Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Rule of Law

In our nation, the rule of law is supposed to be supreme. There is supposed to be no one who is above the law, not even the president. And yet, the primary governing philosophy of the faction that has taken over the GOP has abandoned this principle, and it is downright scary that they have gotten this far with it.

Instead, as Glenn Greenwald discusses today, a prominent neocon published an article in the WSJ (that paragon of democracy - NOT) titled The Case for the Strong Executive -- Under some circumstances, the Rule of Law must yield to the need for Energy. And it is all about how the president is above the law in any time of emergency. Truly scary, and yet to him, it is as natural as breathing. There is a word that describes a nation whose leader can ignore the law and act as he pleases in an "emergency" (funny how emergencies seem to go on and on in those cases...) - Fascism. The federalist papers explicitly warned about executive power being grown in an emergency. Funny how those who fill the ranks of the Federalist Society conveniently ignore that major part of federalism these days.

We need the rule of law restored. We need this badly, urgently. I think the only way this will ever happen is if we get a Democratic president in 2009, and not for the obvious reason. I think this is necessary because the GOP is filled with hypocrites and because the GOP is far far far far better at PR and politics than the Democratic party will EVER be. They control the framing of pretty much all discussion on the MSM. See this article and this article by Glenn for further discussion on that. (Yes, I know, you have to look at an ad to read them - it is worth it). So basically, the GOP has a huge advantage, one that is only being offset now because PR can only cover up the stink of incompetence and scandal for so long before the whole termite-ridden apparatus must give in to the laws of physics and collapse. Thus, once there is a Democrat in the White House, that whole PR apparatus will then work AGAINST executive power, because all of a sudden, the hypocritical GOP will rediscover the Constitution and checks and balances, not because they actually believe in it, but because they will see it as a bludgeon to use against the new Democratic executive. And with that bludgeon, they'll tear down much of the support they've put out there for power for the president.

If the MSM actually did its job, such a thing would never be necessary. Unfortuantely, the MSM serves power and gets its talking points from the GOP, so I've given up on them. If not for the blogsphere and people like Glenn Greenwald, we'd be in far deeper trouble than we are already.

One shining light of hope - the NYT apparently is not going to participate in the White House Correspondents Dinner anymore. I hope that is true. They are supposed to be checking those in power, not rubbing elbows with them and exchanging war stories.


dave31175 said...

For the most part I'd have to agree with you. However, when you say that "the GOP is far far far far better at PR and politics than the Democratic party will EVER be", all I can do is laugh hysterically! It's just a shame there truly is no lesser of evils between the Dems & GOP. They're evil in different ways, but not to different degrees.

DBB said...

I don't agree with the full platform of either party. But I have observed how effective each party is at getting it's PR message out and into the media, and the GOP is hands down the winner.

This is likely in large part due to the fact that authoritarian leaders and followers are overwhelmingly GOP, and such people naturally and quickly fall into lockstep.

The Democrats just aren't as organized, and likely never will be, because they tend to have an anti-authoritarian streak, and do not generally fall into lockstep. The 'herding cats' analogy seems apt.

Democrats are far far better than the GOP at actually running government competently. But then they also want far too much government. The surprising thing from the past six years was that the GOP actually wants even bigger government for the Democratic party, yet without any competence at running it.

Ultimately, I find the Democratic party to be the lessor of two evils because they are more competent at running government while at the same time far less competent at PR and MSM control and staying on message, so even when they are in control, there will be an effective counter to them from the GOP on the airwaves. Further, they have proven they can actually do oversight even when they control both the Congress and the White House. The GOP has just definitively proven that they are utterly incapable of ANY oversight when they control both of those branches of government, and now we are all suffering as a result of that.

armagh444 said...

The thing that kills me about the whole concept that "in times of emergency, the President is above the law" is the extent to which these folks who supposedly value history (conservatism in the true Burkean sense of the word is all about respecting history and tradition) fail to realize that the notion any leader can ever be above the law is anathema to over 800 years of constitutional development. Magna Carta anyone?