Tuesday, June 3, 2008

MCCAIN'S NEW STAFFER THINKS PRESIDENTS SHOULD HAVE 'NEAR DICTATORIAL' POWERS OVER FOREIGN POLICY

GLENN GREENWALD, SALON Bill Kristol proudly announces that one of his Weekly Standard staff members, Michael Goldfarb, was just named the Deputy Communications Director of the McCain campaign. Last April, this newest McCain official participated in a conference call with former Senator George Mitchell, during which Mitchell advocated a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Afterwards, this is what Goldfarb wrote about what he thinks are the powers the President possesses in our country:

"Mitchell's less than persuasive answer [to whether withdrawal timetables 'somehow infringe on the president's powers as commander in chief?']: 'Congress is a coequal branch of government...the framers did not want to have one branch in charge of the government.'

"True enough, but they sought an energetic executive with near dictatorial power in pursuing foreign policy and war. So no, the Constitution does not put Congress on an equal footing with the executive in matters of national security."

As I noted at the time: "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 'dictatoria'" -- at least rhetorically, if not substantively -- to define that which we avoid at all costs, not something which we seek, embrace and celebrate.

"And the very idea that the Founders -- whose principal concern was how to avoid consolidated power in any one person -- sought to vest 'near dictatorial power' in the President is too perverse for words. But that's been the core 'principle' driving the destructive radicalism of the last seven years, and it's an extremist view that is obviously welcomed at the highest levels of the McCain campaign.

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