There are reports of yet more secret U.S. intelligence operations emanating from the White House that have not been reported to Congress. The Great Decider continues to believe that he can decide to do whatever the hell he wants, and damn the Constitution. It’s the antidemocratic unitary executive theory in action, folks; a theory embraced by many Third World dictators and exactly two Americans. Unfortunately for us, those two individuals are members of the current administration in Washington.
The unitary executive theory embraced by Vice President Cheney and his Consigliore David Addington gives the President almost unlimited powers during war. We all know how well that’s working. Despite the fact that this theory flies in the face of everything the founding fathers tried to establish in the Constitution, it seems to be this administration’s governing framework.
It is a theory that begs for continual war. If a President can have almost unlimited powers simply because there is a conflict somewhere in the world involving American soldiers, hey, why not? And who says when the war on terror is over? That one could be squeezed for decades.
The question I’ve had since I first heard of this bizarre interpretation of executive power is this: what do theory supporters think is going to happen when there’s a Democratic president?
Are the Congressional Republicans actually willing to give up their power to reign in a President when that person is, oh, just for argument’s sake, let’s say, Hillary Clinton? I mean, that scenario has to be their worst nightmare come true.
Or, as difficult as it is to believe, do they think there won’t be another Democratic president? Ever? Now, as inept as the Democrats have proven to be over the last thirty years, there will come a day—maybe not in my lifetime—but there will come a day when a Democrat is in the Oval Office. If Cheney’s and Addington’s vision of the nearly infallible President were allowed to stand, their political heirs may one day get the finger from Al Gore.
My guess is that once GB leaves office, either for Texas or a jail cell, the unitary executive theory will evaporate like a raindrop on a Phoenix sidewalk in August. Having seen what happens when you hand over the steering wheel of a speeding car to a chimpanzee, few in Congress from either party will have the stomach to argue for unrestrained executive powers, war or no war. This will be good, since I’m sure the founding fathers are tired after five years of spinning in their graves.