Glenn Greenwald also focuses on Mitt today: Mitt Romney's pursuit of tyrannical power, literally.
- In yet another superb piece of journalism, the peerless Charlie Savage of The Boston Globe submitted to the leading presidential candidates a questionnaire asking their views on 12 key questions regarding executive power. Savage's article accompanying the candidates' responses makes clear why these matters are so critical:
In 2000, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were not asked about presidential power, and they volunteered nothing about their attitude toward the issue to voters. Yet once in office, they immediately began seeking out ways to concentrate more unchecked power in the White House -- not just for themselves, but also for their successors. . . .All of the leading Democrats -- Edwards, Dodd, Biden, Clinton, Richardson and Obama -- submitted responses, as did Mitt Romney, John McCain and Ron Paul. Refusing to respond to the questions were -- revealingly -- Giuliani, Thompson and Huckabee. Significantly, if not surprisingly, all of the candidates who did respond, with the exception of Romney, repudiated most of the key doctrines of the Bush/Cheney/Addington/Yoo theories of executive omnipotence, at least for purposes of this questionnaire. I'll undoubtedly write more about those responses shortly.
Legal specialists say decisions by the next president -- either to keep using the expanded powers Bush and Cheney developed, or to abandon their legal and political precedents -- will help determine whether a stronger presidency becomes permanent.
"The sleeper issue in this campaign involves the proper scope of executive power," said Richard Epstein, a University of Chicago law professor.
But by far the most extraordinary answers come from Mitt Romney. Romney's responses -- not to some of the questions but to every single one of them -- are beyond disturbing. The powers he claims the President possesses are definitively -- literally -- tyrannical, unrecognizable in the pre-2001 American system of government and, in some meaningful ways, even beyond what the Bush/Cheney cadre of authoritarian legal theorists have claimed.
After reviewing those responses, Marty Lederman concluded: "Romney? Let's put it this way: If you've liked Dick Cheney and David Addington, you're gonna love Mitt Romney."