Richard Nixon said famously, "If the president does it, that means it is not illegal." If guess now we can add Barack Obama and company: "If a president does it, that means it is due process." Or, in Barack We Trust. As the great Charlie Pierce writes:
Attorney General Eric Holder's appearance at Northwestern on Monday, during which he explained the exact circumstances under which the president can order the killing of just about anyone the president wants to kill, was not promising. The criteria for when a president can unilaterally decide to kill somebody is completely full of holes, regardless of what the government's pet lawyers say. And this...
"This is an indicator of our times," Holder said, "not a departure from our laws and our values."
...is a monumental pile of crap that should embarrass every Democrat who ever said an unkind word about John Yoo. This policy is a vast departure from our laws and an interplanetary probe away from our values. The president should not have this power because the Constitution, which was written by smarter people than, say, Benjamin Wittes, knew full and goddamn well why the president shouldn't have this power. If you give the president the power to kill without due process, or without demonstrable probable cause, he inevitably will do so. And, as a lot of us asked during the Bush years, if you give this power to President George Bush, will you also give it to President Hillary Clinton and, if you give this power to President Barack Obama, will you also give it to President Rick Santorum?
I said some unkind words about John Yoo. And while I'm not a Democrat (just a left-wing independent -- in part because of stuff exactly like this), I'm still embarassed by this, embarassed by the Obama administration's actions here. I didn't want President Bush having these kind of unconstitutional, extra-judicial powers, and I don't want President Santorum to have them. And I don't want President Obama to have them. Any so-called "progressive" who argues otherwise isn't very progressive.