2005 was the year that the president of the United States declared proudly that he had broken the law repeatedly and with full intention, that he had the power to do so whenever he wanted to, and that he would continue to do so whenever he determined it to be desirable. This declaration was met with basic approval from much of the beltway chattering classes, prominent libertarian bloggers, and just about every small government conservative.I can only hope that 2006 will be different.
The issue is simple: Bush has declared that one man has the right to make the law whenever, in his determination, national security warrants it. While even I can understand the necessity of broad executive powers in emergency situations, we aren't anywhere close to being in one of those. If Bush decides that personally shooting dissident bloggers or pesky journalists in the head is in fact necessary for national security, then no one can object. The fact that he has not, as far as we know, done any such thing does not matter in the slightest. By conferring dictatorial authority on himself Bush has declared that this is, in fact, a dictatorship even if he hasn't (yet) bothered using such authorities to the fullest of his claimed ability.
It's a mystery why Russert and the gang can giggle over their little roundtables, essentially ignoring what amounts to a military coup by our own president. He's asserted the authority of commander in chief over the entire country, and not just the military to which the constitution grants him such authority. Yes, we hope and generally assume that this temper tantrum by our boy king will pass in 3 years, that the his overreach will not have long lasting effects, that the crisis will pass.
2005 was the year the president declared he was the law, and few of our elite opinion makers and shapers bothered to notice, or care.