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The Authoritarian


Yglesias finds Rudy Giuliani asserting an “inherent authority” to fund troops without Congressional appropriations. Evidently, it would be difficult to find a claim made by a mainstream candidate more transparently at odds with the text and structure of the Constitution. (Even John Yoo concedes that Congress can check the President’s wartime powers by cutting off funds.) Meanwhile, Hilzoy notes that Giuliani responded to Ed Crane’s question of whether “the president should have the authority to arrest U.S. citizens with no review” by saying that “he would want to use this authority infrequently.” So he believes in the kind of arbitrary executive power that directly contradicts the core premises not just of the American Constitution but of liberal democratic constitutionalism in general, but don’t worry–he’d use it sparingly! Trust him!

There seems to be some sentiment among some progressives that Giuliani would be a relatively tolerable Republican President, but I agree with Matt that this is dead wrong. In the context of the White House, Giuliani’s “moderation” would be as phony as Ann Althouse’s. As far as I can tell, his “moderation” would mean that he would claim to be “pro choice” while consistently appointing anti-Roe statist reactionaries to the federal courts; or, in other words, nothing, except that it might make him more electable. He’ll certainly be on board for the upper-class-tax-cuts-plus-corporate-pork fiscal agenda of the contemporary Republican Party. And his complete contempt for the rule of law and for legal restraints on his authority make him a completely unacceptable choice for President, worse than even McCain or Romney.

UPDATE: Make sure to read this from Greenwald too.
[Cross-posted at TAPPED.]

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