The Imperial Presidency Vs. Democracy

Cross posted @ The Disputed Truth & other progressive blogs.

    Many people believe that the Imperial Presidency is a new phenomenon, initiated by George W. Bush. However, the foundation of the Imperial Presidency was laid prior to 9/11 in a series of steps and maneuvers by several different presidents. With each new officeholder not only reinforcing the previous officeholder's position, but also expanding it as they saw fit. But, what is an imperial president and what if anything can be done to restrain that unchecked power? Many will say the separation of powers built into the Constitution is designed to keep the president in check, but that doesn't seem to be working out to good.

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DeFazio Amendment Against Attacking Iran on House Floor Today

An amendment blocking military action against Iran without Congressional authorization is expected to be voted on in the House today (Wednesday) as part of the debate on the defense authorization bill. The amendment is being introduced by Reps. DeFazio, Paul, Hinchey, and Lee.

Similar amendments have failed in the past, but the Democratic leadership is more on board than it has been in the past, the Hillreports:

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MyDD Interview with Harry Reid

On Friday afternoon I had the opportunity to speak with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in his office in the Capitol. This is the second in a series of conversations I had with Democratic presidential candidates and party leaders for publication here on MyDD. Yesterday, I posted the audio and transcript of my talk with Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer and tomorrow morning I will continue with the audio and transcript of my meeting with former Sen. John Edwards.

During the interview with Sen. Reid, which you can listen to in full through a stream or download as an .mp3 for use later at Odeo (some day I will figure out how to embed the audio a la YouTube), I was able to bring up a number of the questions that you suggested here in the comments of MyDD, as well as some submitted to me through email. Now, the transcript:

Jonathan Singer: Thanks for taking the time. Can you tell us a little bit about what it's going to take for someone to win the Nevada caucuses? It's kind of a new thing for us political watchers.

Harry Reid: Well it's a new thing for we Nevadans. It's a real challenge to make sure we organize well. I think it's so important to our country that we change the system. Iowa, a state with a nice population, but very little diversity. Wonderful people. They've done a good job with their caucuses. New Hampshire has no diversity and a very small population. It really seems unfair to me and most people, and that's why the DNC changed it - [that] those two states should determine who's President.

Why did they choose Nevada and South Carolina? They chose Nevada because of its diversity - 20 percent Hispanic, large African-American population, Asian-American population is 6-7 percent. That's big. We have 22 different tribal organizations. The state of Nevada has large union representation, 14 percent and going up rather than down, like a lot of other places in the country.

We have population centers. We have Las Vegas and Reno, two large centers, Las Vegas really big. We have all of the problems of any major metropolitan area. We have rural Nevada, which is representative certainly of rural America. Nevada is representative of the rest of the country.

And people who come there are going to have to be able to respond to Western questions. Water. In the East, we used to have too much. In the West, it's always not enough. We have problems in the West that are unique to the West. The military is different in the West than the East because it's spread out. For example, Las Vegas has the largest Air Force fighter training school in the world. Great ranges. Before you came here we had a map of all that. I wish I could have shown it to you. It's just huge.

Forty percent of the state of Nevada is restricted airspace, military. Eighty-seven percent of the state of Nevada is owned by the federal government. Only 13 percent is privately owned. So we have a lot of federal land issues in Nevada that you don't have in any other place, except you got some in Utah, Montana. But ours is exaggerated compared to them.

People are going to have to be aware of all of these Nevada issues, not the least of which is Yucca Mountain, storage of nuclear waste.

Singer: Do you have any recommendations for a candidate?

Reid: Come to Nevada. That's my first recommendation. You're not going to win running 30-second TV spots somewhere else.

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Make Your Voices Heard

The topic below was originally posted in my blog the Intrepid Liberal Journal on January 11th.

It's not possible to be a little bit pregnant. Yet the Bush Administration prosecuted the Iraq War as if they were awaiting the results of a pregnancy test. Under Donald Rumsfeld the Pentagon tried to win on the cheap. Without boots on the ground however order could not be established after Saddam fell.

In 2004, President Bush ridiculed John Kerry during his re-election campaign for suggesting more troops were required. In his twenty minute speech Wednesday night the President finally acknowledged an insufficient number of troops resulted in chaos. Iraq was a war of choice and Bush waged it with timidity while claiming the fate of western civilization was at stake.

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The Seduction of Political Inertia

The topic below was originally posted in my blog the
Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Democratic Party strategists must be salivating. An ABC News-Washington Post survey reports 8 out of 10 Americans favor changing the U.S. mission in Iraq from direct combat to training Iraqi troops and significant majorities prefer withdrawing nearly all troops by 2008. The ABC/WAPO Survey also indicates increased support for diplomatic initiatives with Iran and Syria.

Since the Bush Administration has opted to essentially reject the Iraq Study Group's bipartisan recommendations, Democrats have received an early Christmas present: they can embrace the report to appear responsible and allow Iraq to continue dragging down the Republican Party heading into 2008.

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