Speaking on behalf of the Bush Administration to Senators in Congress yesterday — and, by extension, to all Americans — a Justice Department official summed up the various theories and ideologies used by those who support George W. Bush’s assault on the Constitution and democracy:
“The president is always right.”
Folks, this guy means what he said. This was not some slip of the tongue in a heated moment contextualized by some particular policy. This was a prepared remark intended to summarize the Administration’s policy for ruling the United States.
For those of you who have not been following the evolving position, it goes something like this:
In time of war, the Constitution empowers the Commander-in-Chief to make all decisions.
We are in a time of war — actually an endless war against terrorism as opposed to a war against a state.
Until the Commander-in-Chief declares this war to be finished, he is, as he himself put it “the decider”.
As previously contended by Richard Nixon before he became the first person ever to resign the presidency, if the president does it, then it is the law.
In our unique new kind of endless war — one that has no national or state borders — the Commander-in-Chief decides anything he sees as part of that war. Former distinctions such as ‘foreign’ and ‘domestic’ are, like the Geneva Accords, ‘quaint’.
Congress and the Courts might make suggestions to the Commander-in-Chief.
However, because the Commander-in-Chief is the decider — the unitary executive — he is not bound by such suggestions and can use signing statements or take any other action, including simply ignoring the suggestions, as he sees fit.
The president is always right.