Friday, January 06, 2006

Good for Brownback, but...

My Senator Sam Brownback has gone on the record haflheartedly chastising Bush for his wiretapping.
"I do not agree with the legal basis on which they are basing their surveillance — that when the Congress gave the authorization to go to war that that gives sufficient legal basis for the surveillance," he said.

He said if the justification holds up, "you're going to have real trouble having future Congresses giving approval to presidents to go to war."
Two things:
  1. While he gets credit for speaking up, I think he was pushed into it because he wrote an article entitled "A New Contract for America" for Policy Review in 1996, in which he argued that Republicans ought to:
    redesign the executive branch to be consistent with its constitutional authority instead of one still operating on 20th-century, centralized government experiments. We will replace the 14 cabinet-level agencies, which impose more than half a trillion dollars worth of regulations upon the U.S. economy each year, with perhaps nine, and restrict their regulatory powers under constitutional principles. The Constitution does not authorize at the federal level, for example, many of the activities within the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Education, and Energy.
    He also made some "protect the Constitution" noise, but he's said nothing against Bush until now. This was the point that would have opened him up to all kinds of arguments against his honesty. You do have to give him credit here, but, on the other hand, he's made no moves to actually implement any of the changes he argued for in the article. Does he remember, I wonder, when he was going to decrease federal spending?

  2. Congress shouldn't have "let" the president go to war in the first place. It was a bullshit move in order to avoid the responsibility of declaring war. If he were truly concerned about the Constitution, he wouldn't have joined his fellow Senators in skirting their duty.

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