A Nice Cold Splash of Cynicism

Jamelle, responding to my earlier post:

At the risk of sounding a little snarky, I’m not exactly surprised that the Obama administration isn’t too keen on completely rejecting Bush’s expansions of executive power. I’ve argued before that structural incentives will push Obama towards either increasing or consolidating the power of the executive branch.

And, of course, he’s absolutely right; I’m not surprised, either. When I said that I thought Obama was more likely than McCain to adopt the Bush administration’s interpretation of president as king of America, that didn’t mean I wasn’t fairly certain we would get shit like this anyway. Sure, Obama sharply criticized the Bush administration’s abuse of the state secrets privilege during the campaign. But without some very sharp external pressure to reform the process, the president would have to be a goddamn saint to ever do that.

I hope Jamelle is wrong about the conclusion he draws (“Honestly, I don’t see executive power returning to its pre-Bush status quo anytime soon, if ever.”), but he’s probably not. In which case, George W. Bush was successful in permanently scarring the American Constitution.


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