November 16, 2007 by lonbud
…Not What I Do
When I learned President George W. Bush would be addressing the Federalist Society at a gala dinner last night in the nation’s capital, I sensed fodder for an I Just Have To Say post.
I couldn’t have possibly imagined the fertility in the offing.
Glenn Greenwald, as usual, was up this morning with the most germane take on Mr. Bush’s stupefying hypocrisy, but I could not pass up an opportunity to comment on the latest outrage from the man who has done more to destroy our once-great society than any single human being in history.
To fully appreciate the enormity of Mr. Bush’s lack of self-awareness and his utter disdain for the public he purports to serve, I suppose it would be valuable to understand something about his audience. The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy (according to its website) is comprised of
conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.
One would think, based on his performance and that of his Department of Justice during the past six years and nine months, the president might look to the prospect of addressing such a group with a modicum of trepidation.
Not our Decider.
Mr. Bush — or, rather, his speechwriters, who Mr. Greenwald concluded must have been playing a huge joke on their boss — deigned to lecture the Federalists on the nature of the Constitution they so revere. The president actually managed to get the following words out of his mouth:
When the Founders drafted the Constitution, they had a clear understanding of tyranny. They also had a clear idea about how to prevent it from ever taking root in America. Their solution was to separate the government’s powers into three co-equal branches: the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. Each of these branches plays a vital role in our free society. Each serves as a check on the others. And to preserve our liberty, each must meet its responsibilities — and resist the temptation to encroach on the powers the Constitution accords to others.
Yes, that helpful Civics tutorial was brought to you by the poster child for the Unitary Executive, by the Commander-in-Chief who has routinely issued signing statements reserving to him alone the perogative to ignore and abrogate the very laws to which he affixed his signature, by the man on whose watch the Department of Justice was reduced to a political adjunct of the Republican Party, by the man whose contempt for the rule of law trumps even that of Richard M. Nixon, who famously said, “Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”
The real wonder here, in the final analysis, is not that Mr. Bush is capable of such rank delusion, we’ve come to expect that. What I can not understand is how the man escaped a tar-and-feathering, or being pelted with rotten fruit, or being waterboarded by the good Federalists.
I mean, his entire presidency, from the Supreme Court decision that awarded him the office to his current effort to confer retroactive immunity on the telecommunications industry for illegal spying on American citizens, stands diametrically opposed to the very principles on which the Federalist Society was founded.
Then again, the setting aside of principles has a long, non-partisan history.