Over at The American Scene, Conor Friedersdorf has a great post on why the outrage by certain neoconservatives over the Obama administration’s consolidating of power rings hollow. In one breath these neoconservatives, lead by the talking heads at Fox News, decry the administration’s heavy-handed tactics in dealing with various crises and proclaim a rising “liberal fascism,” while in the next breath they push for continuing aggressive Bush/Cheney policies with regards to executive power and pursuing the war on terror. He writes:
What’s truly weird is the subset of Obama critics who’ve tried to persuade me that he is a dangerous radical with ties to terrorists, or that he is plotting to transform the United States into a Communist dictatorship, or that he is going to seize the guns of law abiding Americans, or that he is an extreme leftist who cannot be trusted… and who nevertheless argue that President Obama should continue the Bush era practice of invoking the War on Terrorism to wield unprecedented executive power….
How can men who make these claims about Barack Obama simultaneously insist that a country governed by him is well served by an executive branch given expansive powers during war time? How can they insist that he’ll end freedom in America, and defend the idea of warrantless wiretapping? Is it credible to argue that he is a radical opportunist who seeks the prosecution of political opponents, and that he should have the power to order waterboarding, “walling,” and other brutal interrogation tactics? It’s as if one moment they’re comparing him to Joseph Stalin, and the next they’re demanding that he wield all the power they helped afford him by arguing for its righteousness during the Bush era.
…Were President Obama even half as bad as some of his critics claim, shouldn’t they be agitating for less executive power, more Congressional oversight, and perhaps even conclude that they were mistaken to help increase the power of the executive branch given that they haven’t any idea who’ll hold the presidency in the future? [emphasis added]
Of course in today’s politics, calling for checks and balances and limiting executive authority makes you a dangerous Ron Paulian.