|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Various Republican candidates attended a meeting of Club for Growth, and afterwards, National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru spoke to Cato Institute's President Ed Crane about what they said. This brief report from Ponnuru is simply extraordinary:Crane asked if Romney believed the president should have the authority to arrest U.S. citizens with no review. Romney said he would want to hear the pros and cons from smart lawyers before he made up his mind.Mitt Romney can't say -- at least not until he engages in a careful and solemn debate with a team of "smart lawyers" -- whether, in the United States of America, the President has the power to imprison American citizens without any opportunity for review of any kind. But in today's Republican Party, Romney's openness to this definitively tyrannical power is the moderate position. Ponnuru goes on to note:Crane said that he had asked Giuliani the same question a few weeks ago. The mayor said that he would want to use this authority infrequently.It sounds like Giuliani is positioning himself in this race as the "compassionate authoritarian" -- "Yes, of course I have the power to imprison you without charges or review of any kind, but as President, I commit to you that I intend (no promises) to 'use this authority infrequently.'"
Two of the three leading Republican candidates for President either embrace or are open to embracing the idea that the President can imprison Americans without any review, based solely on the unchecked decree of the President. And, of course, that is nothing new, since the current Republican President not only believes he has that power but has exercised it against U.S. citizens and legal residents in the U.S. -- including those arrested not on the "battlefield," but on American soil.
What kind of American isn't just instinctively repulsed by the notion that the President has the power to imprison Americans with no charges? And what does it say about the current state of our political culture that one of the two political parties has all but adopted as a plank in its platform a view of presidential powers and the federal government that is -- literally -- the exact opposite of what this country is?