The Democratic Activist
An excellent article by Charlie Savage at boston.com analyzes major 2008 presidential candidates' responses to questions asked in a recent Globe survey about executive power vastly expanded under the Bush/Cheney administration.
The article focuses on 12 questions highlighting candidates' positions regarding the limits of presidential power. Taken as a whole, they serve to illustrate whether or not individual candidates for the White House in 2008 believe the President of the United States is, or is not, required to obey the law. The candidates' answers about the appropriate extent of executive power (and, by inference, the legitimacy of the American tripartite system of checks and balances) tell much about whether or not they believe the president is above the law ... that is, whether or not the presidency has or should become a de facto monarchy and the United States a vertable dictatorship.
Another excellent piece by Glenn Greenwald (click here) references the boston.com article and provides a chilling analysis of Republican contender Mitt Romney's responses to these questions.
For the questions themselves and candidates' specific answers, go to Savage's article and see the section in the sidebar on the right side of the page titled "Read Answers By Question: Candidates Answers By Question" where candidates' responses to each question are listed for easy side-by-side comparison (such a comparison of the candidates' answers, including which candidates refused to offer any responses at all, is quite revealing).
Certainly, the question of whether or not the president is above the law goes to the heart of what America is, and who we are as Americans.
Are we nation of laws, or of men?
Do we value freedom more than life itself, as did Patrick Henry and the other founding fathers of the American experiment in democracy ... or have we now come to prize safety, security, and comfort over liberty?
Is our most basic civil liberty the "right to be kept alive," as Mr. Romney asserts ... or are there things that matter much more? (And what would America's fallen say?)
Is "the land of the free and the home of the brave" fast becoming "the land of the enslaved and the home of the terrified?"
American voters may well decide these questions in 2008.
Pass it on.
The Democratic Activist