Friday, January 13, 2006

But gather together to greet the storm, tomorrow belongs to me.

With things potentially spinning out of control for Republicans, and American politics in general, they (the Repubs) are trying to stay on message and maintain control of at least one thing: Supreme Court nominee Alito.

That this seems short-sighted, as do many things political, is evident to many, including Lindsey Graham. Even he said that the Repubs might not be in power forever, and they should consider what their power grabs might mean when reciprocated under a Democratic administration. Ah, such a dreamer, that Lindsey.

Alito's writing on the Unitary Executive are interesting, well thought out, and scary as hell. As The Nation says:

Time magazine reported that in 2001 Alito acknowledged that he is a strong proponent of the theory of the "unitary executive" under which all executive branch power is vested in the President--and any incursion on it by Congress should be resisted. This theory has been used by the Bush Administration to justify various extralegal activities, including the infamous torture memos. In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Justice Clarence Thomas used the "unitary executive" theory to argue that the Supreme Court's restrictions on the President's unilateral power to lock up US citizens constituted "judicial interference"--a view rejected by the Court's majority.

Here is some further advice I imagine Alito might want GWBush to follow as well:
1. A dictatorship requires three things: a man, an idea and a following ready to live for the man and the idea, and if necessary to die for them. If the man is lacking it is hopeless; if the idea is lacking, it is impossible; if the following is missing, than the dictatorship is only a bad joke.

2. A dictatorship can rule against a parliament when necessary, but never against the people.

3. Sitting on bayonets is uncomfortable.

4. A dictator's first task is to make what he wants popular, bringing the will of the nation in tune with his own will. Only thus will the broad masses support him in the long run and join his ranks.

5. A dictator's highest duty is social justice. If people sense that the dictator only represents a thin upper class that has nothing to do with them, they will see the dictator as a hateful enemy and quickly overthrown him.

6. Dictatorships will rescue a nation when they know better ways than the previous governmental forms that they are fighting, and when their power is so anchored in the people that they do not depend on weapons, but rather on their followers.

7. A dictator does not need to follow the will of the majority. He must however have the ability to use the will of the people.

8. Leading parties and masses is the same as governing a nation. He who ruins a party will lead a nation into the abyss. Political ability is not demonstrated by using treacherous methods to rise to a ministerial chair on the labor of others.

9. Dictatorships must be able to survive on their own spiritual reserves. It will not work if what is good in their ideas comes from their opponents, and what does not come from their opponents is bad.

10. The ability to speak is no shame. It is shameful only when actions do not follow words. To speak well is good. To act bravely is even better. The typical reactionary can neither speak nor act. He has somehow gained power, but has no idea what to do with it.

11. Nothing is more foreign to dictatorial thinking than the bourgeois concept of objectivity. A dictatorship is by its very nature subjective. It takes sides by its nature. Since it is for one thing, it must be against another. If it does not do the latter, it runs the risk of having people doubt its honesty about the first.

12. A dictatorship speaks openly about what it is and what it wants. Nothing is farther from it than to hide behind a facade. It has the courage to act, but also the courage to affirm.

13. Dictatorships that hide behind the law to give themselves an appearance of legality even if their actions disagree, are short-lived. They will collapse of their own incompetence, leaving behind chaos and confusion.

14. Only those who lack the courage to join a party value being above party. When worlds collapse, when foundations shake, when revolutionary fevers spread through peoples and nations, one must join a party, one must be for or against. He who stands between will be torn apart by the contradictions, a victim of his own indecisiveness.
This is only part of the advice. There are several more points. If you're curious about the source, the rest are here: