Thursday, June 5, 2008

Stop McCain: "I'd Spy on Americans Secretly, Too"

Democrats have taken to dubbing a John McCain term as "Bush III," and word just out from the McCain campaign suggests this moniker has some merit, at least when it comes to McCain's position on Executive Power. reports that in a statement released by his campaign Monday, McCain "reserved the right to run his own warrantless wiretapping program against Americans, based on the theory that the president's wartime powers trump federal criminal statutes and court oversight."

Here's the campaign's statement: "N]either the Administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and the trial lawyers, understand were Constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. [...]

"We do not know what lies ahead in our nation’s fight against radical Islamic extremists, but John McCain will do everything he can to protect Americans from such threats, including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution."

As continues, "the Article II citation is key, since it refers to President Bush's longstanding arguments that the president has nearly unlimited powers during a time of war. The administration's analysis went so far as to say the Fourth Amendment did not apply inside the United States in the fight against terrorism, in one legal opinion from 2001."

This sort of expansion of the executive authority was not imagined by the framers when they set up the constitutional separation of powers for the very purpose of limiting the power of any one branch.

If this is John McCain's view, he needs to be defeated. We have seen too well the damage a rogue presidency (what the New York Times, among others, are characterizing as "the most disastrous presidency of modern times") can do to our core constitutional principles.