Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Alas -- it's not a new kind of politicas after all

Posted by Craig Westover | 4:35 PM |  

I was looking forward to reading this email. From no less than Walther Mondale with the tile line “Amy Klobuchar: Inspiring a new kind of politics.” Now I know Mondale probably did little more than read what someone else had written and say it was fine with him. At least I hopes so, because far from “a new kind of politics,” this is just more of the same.

It starts out with forgivable puffery.
I have known Amy for more than twenty-five years. From her days as a college intern when I was the Vice President, to her work as a trusted and valued colleague in the practice of law, to now, when she is the chief prosecutor for Minneapolis and its surrounding communities, I still see all the things I spotted the first time I met Amy: a gifted leader destined for great things and inspired by the call to public service.
“Inspired by the call to public service” is a pretty hackneyed phrase for a former VP. Or maybe not. These guys aren’t in politics to serve the public -- they want to lead. They have a vision and the rest of us our just means to their ends. Applies to Republicans too. The difference is Republicans get off on the trappings of power while Democrats climax on power itself. That latter are more dangerous.
We are living in an era of an imperial presidency. Congress has abdicated its constitutional responsibility to check and balance the executive. Too many senators, instead of performing their constitutional duty to carefully advise and consent on judicial nominations, simply bend to White House pressure. Ideologically confirmed judges are chipping away at our long established system of economic justice and civil liberties, while fear replaces reason.
Ack. This is why I hope Mondale didn’t actually write this. This is a true (I’m serious here) gem, and would be “a new kind of politics” -- We are living in an era of an imperial presidency. Congress has abdicated its constitutional responsibility to check and balance the executive.

You bet we are. But the era goes back to LBJ and an to pick a point the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and doesn‘t stop regardless of which party was in the White House. Since LBJ in bits and pieces, hunks and chunks Congress has relinquished its constitutional obligations, whether extending extraordinary powers to the President of creating bureaucracies like FEMA to handle its allocation responsibility or pushing for a line item veto to pass the politics of pork to the president.

And the scary part of that is that the constitution does not distinguish between the foreign and domestic powers of the President. So every so-called “war” power granted to the president is precedent for a domestic power. Bush’s wiretapping is not something unique to Bush and Republicans -- it’s the inevitable outgrowth of almost half a century of expanding presidential power.

Mondale, I would hope, might have written about that, instead of writing the sentences that follow, which are just political demagoguery and internally inconsistent simplistic solutions for complex problems and attacks on Mark Kennedy’s integrity rather than his politics.

I don’t pick on Democrats as much as should -- there’s no point trying to make them better, but here they had an opportunity to really say something of importance, and they blew it.