Thursday, July 26, 2007

Again with the Executive Privilege

Just a funny note on something Tony snow said yesterday when talking about Congress's attempts to get members of the administration to testify about the U.S. Attorneys firings:
And so now we have a situation where there is an attempt to do something that's never been done in American history, which is to assail the concept of executive privilege, which hails back to the administration of George Washington...
Regarding Washington, that's true as far as it goes, but I don't think that particular case is really helpful for the administration, since Washington actually gave the information to the Senate because of their role in formulating treaties, which would seem to indicate that the administration should give the Senate the information for which they are asking because of the role of the Senate in confirming U.S. Attorneys.

But that's not really what I wanted to talk about.

Instead, it's the mind-bogglingly retarded statement that "assail[ing] the concept of executive privilege" has "never been done before in American history." As Steve Benen notes, Nixon's claims of executive privilege were pretty well "assailed". But more than that, we don't even have to go back as far as Watergate, nor back to Democrats (who clearly don't understand how our leaders are trying to protect open discourse within the administration) trying to bring down Republicans (protectors of the right to free speech in service of this great nation). No sir, assailing executive privilege was all the rage amongst the current "sanctity of internal administration debate" crowd.

It's funny how perspective changes over time, even for the "strict constructionist" crowd.

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