Sunday, April 01, 2007

How Do You Define Tyranny?

Two of the three Republican front-runners were asked a simple question - do you think the president should have the authority to arrest U.S. citizens with no review?

By any rational standard, this should be a simple one to answer, right up there with "Do you support the US Constitution?" and "What's your position on mom and apple pie?" The answer to this one is a clear and easy, "Hell, no - that's not the way our country is set up, and, as long as I can draw a breath, I'm not going to see us slide into an abyss of totalitarianism!" Other acceptable answers would be, "Are you out of your freaking mind?" or "Do I look like Stalin?".

But that's not the answer we're getting from the Republicans. Rudy Guiliani "said that he would want to use this authority infrequently." Infrequently?? Presumably, that means he would only use it when political enemies really, really deserved it.

Mitt Romney's answer was less clearly a rejection of our country's core principles. His merely showed the utter lack of a moral compass - "Romney said he would want to hear the pros and cons from smart lawyers before he made up his mind." Isn't that comforting - the fate of our democracy would be decided by a couple guys in suits, playing a verbal game of rock, paper, scissors?

There was a day when Republicans really did stand for something. Men like Jack Danforth, Bob Dole and Gerald Ford knew that the US Government was not to be trusted, and that power entrusted to it will inevitably be abused. Even with the fresh news of how the Bush administration has abused the Patriot Act to play politics with the US Attorney's office and to spy on Americans through the FBI, Giuliani and Romney think we ought to go ahead and trust them with the power to throw anyone in jail, without review.

Folks, you can't be any more wrong than that.

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Anonymous Keith Sader said...

Barry Goldwater is spinning in his grave.

4/01/2007 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous Me said...

I want to know the rest of the story, Dan. It is Glenn Greenwald, after all, hardly a dispassionate observer.

But, assuming that the candidates said, fully in context, what it is reported they said, there is no defending such a position, whether exercised infrequently or not. The State simply may not arrest and hold without judicial review. Period.

We have always understood that less efficiency in identifying, arresting, and prosecuting criminals is the price of a free society. And while we may (and often do) quibble over the limits and edges of the State's powers, those core principles have never been questioned. That is why I'd be deeply surprised that Greenwald's report is a full and complete one.

If it is, however, I won't even pretend to defend the positions taken.

4/02/2007 11:29 AM  
Blogger Captain Spaulding said...


We may not see eye to eye on Libertarianism nor what colour we bleed when The Boys of Summer play - but one thing is for sure - we both seem to stand shoulder to shoulder on issues such as this!

A Glorious Spring to you and yours Dan...


4/02/2007 11:43 AM  
Blogger Red Hog said...

Hey Dan,
I just came over from Robbie's blog. I wonder if the commenters on his site are pissed off all of the time or just most of the time? I wonder if their anger is borne in their inability to reconcile the bullshit they speak with what they know is right? Things seem a little more enlightened over here. I'll be back! Keep up the good work.

4/04/2007 12:39 AM  
Blogger Xavier Onassis said...

"How Do You Define Tyranny?"

Oh, I can define tyranny very easily.

I've been married twice.

4/04/2007 6:52 PM  

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