Friday, April 20, 2007

Bush The Dictator - The NeoCon Dream Comes Into Focus

Glenn Greenwald is a constant stone in the shoe of the President, and a writer who almost effortlessly infuriates the conservative media in the United States every single time he clatters his keyboard. He is also a great chronicler of the Bush administration, and its near ceaseless attempts to subvert the Constitution and impinge upon the rights of all Americans, beatin them over the head with a big stick called 'The War On Terror'.

'Bush The Dictator' is a vision that many on the American hard right joke about, and the fawners of the Rupert Murdoch's money pit, The Weekly Standard, often discuss in glowing terms. Not 'Bush The Dictator' as a good thing, but as a necessary thing. Which for the Weekly Standard is all but one and the same.

Greenwald, in this piece for Salon shreds Michael Golfarb from the Weekly Standard for claiming that "the framers" of the Constitution...sought an energetic executive with near dictatorial power
in pursuing foreign policy and war."

Writes Greenwald (excerpts) :
So apparently, the American Founders risked their lives and fortunes in order to wage war against Great Britain and declare independence from the King -- all in order to vest "near dictatorial power" in the American President in all matters of foreign policy and national security. And, of course, for the Michael Goldfarbs of the world, "war" and "national security" -- and the "near dictatorial power" vested in the President in those areas -- now encompasses virtually every government action, since scary and dangerous Muslims are lurking everywhere, on every corner, and the entire world is one big "battlefield" in the "War on Terrorism," including U.S. soil.

Until the Bill Kristols and John Yoos and other authoritarians of that strain entered the political mainstream, I never heard of prominent Americans who describe the power that they want to vest in our political leaders as "near dictatorial." Anyone with an even passing belief in American political values would consider the word "dictatorial" -- at least rhetorically, if not substantively -- to define that which we avoid at all costs, not something which we seek, embrace and celebrate. If there is any political principle that was previously common to Americans regardless of partisan orientation, it was that belief.

But The Weekly Standard has an agenda single-mindedly focused on the Middle East and Muslims that outweighs everything else, and nothing can impede that agenda -- certainly not something as comparatively unimportant as the American constitutional framework. That's why, to Goldfarb, there is nothing at all odd about advocating "near dictatorial power" vested in the President (at least the current President).

The notion that our Constitution vests anything like "near dictatorial power" in the President in any area -- let alone areas as broadly defined as "foreign policy and war" and "national security" -- is so utterly absurd that no response ought to be required. In his post, Goldfarb places a link over the phrase "near dictatorial power" which takes one to Federalist 70, which contains Alexander Hamilton's argument as to why powers assigned by the Constitution to the Executive ought to be vested in one individual rather than an executive council.

The fact that The Weekly Standard lies at the center of our mainstream political spectrum -- Bill Kristol's endless series of falsehoods throughout the Bush presidency and his endless calls for new wars against more countries was rewarded with a featured column in Time -- by itself explains political developments over the last six years which were previously unthinkable. The Bill Kristols are those who exert the most influence over this administration, and they simply do not believe in the defining political principles of this country.

One of the principal purposes of the Federalist Papers -- which Goldfarb obscenely cites as though it supports his twisted views of dictatorial omnipotence in America -- was to assuage widespread concerns (or, as Scalia put it, "mistrust") that the President would be, in essence, a new British King. That fear was not eliminated or even diminished, but instead was particularly pronounced, with regard to the President's role as "Commander-in-Chief," which is why there are so many safeguards in the form of Congressional powers designed to limit that role. All of this is excruciatingly basic and obvious, really not much beyond what seventh grade civics students are taught about what distinguishes a Republic from a "dictatorship."

America was founded to avoid the warped and tyrannical vision which The Weekly Standard and its comrades crave (and which they have spent the last six years pursuing and implementing). This group actually thinks that, right this very minute, we are at war with Iran and Syria -- and that the President can and should act accordingly against our "Enemies."

Theoretical disputes aside, Americans who believe in the defining political principals of this country ought to find the phrase "near dictatorial power" to be intrinsically repugnant. But The Weekly Standard and comrades don't believe in those principles, and hence can openly embrace that phrase. Although that is not exactly news, it is still always valuable to highlight when their declarations of what they really are find such explicit expression.
Perhaps The Weekly Standard abides by President Bush's own words :
If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator...
Even the most harshes of Bush's critics understand the president was joking when he said those words, back in December 2000.

The Weekly Standard seems to believe that he was not only serious, but that it should have become the president's chief reality pursuit.