Who cares what they think?

Who cares what they think?

by digby

Jack Balkin's post about the similarities between the Bush lawyer shopping and the Obama lawyer shopping is an important read. The difference between them is that I think Bush manipulated the system to provide the appearance of following the normal process and Obama just said to hell with normal process. The result is the same, but it is surprising to see a Democrat who ran on the proposition that he was very conscientious about the separations of powers would be the one who would just say "who cares what they think?"

It should be noted that Balkin was one of those who said repeatedly that the problem with allowing these presidents to get away with asserting these ever more dictatorial powers isn't a matter of presidential character. They ALL protect these powers once they are assumed, no matter how well intentioned you think they are. There was a great fallacy in progressive thinking back in the Bush years that this was unique to that administration. Yes, they were particularly interested in adopting a radical definition of executive power, but in the end their hypocrisy was a tribute that their vice paid to virtue in that at least they kept up the pretense that certain rules and norms in these matters were still operative. Obama, their great critic on the whole range of these issues, has just said they no longer are. He can do as he pleases.

This has never been about what's in these men's hearts (which we can never know.) It's about the power of the office. Once given, they will almost always use it.