Thursday, August 19, 2004


The imperial presidency

A week ago Tuesday, I posted a little note on the meaning of Kerry's "response" to George Bush's "challenge" as to whether, knowing what he knows now, he would still vote as he did. Michael C. Dorf over at Findlaw has now reached the same conclusion, but since he's a lawyer and a scholar, it takes him about 2300 words to say it.

In response to Bush's challenge, Kerry said "I believe it's the right authority for a president to have." What does that mean?

Kerry appears to have been referring to an argument that economic sanctions and ordinary diplomacy with respect to Saddam had run their course. In this view, the only way to coerce Iraqi compliance with U.N. resolutions was to make a credible threat of war. And the only way to do that was for Congress to give the president the authority to go to war: thus, in Kerry's argot, it--the authority to go to war--is the right authority for a president to have.

Related post:
Kerry's answer to Bush at the Canyon's edge

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