Tony Snow today was trotting out a new talking point: that Congress has no oversight authority of the Executive Branch. Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has the story and provides a strong opinion about all of this that should be read. To me it’s just the latest in a long line of really remarkable efforts by the White House to completely re-configure US governance from the top down.
It brings to mind an important question: has the Bush administration’s primary and overarching goal been to strengthen Executive power beyond anything recognizable in US history?
Every policy that has been pursued by the Bush administration – and I include the Iraq War in this – can easily be seen to have been done in the service of increasing Executive power. And when you consider that many of the muckety-mucks – including most notably Cheney – came out of the Nixon era, it starts to look like a pretty reasonable theory.
When we look at why something like the invasion of Iraq happened, people bring out all kinds of theory about NeoCon dreams or restoring American force in the world or (even) a justifiable response to presumed terrorism and terrorist intentions on the part of Saddam. But what if all of those reasons are simply incidental? What if the ultimate reason to start a war was just to cultivate more fertile ground for strengthening the Executive Branch?
The implications are staggering when you turn the equation around like that – not Executive privilege as an outgrowth of the needs of wartime, but as the underlying reason for the war in the first place.