A Great Question For Every Expansion of Executive Power

Glenn Greenwald has shown an admirable willingness to call out "his guy" to frequently criticize Obama's claim to be able to order Americans killed at his say-so, "without a whiff of due process, transparency or oversight".  In a recent article, he is flabbergasted that Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz, who is also head of the DNC, does not seem to have heard of the policy.

I am less surprised than he at the ignorance and mendacity of politicians.  But I did like the question Wasserman Schulz was asked:  did she trust Romney (ie her political bête noire) with such power.  This is a question that everyone should always ask at proposed expansions of government, and particularly Executive, power.  Choose the politician you least trust and/or disagree with the most.  Are you comfortable giving this power to that person?

So many of the Left (Greenwald being one of the few exceptions) have ignored this story, I think because they trust Obama.  Fine, but are you really going to trust the next guy in power?  Because now that you have established that this power is A-OK with a Democrat-Progressive child of the sixties, it is highly unlikely the next Republican in office is going to eschew it.  Wouldn't folks have been a bit more careful about giving this a pass had George Bush claimed the power.  (There is a sort of domestic policy parallel in this, in Republicans rolling over for Medicare part D when Bush was in office when they never would have done so for Clinton).


  1. NormD:

    The rational for Medicare Part D that always seems to be ignored by its critics is that before Part D Medicare paid for the surgery to fix the problem but not the drugs to prevent the problem in the first place.

    You can argue that we should not have Medicare but, if we have it, it seems irrational to not pay for prevention.

  2. NL7:

    If he hadn't called it the "kill list" then she might have simply accepted the premise of the question and attacked Romney as a bad leader. Of course, not only does "secret kill list" accurately describe the list itself, but that's actually what the NYT headline called it: "Secret 'Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will."

    I'm not sure what a better name for it would be than 'secret kill list.' Confidential murder agenda? Clandestine assassination index? Private elimination schedule? Yes, I have thesaurus.com open and no, it doesn't seem to be helping.

    I guess he could call it something distractingly patriotic like American Enemies List or bracingly vague like Counterterrorism Priorities List. I don't really expect politicians and partisans to hold their guy accountable, just because people don't think that way; the flip side is they are irrationally opposed to the other guy, so at any given time you hope that some portion of the population is so hyper-vigilant that it doesn't matter another section is totally asleep at the wheel. But it pisses me off that she didn't even know it existed and hasn't even bothered to come up with partisan-induced cognitive dissonance to explain why Bush was evil to torture people but Obama is heroic to murder them.

    She should at least have to force her conscience into unnatural contortions to come to its illogical partisan conclusions.

  3. Noah:

    Please stop beating the long dead Medicare D hors. Yes, it was pased on President Bush's watch, but it was a compromise as the Democrats wanted a much more expensive program.

  4. obloodyhell:

    }}}}Wouldn't folks have been a bit more careful about giving this a pass had George Bush claimed the power.

    Oh, don't worry -- when anyone from the GOP is in power, I will GUARANTEE you it'll be the very first time anyone has suggested such a thing.

    A whole host of George Bush's "evil powers" were first claimed by Clinton, but no one had a word to say about them when Clinton was there.

    Eavesdropping on international communications? Two words: "Project Echelon"... Clinton.
    "Extraordinary Rendition"? Clinton.

    The degree of "acceptable" two-faced hypocrisy of the media is unbelievable.

  5. Stan:

    Slightly off topic, but you might be pleasantly surprised to know Romney said "the government does not create jobs" in the last debate. That's gotta be a first from a presidential candidate on national tv.

  6. markm:

    So? Why did Bush need to compromise? This was 2003. There was a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate. Even if the Dems program had attracted enough RINO votes to pass, there is no way a Bush veto could have been overridden.

  7. Matthew Slyfield:

    Except the rational for paying for prevention is supposed to be that it will reduce over all medical costs. Has Medicare Part D reduced over all medicare costs? There isn't any evidence that it has.

  8. Rick Caird:

    A prescription drug benefit was a campaign promise made by Gore and Bush. Bush was just honoring his promise.

  9. Rick Caird:

    Are you actually trying to argue that the cost of drugs is equivalent to the cost of surgeries and hospital stays?

  10. nehemiah:

    Debbie Wasserman Schulz is not a policy wonk, she is a congresswoman. How can anyone expect her to know the details of what government and particularly this white house actually do. That is why it is easy for her to lie, I mean mis-speak on policy positions.

  11. me:

    Speaking of which, here's a great perspective on the evolution of our thinking re: Freedom vs Security: http://raganwald.posterous.com/something-has-been-stolen-thats-for-sure