Monday, February 02, 2009

I Remember Three Weeks Ago Like It Was Yesterday

But John Yoo and John Bolton don't. Their NYT Op-Ed, Restore the Senate’s Treaty Power, is a particularly sad example of Republicans doing a 180 with the election of Obama. The piece is an attack on Obama for making an end-run around the treaty process -- something he has not actually done, but could do at some point in the future, maybe. (Clearly a compelling subject for an op-ed.) You might remember John Yoo as the fellow who argued that no treaty or law on earth could stop the President from crushing an innocent child's testicles if he felt the urge. Or perhaps you remember him as the man who wrote that "our Office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations."

Yet here is that same John Yoo arguing that the power of the President should be kept carefully in check. Curious. It's almost as if his arguments were less a product of careful legal reasoning than a product of the former White House resident being a Republican.

There is a lot about the past eight years Republicans would like us to forget - including the philosophy of government they endlessly espoused. Pieces like the NYT op-ed read like the products of amnesiacs unaware of their own actions just weeks previous. Suddenly it's near impossible to find arguments that were commonplace only a month ago.

The President has essentially unlimited power during wartime, where wartime includes undeclared wars of indeterminate length against unnamed foes. Anyone remember that one?

How about that anything the President does is legal by definition? See many Republicans arguing that one these days?

Disrespecting the President is disrespecting the office, which is disrespecting America. And even if we disagree with the President it's our duty as loyal Americans to support him. If we bellyache about the actions of the President our enemies are embiggened. I seem to recall hearing that one more than a hand full of times.

The willingness to immediately cast off these arguments as soon as Obama was elected is a tacit admission that the arguments were never more than posturing. The true belief of Republicans is apparently not that the President deserves respect and power but that Republicans do. I suppose these hypocritical Republicans believe that "progressives" will immediately cast off their former arguments as well and invent an entirely different set of principles now that Obama is in office.

Perhaps on this blog I'll now argue that the Vice-President is both all and no branches of government, that the Bill of Rights is antiquated, and that anyone who criticizes the President should pipe down or move to France.

Sadly I actually believed most if not all of what I've written here, despite the change from (R) to (D) in our highest office.

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