Andrew Sullivan Joins Fray on Impeaching Cheney

The conservative crack-up continues:

Cheney believes that the executive branch is not subject to domestic or international law, has inherent powers to arrest, detain indefinitely without charges and torture anyone on earth if it so wishes, and can wire-tap Americans without any court oversight for good measure.

Well, the only language Cheney understands is force. And even if it were to fail, the instructive power of the exercise would be considerable. Most Americans are not yet fully aware that this vice-president believes that the executive branch is not subject to domestic or international law, has inherent powers to arrest, detain indefinitely without charges and torture anyone on earth if it so wishes, and can wire-tap Americans without any court oversight for good measure.

These are not emergency powers in wartime, but permanent new powers since we are in permanent new state of war. Alongside our constitution, Cheney has constructed a rival governing force, a protectorate, answerable to no one and no law, dedicated to our security. We do get to select that protector every four years (our “accountability moment”), but that’s the extent of our ultimate constitutional and legal protection. This is not self-government; it’s delegation of power to a single leader-guardian-decider. The president is not really the president in this constitutional model. Presidents preside over a constitutional order. Protectors act as constant and energetic guardians of the security of others. They are outside the law, because they believe the law impedes the necessity for risk-free security.

All of that sounds reasonable, but lest you think Andrew Sullivan has finally gotten good sense, he reminds us that he is in fact a kook of the first order by drawing a comparison between Hillary Clinton and Dick Cheney: “Cheney’s protectorate is going to be inherited by a person as power-hungry, secretive and ruthless as Senator Clinton.”

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