Friday, March 24, 2006

The Law is Me
"When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.

"Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it ''a piece of legislation that's vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people." But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a ''signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law.

"In the statement, Bush said that he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."

Here's the speech a Democrat needs to make: This president feels that he is incapable of protecting the United States from threats to its national security within the rule of law. He feels that his only recourse is to break the law to protect the country. He admits he cannot protect the country within the law by deliberately choosing to ignore the law. In effect, he is saying: this country is weakened by the application of its laws.

Even if we allowed that there may be emergency instances when laws may need superceding in extraordinary circumstances - which is still debatable - what evidence gathered from anything this administration has done gives anyone confidence that such a decision could be made competently, dispassionately, honestly, and without an eye on the administration's top priority of maximizing political advantage for it and its clients?

He can not do the job within the law: why would anyone think he could do the job outside the law? He has skewed all his policies within the law to first and foremost benefit his own political fortune and the advancement of the fortunes of his supporters: why would anyone think he would not first and foremost operate outside the law for the very same reasons?


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