Inexplicable | Editorial | Indy Week
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Inexplicable 

This is from one of our favorite bloggers, Eschaton (www.atrios.blogspot.com).

2005 was the year that the president of the United States declared proudly that he had broken the law repeatedly and with full intention, that he had the power to do so whenever he wanted to, and that he would continue to do so whenever he determined it to be desirable. This declaration was met with basic approval from much of the beltway chattering classes, prominent libertarian bloggers, and just about every small government conservative.

The issue is simple: Bush has declared that one man has the right to make the law whenever, in his determination, national security warrants it. While even I can understand the necessity of broad executive powers in emergency situations, we aren't anywhere close to being in one of those. ... By conferring dictatorial authority on himself, Bush has declared that this is, in fact, a dictatorship even if he hasn't (yet) bothered using such authorities to the fullest of his claimed ability.

It's a mystery why [NBC's Tim] Russert and the gang can giggle over their little roundtables, essentially ignoring what amounts to a military coup by our own president. He's asserted the authority of commander in chief over the entire country, and not just the military to which the Constitution grants him such authority. Yes, we hope and generally assume that this temper tantrum by our boy king will pass in three years, that his overreach will not have long-lasting effects, that the crisis will pass.

2005 was the year the president declared he was the law, and few of our elite opinion makers and shapers bothered to notice, or care.

***

As I write this on Tuesday, I have no doubt that Jack Abramoff's name will be on the front page of the News & Observer this week. The Republican mega-lobbyist pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion in a deal that will have him talking about his largesse to as many as 20 members of Congress. But I feel the same frustration as Eschaton that our major local newspaper hasn't strived to find a way to capture the stench that now surrounds Washington. The N&O's archive says it's only mentioned Abramoff in 12 articles ever, and until Wednesday, never on the front page, outside of a quirky, gee-whiz Abramoff primer on Dec. 5. Meanwhile, national papers have done a good job investigating and preparing readers for the scandals that are crashing down--stories that were available for The N&O to run. It's a great story and a critical issue. It is beyond me why The N&O thinks it's more important to put a picture of nail clippers (soon to be allowed on airplanes) on the front page than aggressively inform people about the kind of corruption the Bush administration has ushered in.

More by Richard Hart

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