August 20, 2007
American Monarchy (Bob Franken)
@ 11:24 am
I intended to write about Sunday’s Democratic debate, but since the candidates had nothing to say, neither do I.
Instead, let’s turn to the office one candidate or the other, from one party or the other, will inherit.
In January 2009 the nation will have a new chief executive. That is, unless Dick Cheney doesn’t suspend the Constitution again so he and his protege George W. Bush can pull off just one more coup d’etat and refuse to leave office.
It won’t be their first coup. There’s still a debate within the administration over whether the White House need even bother to comply with restrictions on intelligence gathering even if congressional Democrats had the courage to impose them.
The vice president has made restoring executive power his personal crusade. In the administration’s view the other two branches of government are Greek choruses. The commander in chief is “The Decider” — deciding, among other things, when he must abide by the rule of law, domestic or international. The question is whether, in the process of strengthening the power of the presidency, he and his enablers haven’t severely weakened the nation.
The Democratic Congress has barked a little bit, but it’s been the yapping, thus far, of just another poodle.
So now we look to September and pretend that the new fight over keeping troops in Iraq will make the slightest difference. Don’t hold your breath. The White House will argue that it holds the inherent power to determine where the troops go and when.
Based on what we’ve seen, a timid Congress will be frozen in the fear of being portrayed as soft on terrorism.
Instead of meaningful action, we’ll witness tough but carefully calibrated sound bites. Just like the ones we’ve been hearing in every presidential debate.