Thursday, July 12, 2007

Praetorian "Conservatism"

"I took an oath to the president, and I take that oath very seriously."

This declaration was offered as a pious summation civic duty by former White House Political Director Sara Taylor. She stated this without irony or self-awareness. Clearly, she was someone who had been immersed in a culture of fuhrerprinzip, in which there was no allegiance higher than loyalty to the Grand and Glorious Decider.

Senator Patrick Leahy quite correctly reminded Miss Taylor that even though
"the president refers to the government being his government -- it's not," and that her "paramount" duty was to the Constitution:

A day before Sara Taylor's Senate testimony provided an inadvertent illustration of the Bush Regime's Leader Cult in action, former Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona described another example in his testimony before a House committee.

"In [speeches delivered during] my first year, clearly I was told a number of times that the president's name wasn't mentioned in the speech and I was told it should be mentioned -- at one point, at least three times on every page," Carmona recalled. "And I said, 'I'm not going to do that.' . . ."

During his press conference today (July 12), The Grand and Glorious Decider himself expatiated at length on his apparently limitless unilateral powers, his comments planted with a thick forest of vertical singular pronouns:

"I will rely on General Petraeus to give me his recommendations for the appropriate troop levels in Iraq. I will discuss the recommendation with the secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I will continue consultations with members of the United States Congress from both sides of the aisle. And then I'll make a decision."

One reporter asked The Decider if he has "entertained the idea that at some point Congress may take some of that sole decision-making power away through legislation.... [C]an you tell us: Are you still committed to vetoing any troop withdrawal deadline?"

"I don't think Congress ought to be running the war," replied the Commander Guy. "I think they ought to be funding our troops.... I listen to Congress. Congress has got all the right to appropriate money. But the idea of telling our military how to conduct operations, for example, or how to, you know, deal with troops strength, is -- I don't think it makes sense."

On this construction, the sole duty of Congress is to appropriate money to keep the war going for as long as the Decider requires. It was dictatorial presumption of this sort that cost Charles I his head.

Under the U.S. Constitution, a document for which The Decider has expressed profane contempt, it is Congress -- not the president -- that decides when and against whom our nation goes to war. It has the power to de-fund the present war and to recall the troops.

But those delegated powers aren't in the Constitution as Bush understands it, which -- if reduced to print -- would read something like this: "Law consists of two lines above my signature." That was Saddam Hussein's description of his power, and there is something oddly appropriate in the fact that Saddam is the only individual or institution to whom Bush was supposedly willing to defer in deciding whether to invade Iraq.

During today's press conference, Bush pointedly refused to concede that he had made the decision to go to war. The one who decided on behalf of the United States, Bush insisted, was
"Saddam Hussein. He chose the course.... It was his decision to make. "

Actually, Saddam Hussein had agreed to abdicate power and flee into exile in order to prevent an attack on his country, which means that somewhere beneath the numerous layers of murderous corruption in his personality was an embattled spark of genuine patriotism.
Bush and the adults who script his lines weren't going to permit any arrangement that didn't involve an attack on, and occupation of, Iraq -- despite Bush's ongoing effort to assign the responsibility for the war to Saddam.

Unfortunately for Bush, in December 2005, before the occupation of Iraq had blossomed into the full-blown catastrophe it has become, Bush was eager to claim sole credit for making the decision for war. Bush told NBC correspondent Brian Williams:

"I remember the day we committed the troops, or I committed the troops, there's no `we' to it. I committed the troops to combat in Iraq. And I left here [the Oval Office], walked out that door, walked around that South Lawn there with my trusty dog Spot, just thinking about the consequences...."(Emphasis added.)

Imagining Bush in stoic contemplation of war's grim consequences summons up an amusingly implausible picture -- rather like one of those posed photographs of a Chimp dressed as a scientist contemplating some mysterious substance in a test tube.

Be that as it may, there is an interesting contrast between Saddam Hussein, and the American President whose doctrine of executive power is essentially identical to that of the Iraqi despot: Saddam was willing to surrender power, if it would spare his country a hugely destructive war. Bush is incapable of such a sacrifice.

Of course, that comparison is unfair -- to Saddam, who, repulsive as he was, killed fewer Iraqis and Americans than has George W. Bush.

Please visit The Right Source, and the Liberty Minute archives.


Henry Bowman said...

Will, usually your posts are thoughtful, but except for the story regarding the testimony of Sara Taylor, this post was just short of silly.

One of the big and obvious problems that our government has is that Congress no longer has the gonads to vote for a declaration of War. The Congress Critters will happily vote to give Der Fuehrer the power to make war, though. This way, if the war goes well, they'll say that they were for it all the way, but if it goes badly, they'll point the finger at the President. It seems blatantly obvious that Congress should never give a president authority to go to war, for it is the solemn duty of Congress (and only Congress) to committ the nation to war. The President cannot veto a Declaration of War.

Bush is only behaving badly because (a) he is a jerk and (b) Congress suffered a dereliction of duty by giving him powers that were never intended to be given him.

Anonymous said...

As bad as Bush is (and he is worse than a jerk: a true war criminal and a traitor), the hypocrites in Congress who voted to cede their authority to him, and who continue to pretend they cannot de-fund the war, are possibly even more wretched than the Great Decider. At least the Chimp-in-Chief is open about his dictatorial aspirations and doesn't hide behind a feigned respect for the Constitution. (How many unconstitutional laws has Leahy voted for?)

Still, I appreciate the sentiments expressed in this post regarding the leader cult mentality among Bush's inner circle. It is startling and, unless Ron Paul is elected in 2008, a sign of worse things to come in this country.

Zachary said...

Of course it isn't Bush's fault, it is America's fault that we tolerate such evil. The post touched on an important area, leader worship. I don't have the gene that codes for leader worship of any kind, but it is indeed an amazing phenomenon that is responsible for untold suffering.

Jacob said...

I thought it was an excellent post. I don't see where "Henry Bowman" is coming from at all.

Jerri Lynn Ward, J.D. said...

Although Sen. Leahy makes a good point in his questioning of Sara Taylor, it is rather sickening to see someone who routinely supports legislation which violates HIS oath to support the Constitution slap down someone else on that basis.

dixiedog said...

Yes, I agree with the previous commenters that the hypocrites are legion in the Congress and elsewhere where the constitution is concerned.

I realize you're inordinately stuck on Republicrats and the Grand Ole Torture Party for your own, albeit relevant, reasons. Keep at it, by all means.

Nevertheless, the ordinary citizen should (but never will) understand that both parties and the entire political apparatchik is of the same mold.

Sure, Sara Taylor pays homage to the Republicrat Decider, but Patrick Leahy pays no less a homage to the Demublican establishment.


The relevant difference where principle is concerned is what? Not a damn thing.

Why obsess about the corruption and evil interwoven within the GOP when the other faction will more than compensate when its turn arrives. If you think the "Great Decider" has reached a new pinnacle of corruption in our time, just wait until January 2009, when I have little doubt a new Shub-Niggurath administration will reach an even higher pinnacle of corruption with its leader holding its reins, the Lizard Queen herself.

Besides, whoever said women can't be mad, rabid "bitches," every bit as hostile and corrupt, if not MORE so, as their male counterpart? Don't fool yourself. In any event, we'll find out soon enough if the LQ is chosen, as I confidently predict, by the clueless commoners. I hope I'm dead wrong (no pun intended).

Glorious times ahead for everyone!

(Ya just can immediately sense the s-a-r-c-a-s-m there, eh?)

DrFix said...

That old Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times" seems to be in full play.

Lets not give either Bush nor Congress (at least minus Paul and others who may have a moral backbone) any excuse for doing what they do. There are none. Its said that a nation gets the leadership that it "deserves" and if this evil lot are just that then its nothing more than a mirror on the national soul. Not necessarily on every individual level but because this cancerous behavior has been going on so long its become a defacto cultural norm. The dehumanizing of "others" and excuse making for our own resident "devils".

DrFix said...

Bowman, just to make it clear. To say that Bush is a jerk for killing countless thousands and sending our country further down the tubes is like making other despots out to be cafe' owners selling bad coffee. Its absurd to even say something like that. Either the man, his hangers on, and the enabling Congress are "Evil" or they're not. Which is it? Can you do the things this murderous boob does and not be punished?

Fred said...

Nevertheless, the ordinary citizen should (but never will) understand that both parties and the entire political apparatchik is of the same mold.

Well said, dixiedog. Too many get caught up in "party" politics.

They ARE from the same mold. They take turns promoting this or that totalitarian measure. The other resists. One way or the other they get their way.

They meet each other for cocktails at the end of the day.

jon said...

love your blog, Mr. Grigg; didn't know where to post this, but didja see this one from the BBC?

"US woman arrested over dry lawn

A 70-year-old US woman has been left bruised and bloody after an unexpected clash with police who came to caution her for not watering her lawn.

She says the officer hit her with handcuffs, cutting her nose, although police insist she slipped and fell.

Ms Perry said she was "distraught" after the incident.

She denied accusations she was resisting arrest, maintaining that she only turned to go inside to call her son to fix the confusing dispute.

"I tried to sit down and get away from him [the police officer]," she told Utah newspaper the Daily Herald.

"I don't know what he's doing. I said: 'What are you doing?' And he hit me with those handcuffs in my face," she said.

"He's just trying to cover his tracks, as far as I'm concerned."


The arresting officer has not been named but has been placed on administrative leave[.]