the determination of the White House to fight terrorism," - What? Bush sends 150,000 soldiers to get Sadam and only 36 into Tora Bora to get Bin Laden and the NYT says "no one questions the determination of the White House to fight terrorism,"? - I think it's obvious lot's of us are questioning the WH's determination to fight the GWOT.

    Re: Bush and Executive Arrogance (none / 0) (#11)
    by Dadler on Mon Jul 17, 2006 at 10:03:31 AM EST
    Jimcee, There isn't a real "leftist" anywhere NEAR the Democratic Party. Hasn't been for decades. And there won't be. They were demonized or jailed or killed (see the history of the American Labor Movement), and since then (despite conservative hysteria) no real left has existed in this country on any significant level. We were called commies, traitor, vilified and beaten for practicing the only thing freedom means -- dissent. THAT, to me, is the problem. The Democratic Party, right now, is simply the second best corporate/war party, not very good at advertising its own b.s.. The Republican Party is no more glorious, only better at advertising THEIR sh*t, able to throw off the chains of intellect much more easily for whatever reason. Not that the Dem Party is the more intellectual, simply that the Republican Party is the party that has choses to equate free American brains with elitism. It's all dung, on both sides right now.

    Re: Bush and Executive Arrogance (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Jul 17, 2006 at 06:37:39 PM EST
    Republicans once believed it was important to have a government of laws and not of men. Republicans criticized FDR and LBJ for grasping more power than the law allowed. Not many of those Republicans left.