...And all this simply clears the path for Bush’s shining act of glory set for later today. He will veto the intelligence authorizations act of 2008 because it clarifies, for the third or fourth time now, that acts of torture are a violation of the law. But George W. Bush is the law, and he will not hear any differently from this Congress. Indeed, Bush’s claim to be the law is manifested in one thing above all others, and that is his power to torture. By defending and upholding this right, Bush shows that unlike generations of predecessors in the White House, he is King. He sets the law, and his will determines how it will be enforced and against whom. That is his own, very personal vision of “justice,” measured in terms of personal prerogative and power. Torture is the measure and definition of his authority as a President with monarchical pretense.
So Bush will veto the latest anti-torture legislation, and it will have no effect. Or rather, his veto will be cited as yet another instance in which his personal will triumphs over the Law.
The curtain continues to fall over American democracy. Americans understandably are sickened by the tragi-comedy that spreads itself across this stage. But their faith in another presidential election and another leader is misplaced. They need to reserve their faith not for the new, but for the old: for the constitutional model that the Founders left. It needs to be forced to work. And all those who undermine it must be held to account. That includes the should-be watchdogs, who slobbering at the prospect of a few drug-drenched sirloins hurled their way, are failing in their duty to protect their true masters: the American people.
Saturday, March 08, 2008