It consistently infuriates me that the politically powerful disobey the law with impunity, and yet over and over, it is generally my clients (I say that meaning not only my clients, obviously, but my general population that I represent - the poorer, larger percentage minority and the sociologically downtrodden) that are forced to obey the law. It's not enough that police officers don't have to obey the law, and that the courts can frequently just disregard the law to get to their desired result (usually one screwing my clients, or favoring the politically beautiful over the political toads), but the president of the United States has made it abundantly clear that he doesn't think that the law applies to him.
(Note - Martin Lederman over at Balkinization Blog has a great post about this here. It is well worth the read, and much better written and analyzed than I can ever do, or at least have the patience to do).
After all of the things he has done to flout the law over the last 5 years, brazenly, openly, unrepentantly, he now intends to bypass the McCain torture ban with a a simple filing of a declaration that the law does not impede him from carrying out his constitutionally required powers of defending the American people.
Hello, that is exactly what the law is intended to do, restrict what he is able to do. The law makes it clear - no torture, no exceptions. What does Bush say? I'll obey the law, when I want to. This is no different than bypassing the FISA Court to get wiretap authority (can you guess the obvious reason that he is bypassing that court, when he can get a warrant 72 hours after the wiretap begins? It is because he is spying on non-terrorists, such as political enemies).
There is only one thing you can do when a president has made it clear that he will not obey the laws imposed by Congress (or, for those of you who failed elementary school government - the People), that is impeachment. At the very least, Bush should have to explain in an impeachment proceeding why he shouldn't be removed from power, why his violations of the law were so absolutely necessary that he couldn't get a warrant 3 days after breaking the law.
Is there any reason in the world by this guy is less of a criminal than any of my clients? Because he has the right intentions? Doesn't matter, intent only matters to show that you intended to do the act charged with, it's clear he had the intent to spy without a warrant. The road to hell is paved with the best of intentions.
For over 200 years our country has lived with the notion that no man is above the law, and that applies equally to the president. It's not like he's apologizing, or saying that it had to be done in this manner, he's unrepentant, and says he'll keep doing it, even though he could go to the FISA court any day. Now he's going to violate our bans on torture. I can assure that there is not a dictator in the world's history who did all of his evil acts in the name of "security." When will our population grow up enough to realize that a simple repitition of the word "security" does not justify tyranny.
What's next, a simple declaration that it is not in the country's safety to have an election at the volatile time of war we are in in 2008? What if in 2004 he had decided that regardless of the outcome, it was in our country's national security interest that there be no change of power in the White House. He certainly argued as much to the electorate - if he believed it, what's to say he didn't act on it in secret. Maybe he decreed that it was in our vital security interest that voting machines in Ohio be tabulated in his favor, regardless of the vote.
Alright, I know I'm getting a tad bit conspiratorial there, but we know he will break the law to pursue aims of what he thinks is in the country's best interest. How far of a leap is that? Nixon was willing to subvert democracy by covering up his cohorts breaking into the opposition headquarters - that's not too far a leap to the anti-democratic tactics of fake democracies around the world like in Egypt, Iran, or Zimbabwe. How far is Bush from those kind of decisions. Either he really didn't think that the Democrats are dangerous to the country and was lying, or he has to be willing to bend the law to ensure that he wins elections.
This is a truly dangerous person for our democracy.