Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Flip of the Switch

During the reign of Bush, on several occasions I discussed my concerns about an imperial presidency, through power grabs such as signing statements and the unitary executive theory. In my view, there was only one way to limit this unchecked power by the President and his cronies -- by electing a Democrat. As I observed:

I sometimes do despair at what Bush and his cronies have wroth upon us all. He has ruined this country in innumerable ways -- both domestically and abroad and I worry whether we will be able to recover once these people are done. . . .

On the other hand, if power does pass to the Democrats, I have no doubt that some of the worst excesses, such as all of this executive power stuff, will go the way of the Edsel. The Republicans will flip that switch instantly and will espouse policies like limited presidential powers, as they did re: filibusters and vetoes. Perhaps that will start the correction that's needed for the country. One could only hope.
See The New Normal. See also Yoo What?

They didn't waste a moment. Incredibly, the switch has been flipped even before Obama is sworn in. As John Cole of Balloon Juice expressed it so perfectly in BIG BRASS BALLS:
No one could have predicted this would happen. John Yoo and John Bolton, in the NY Times, discuss the need to limit executive authority.

Up next, David Addington and Dick Cheney write in the Washington Post on the need to reject Unitary Executive theory.

I knew these wankers would do this, I just didn’t expect it immediately and so brazenly. The balls on these people.
Yes, John "Imperial Presidency" Yoo and John "Torture" Bolton are arguing for restraint of presidential authority and the need for treaty power in an op-ed piece in the NYTimes, Restore the Senate’s Treaty Power.

As Digby at Hullabaloo says, Chutzpah!: "You just can't make this stuff up."

Now that the GOP is out of power, they've apparently turned to a life of comedy. After all, someone has to fill the void now that Al Franken has become a Senator. Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly sums up the opinion piece, in CHUTZPAH WATCH:
John Bolton, the former ambassador to the U.N., and former deputy assistant attorney general John Yoo, best known for his torture memos and creative ideas about the "unitary executive," have a fascinating op-ed in the New York Times today. Now that Bush is leaving office, Bolton and Yoo believe -- get this -- the president should have less authority and discretion when it comes to international affairs.

* * * *

Reading this, I had to double check to make sure we were talking about the same Bolton and Yoo. After all, John Yoo has spent most of the last eight years arguing that the president has an unfettered power to do as he pleases on the international stage. Indeed, Yoo argued that the president can literally ignore any law he chooses -- including the Constitution -- if he decides it's in the nation's interests.

But that was then. Now Yoo is worried about executive overreach. Now Yoo wants every letter of the Constitution to be respected and adhered to without exception. The very same people who argued that the president must act without restriction when pursuing his foreign policy are now arguing that the president must honor the Treaty Clause at all costs.

See also, Yoo Who?

Of course, the irony is lost on Bolton & Yoo, who are so craven in their partisan politics that they don't even register embarrassment.

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