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August 22, 2007


It just goes to show that Jefferson was right that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Cheney thought Vietnam could have been saved, when even Kissinger (though he has been recanting of late) and Nixon knew it could not.

The environmental legislation of the Nixon era is one of the period's signal accomplishments, and Nixon seemed to back a great deal of the legislation, IIRC. Certainly he had forward-looking heads of EPA. That is not so much a restriction on the Pres as it is on Big Business, ever Cheney's patrons and employers. But certainly Bush/Cheney have been as active in rolling that and subsequent legislation back as in any area.

Who is going to give up the power, amongst Democrats or Republicans, once the unchecked power is reestablished?

Hint: We R Screwed.

Cutting to the chase, it is the White House vs the People. Those in the White House weaseled their way into power for this single reason, I suspect, and they were going to do it no matter what the process. They had to get back into power.

It is sad they have not understood that the people do not want a unitary executive. While the President is an important figure, he is not royalty. Our constitution sets forth very clearly that he is subject to oversight by Congress -- the people. These subversive nut-jobs just don't seem to get it.

I am being very direct in that use of the word "subversive" because that is what it is. This is no longer an experiment in theories about unitary executives, or strong presidents. It is about bringing our country to a screeching halt while they wreck it.

Remember the comment about "gumming things to death" in one of the emails relating to the US Attorney mess? Our executive branch has no power left, so they are gumming it all to death. It does not matter what is asked of it to do. The executive group will refuse, or give only small bits of information, or misdirect attention from the real issues, a la whether or not the executive office is subject to FOIA.

What they are accomplishing will NOT in any way restore what existed under Nixon. Instead, I think there will be some major backlash, and the President will be relegated to a figurehead in government.

Good post...

Interesting post in the context of Bush's speech today choosing to reinterpret the Vietnam conflict as a justification for Iraq policy. I've been trying to figure out where Bush got this hare-brained idea: from Cheney, from Ed Gillespie? and whose agenda does it serve?

It shouldn't be surprising that they've waited for the endgame to pull out the stops. How--and why--do you give a speech that says that the lesson to be learned from Vietnam is that we lost our will, that congress interfered? I guess the answer is that you do it as part of a broader effort to reestablish the Imperial Presidency, as part of an attempt to right the "wrongs" of driving a Republican president from office.

Don't forget old guard Fred Fielding subbing in for Harriet Miers. Now Gillespie comes in for Rove. There can't be any way that Gillespie actually makes Rove look good and relatively sane, the way that Gonzo has rehabilitated Ashcroft, right? But would Bush have given this VietNam speech while Rove still worked there? Maybe, maybe not.

I think the response to the initial question is Cheney, per usual--and the VietNam speech and this FOIA and FISA, etc. post show that Cheney might be feeling especially frisky now that Rove is gone. Rove was becoming a bit of a millstone, what with dodging sopoaenas and a bonfire of Hatch Act violations, and there is no political battle left to fight. So now the field is clear to put the 4th branch on a firm footing and test every Watergate-era advance, which were notably bipartisan. The question is, how far do they have to go before the Republicans, in order to save themselves, start to vote against them in real numbers and provide similar veto overrides--just like back in the day.

Not sure you are finding a pattern here. Sure Bush & Cheney want to roll back Watergate-era controls, but that is just part of rolling back ALL controls in order to establish a monarchy. If they had given up control in all other areas but Watergate, you might have had a point.

This maladministrations seems to be rooted in Watergate. Every time your turn around there's someone else who worked in the WH then, or worked for someone in the WH indirectly.

Forgiveness and reconciliation nothing. These people need to be removed from government permanently. (The last couple of times we did the reconciliation-forgive-and-forget bit, we got the criminals back two administrations later. Never again: you get caught in illegal activities, you get your *ss booted out permanently. Put it in the law. And follow it.)

Come on PJ, these guys are the best and brightest the Republicans have to offer. Oh wait, I see your point.....


One part of the Stephen Hayes bio I haven't touched yet is how Cheney took the failures of, for example, Nixon's half-hearted and poorly-executed attempt at price controls as a life-lesson that the government should never have any involvement in the economy. So because Nixon didn't give a shit to make his policies work, Cheney now refses to try to make policies work.

We got rid of one "Dick Tater" now we got another one to fry. If they are fighting over Vietnam, they are fighting the last war. Are we gonna see some of that dry powder in September? "If I had a hammer . . . "

Re: PJ Evans at 18:24

I hope the lesson WE learn is that
1) we need to impeach AND convict
2)we need to revamp the pardon/commute law (it should be no one can be pardoned until 4 years after the admin they served has left office)
3) we need to make sure that all the abuses of one admin are not swept under the rug of the next admin - Iran/Contra for example.

As far as the 'impeachment is off the table because we don't have the votes and it would take too much time away from Congress's work', that argument won't hunt - we can get the votes if we investigate, and the 'Publicans are blocking any meaningful work anyway, so why not get down to the Constitutionally mandated oversight?

Thank you Sailmaker. That is the truth.

we can add the "public servants" at yet another federal agency to the long list of secret-keepers. From The New York Times WHEELS blog

If you want to know something as simple as who heads the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, don’t bother to ask the safety agency’s communications office. Without special permission, officials there are no longer allowed to provide information to reporters except on a background basis, which means it cannot be attributed to a spokesman....

please... they're not allowed to discuss safety stats on the record?!?! why on earth not?!?!

Hmmm. What are we seeing here?

We're seeing a party that sees the world as a very complicated place to run, and their job would be so much easier if they didn't have to answer for everything they do, so much easier if they could cut out all the red tape.
And by golly they're right. The world is very complicated.
But their job is not to run the world. Never the less they are using the office of the president going above, beyond, and way outside the job description in order to advance corporate interests in the world. They cannot answer for what they are doing within the boundries of the Constitution without lying, without admitting they are using every office under the perview of the exec branch for purposes not in the direct interests of the American people, or in many cases for the sole purpose of keeping themselves in power.
At least Nixon had the decency and respect to resign in order to spare the country or constitution any further trauma. That's the story I got anyway.

Watergate is the key to understanding Bushco. An entire wingnut bible has arisen (no pun intended) to "correct" the overdue checks on dictatatorlike power that followed, for the edification of those who lack a sufficiently authoritarian turn of mind. Chief among these "principles" is that foreign policy is eternally, sacramentally, the province of (God's chosen) President. "Democrat" presidents need not apply. This theology is taught to children, even; I flipped through a wingnut hagiography of Reagan that blamed Iran/Contra on that "meddling" congress, complete with large print and homey illustrations.
They can't reproduce, so they must recruit.

Maybe Nixon even blamed the minority counsel, who was trying to be helpful by letting the White House know before the hearing that the interrogating committee already had learned about the existence of the White House tapes; maybe Nixon thought the problem was the crime's getting discovered.
When Nixon won a state election early in his career in the late 1940s he crowed abjectly that he had lied and smeared but all to good end, to assure his election. Now the minority counsel who tried to help Nixon escape the rap on Watergate has a new career, as a nonCandidate. So if Cheney succeeds in divesting the constitution, or putting it in a blind trust, and Rove et cie. migrate to helping the nonCandidate's unreported fundraising, the FEC which will have no remaining congressionally vetted members by 2008 might simply look away disinterested. KRove might even call the original governmental dismemberment advocate from 1980s to ask for a little 527 funding, if there is a purpose defined as supporting purely ideological ends, not an individual nonCandidate. Only a Cause would unite the likes of Gingrich and FThompson like that, at a funding level, that and the ingenuity of Rove. Substantial rumor has it Schlozman might be available for some part time electioneering work Real Soon Now.

Note that the OVP's latest letter references "The Office of the President."

The "Office of the President" hasn't existed since Kissinger's days.

I really fear they are replaying Nixon.

Kagro X,

Here's one to add to your list (or, more properly, to extend your point about FISA). FISA was just one part of the "wall" erected between domestic law enforcement and foreign intelligence activities. Under Nixon, the illegal cooperation between the CIA and local police departments was quite extensive. The Bush administration is tearing down that wall on many fronts, e.g. sharing of spy satellite data.

We also should point out that in many ways, this adminstration goes beyond Nixon, especially in the Padilla case.

One other thought here. It's not just the Nixon administration that they emulate. Juan Cole has a great piece up at tomdispatch on the parallels between the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Napoleon's foray into Egypt.

Read it here:


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