It's a rotten start to a day to have to agree with George Will, even in part.
But we did know ahead of time that Bush, far more than most other presidents, was prone to drunk driving in the ethical sense. A functional Congress would have kept the keys to the liquor cabinet. Here's the part that one can agree with. Will calls it a "monarchical doctrine" that:
"whenever the nation is at war, the other two branches of government have a radically diminished pertinence to governance, and the president determines what that pertinence shall be.
and so he rightly points out that the Congress has the power, if it chooses to exercise it to keep any monarchical tendencies in check.
The problem, of course, is that Will generally approves of monarchy. However, the hypocrisy in an Administrative nominally committed to Constitutional funadamentalism finding the power to actually break
a law in the course of conducting mass violence is too much:
[T]he argument that the AUMF [so-called war resolution] contained a completely unexpressed congressional intent to empower the president to disregard the FISA regime is risible coming from this administration. It famously opposes those who discover unstated meanings in the Constitution's text and do not strictly construe the language of statutes.
Unless, of course, those statutes are the Clear Air/Water Acts, the Voting Rights Act, FOIA, and other legislation not passed by Republicans.
But Will's solution is hypocrisy more than I
can bear. Will's solution is to legalize the crimes after the fact. The drunk has stolen, he's killed, he's burned down our home. So take away the keys to the liquor cabinet:
Immediately after Sept. 11, the president rightly did what he thought the emergency required, and rightly thought that the 1978 law was inadequate to new threats posed by a new kind of enemy using new technologies of communication. Arguably he should have begun surveillance of domestic-to-domestic calls - the kind the Sept. 11 terrorists made.
But 53 months later, Congress should make all necessary actions lawful by authorizing the president to take those actions, with suitable supervision.
, you made the right decision.
Take it elsewhere, buster.