Im glad to hear that at least one conservative aside from myself is bothered by recent relevations. "Why didnt he ask Congress" is the question asked today by George Will. Will notes that the administration has defended its surveillance tactics under the presidents traditional "plenary" powers to engage in "military actions." Fair enough, but who gets to decide what the term "military actions" encompasses? Surely, had Bush gone to Congress in 2001 or 2002 and asked for authority to tap phones without a court order he wouldve gotten it. Why didnt he? The answer, Will suggests, has something to do with "this administrations almost metabolic urge to keep Congress unnecessarily distant and hence disgruntled." A strange attitude to take toward a Congress dominated by his own party, is it not?
It is worth recalling that the Democrats, not the Republicans, were the ones responsible for torpedoing Franklin Roosevelts "court-packing" plan in 1937. They did so not because they had turned against the larger New Deal project, but simply because they were tired of the administration treating Congress as a rubber stamp. This may be what we are beginning to see happen now.