Edward_ at Obsidian Wings, who seems to have assumed control of the website for the last two and a half days, has a recent post that distills one of the chief questions that everybody should be asking about Bush’s recent FISA troubles:
If the NSA spying idea is such a good one, now that everyone knows about it, why doesn’t Bush go to Congress and ask them to make it the law of the land? To insist he’s going to keep using it, as he has, without any oversight seems to confirm Naftali’s assertion that his motivation is to “win a conflict over executive power.”
Nobody should doubt at this point that the Bush Doctrine has less to do with militaristic imperialism than it does with a vastly expanded theory of executive power, a theory more or less spelled out by presidential aide John Yoo. You’ll recall that Yoo thinks that basically anything is legal as long as the president feels that it’s necessary. The president, in his view, is the law.
For his part Edward’s main error is to assume that there is a conflict. Right now there isn’t. The Bush doctrine has cemented itself in practice mostly without comment, thanks to a codependent relationship that Bush has shared with his own party’s Congress: he let them write whatever damn law they please (has he yet vetoed a single bill? no.) and they let him assert whatever powers make him happy. Oversight is for Democrats.
Regarding this kind of question it shouldn’t matter where you stand politically. Does this theory make you comfortable? Eventually Hillary will win the oval office, or any other Democrat for that matter. The slime machine isn’t particular. Whether or not you love our government today, eventually it will be staffed by people you hate. Do you want them to have the sort of powers that John Yoo claims for the Executive? Does the new idea of legislating by signing statement (and here) make you comfortable? Look back at those two Clinton years when Democrats controlled Congress, and answer honestly.