Unitary Executive

Had you ever heard anyone, at anytime ever talk about a ‘œUnitary Executive’ as it would apply to the President of the United States? I hadn’™t, until the past couple of months. It seemed to spring up like so many of the disasterously misinformational terms the Bush Administration loves. Here’™s a quick google search for [...]

Commentary By: sukabi

Had you ever heard anyone, at anytime ever talk about a ‘œUnitary Executive’ as it would apply to the President of the United States? I hadn’™t, until the past couple of months. It seemed to spring up like so many of the disasterously misinformational terms the Bush Administration loves. Here’™s a quick google search for unitary executive, it’™s creating quite a buzz. Here’™s a Findlaw article on signing statements and the Unitary Executive:

The Unitary Executive: Is The Doctrine Behind the Bush Presidency Consistent with a Democratic State?

When President Bush signed the new law, sponsored by Senator McCain, restricting the use of torture when interrogating detainees, he also issued a Presidential signing statement. That statement asserted that his power as Commander-in-Chief gives him the authority to bypass the very law he had just signed.

This news came fast on the heels of Bush’™s shocking admission that, since 2002, he has repeatedly authorized the National Security Agency to conduct electronic surveillance without a warrant, in flagrant violation of applicable federal law.

And before that, Bush declared he had the unilateral authority to ignore the Geneva Conventions and to indefinitely detain without due process both immigrants and citizens as enemy combatants.

All these declarations echo the refrain Bush has been asserting from the outset of his presidency. That refrain is simple: Presidential power must be unilateral, and unchecked.

But the most recent and blatant presidential intrusions on the law and Constitution supply the verse to that refrain. They not only claim unilateral executive power, but also supply the train of the President’™s thinking, the texture of his motivations, and the root of his intentions.

They make clear, for instance, that the phrase ‘œunitary executive’ is a code word for a doctrine that favors nearly unlimited executive power. Bush has used the doctrine in his signing statements to quietly expand presidential authority.

In this column, I will consider the meaning of the unitary executive doctrine within a democratic government that respects the separation of powers. I will ask: Can our government remain true to its nature, yet also embrace this doctrine? ‘¦

Article continues here.

It comes as a surprise to me ‘” and many others ‘” that John over at Americablog supports a filibuster of Alito ‘” but not by Kerry, and not the way Kerry is doing it, and besides it would take a PR campaign with a $30-$40 million dollar budget to even educate the public about what a Unitary Executive is. John opened up a can of worms and the debate got pretty heated.

I personally don’™t think a hugely funded PR campaign is necessary, and I don’™t necessarily think that even if one had been put together that the funders of the campaign would have been able to sucessfully sell their ads and get them on TV, radio or billboards in the numbers and saturation that would have had the desired effect. The first such ad rejection took place at the 2004 Superbowl, it was a MoveOn ad, anyone remember that? Probably not, Janet Jackson’™s boob took center stage. Houston stations have recently been forced to air ads that they rejected detailing Delay’™s misdeeds. Besides the ‘œrejection factor’, there is another reality about political advertising – everybody thinks the ads produced by a political party are about smearing the other guy and mudslinging, not about informing the public.

So what could have been done? A huge grassroots viral marketing campaign. And guess what, it’™s almost free. How does it work? It’™s a word of mouth/email/phone campaign – much like John has used for his boycotts of Microsoft, Ford, Verizon, ect. So what you do after you call your Senators and either thank them for supporting the filibuster, or encourage them to filibuster? You call, email, or fax the people in your contact list and explain what a Unitary Executive means as a president and why it’™s so important to keep Alito off the Supreme Court.

Monday, January 30th, 2006 by Richard Blair |
Category: Civil Liberties

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