Bush Doesn’t Get “Near Dictatorial Powers”

Although he certainly acts like he thinks he has full dictatorial powers.

Michael Goldfarb of the Weekly Standard is smoking something strange, and Glenn calls him on it:

So apparently, the American Founders risked their lives and fortunes in order to wage war against Great Britain and declare independence from the King — all in order to vest “near dictatorial power” in the American President in all matters of foreign policy and national security.

Goldfarb seems to think that when Hamilton described a Roman “Dictator” with “absolute power,” he was describing what he hoped the new American President would be. Does that argument need any refutation?

Apparently it does.  Especially since the media seems so taken by his office that they invest the President with more power and authority than he actually has.  Like calling him our Commander in Chief, for example.  Glenn continues:

One of the principal purposes of the Federalist Papers — which Goldfarb obscenely cites as though it supports his twisted views of dictatorial omnipotence in America — was to assuage widespread concerns (or, as Scalia put it, “mistrust”) that the President would be, in essence, a new British King.

Its kind of like citing the Bible as an excuse for hating poor immigrants and poor people.

Theoretical disputes aside, Americans who believe in the defining political principals of this country ought to find the phrase “near dictatorial power” to be intrinsically repugnant. But The Weekly Standard and comrades don’t believe in those principles, and hence can openly embrace that phrase. Although that is not exactly news, it is still always valuable to highlight when their declarations of what they really are find such explicit expression.

Every single attempt to change the way we talk about our government ought to be met with a critical and ready mind.  Outside of Bush’s incredibly low approval ratings, outside of a new Democratic majority with a backbone, some in the media persist in worshipping the President.  They infuse the language we use to discuss the executive branch with intimations of absolute power and authority.  This changes the nature of the debate we have, and creates a false set of rules and constructions to have the debate in.  It is indeed “always valuable to highlight” this.  In fact it is essential.

Progressives often talk about reclaiming the frame on various issues.  There is no frame more powerful than language itself, and no issue more central to the soul of our nation than democracy and rank authoritarianism.


4 Responses

  1. Well I would not worry about Bush that much, after all he is not “the most powerful person in the world”. Chenney is. And a man that can make his shooting victim apologize to him, its somebody that is to be feared!

  2. Heh. I keep forgetting that quote about Cheney. Priceless.
    The apologizing power is like a super dictatorial power.

  3. Bush is a dimestore cowboy who stomps around in size 5 cowboy boots and suffers from psychological insecurities due to his micro penis.

  4. http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/04/13/cheney.plane.bird.ap/index.html

    at least he finally got around to hitting a bird…

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