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Posted by on Mar 24, 2007 in At TMV | 4 comments

A Strong Presidency

Former Nixon counsel John W. Dean wrote a great article for FindLaw’s Writ. He explains that the clash between U.S. Congress and the White House over the firing of eight USA’s, is about much more than just that. The real conflict isn’t that “Congress wants information, and Bush does not want to provide it if it means breaching the sanctity of the realm in which he receives advice from his aides privately.�

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  • kritter

    I agree with Dean somewhat;the firings are about expanding presidential power at the expense of congressional power, but they are also about our justice system. Justice is supposed to be blind and a prosecutor with integrity will go after corruption wherever he finds it. This administration has brought disgrace to the system by politicizing it. It is fine to have a prosecutorial team that advances a certain political agenda, but fundamentally wrong to have one that forces prosecutors to back off of certain investigations while pursuing others more aggressively for crass political gain.

  • domajot

    Dean is right in that this presidency has been all about maximizing the power of the presidency.
    The Cheney types have not made a secret of this being their goal.

    Oddly, though, I think at some point I can see the President’s view. Executives do need to consult without feeling that every word will be broadcast on CNN. I guess it goes back to Buckley’s the responsibility of privilege. By misusing the privilege, the Pres invites suspicion and minute scrutiny.

    Dean is a very peculiar guy. It seems to me he seeks the limelight more than he seeks intellectual clarity.

  • DLS

    The key to Dean’s statement is that the same theme is here as is in his book: the Bush administration’s insistence on secrecy.

    Were the administration not so irrational about this, better people would be fully behind them — the press have not been an asset to this nation in the past several years, but a leftist liability. Bush’s administration “kremlim” (as Dean describes it) is perfectly in order when the journalists are simply troublemaking Mongols who want information only to misuse it aggressively (in a political way).

    It’s the open defiance against reasonable demands for information that has raised normal people’s eyebrows. The “not under oath” business is a red flag.

  • kritter

    DLS-I totally disagree. There were lots of complaints about the press when the excesses of the Nixon administration were revealed, and when they persisted in revealing mistakes made by several administrations in Viet Nam. The job of the press is to hold government accountable, not to be an ally of the administration, and try and smooth over their mismanagement.

    If not for Dana Priest’s piece we would never have learned about the problems at Walter Reed, and if not for journalists in Iraq, we would still think the insurgency was in its last throes.

    When an administration is as secretive as this one has been, and has made as many serious mistakes, it is only human nature to try to get to the bottom of a mess like this. Though they are political appointees, USA’s are taught to be above politics and follow the evidence in a case. In firing them, this administration continued its pattern of rewarding abject loyalty, and punishing those with the integrity to resist political pressure.

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