Friday, June 09, 2006

We are living under a virtual dictatorship

From The New York Review of Books
The President's recent political weakness hasn't caused the White House to back away from its claims of extraordinary presidential power. The Republican lobbyist Vin Weber says, "I think they're keenly aware of the fact that they're politically weakened, but that's not the same thing as the institution of the presidency being damaged." People with very disparate political views, such as Grover Norquist and Dianne Feinstein, worry about the long-term implications of Bush's power grab. Norquist said, "These are all the powers that you don't want Hillary Clinton to have." Feinstein says, "I think it's very dangerous because other presidents will come along and this sets a precedent for them." Therefore, she says, "it's very important that Congress grapple with and make decisions about what our policies should be on torture, rendition, detainees, and wiretapping lest Bush's claimed right to set the policies, or his policies themselves, become a precedent for future presidents."

James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper No. 47:

The accumulation of all powers legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many...may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.

That extraordinary powers have, under Bush, been accumulated in the "same hands" is now undeniable. For the first time in more than thirty years, and to a greater extent than even then, our constitutional form of government is in jeopardy.