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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Cheneyism

The big MSM story this weekend was the Washington Post’s first entry in a four-part profile of Dick Cheney’s role in the Bush administration.
The installment focuses on Cheney’s early, successful efforts to short-circuit every established policy-making procedure to force through vast enhancements of executive power after 9/11. Ironically, Cheney subverted the executive branch itself by weaving his way around and over the State and Defense Departments, and the National Security Council, to get George W. Bush to rubber-stamp “anti-terrorism” powers he didn’t himself seek.
None of this is particulary suprising. But the Post’s series matters a lot because it spotlights a new authoritarian strain in the Republican Party and the conservative movement that is not an ephemeral reaction to 9/11 or a peculiarity of an administration with an especially weak president. If you pay attention to what the leading candidates for the Republican nomination for president in 2008 are saying about executive powers and anti-terrorism methods, Cheneyism will survive its author and its presidential enabler if the GOP hangs onto the Whie House. And that ought to be a campaign issue for Democrats.

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