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Last December, as his campaign was floundering, John McCain responded to a questionnaire on executive power, spying and torture that was distributed to all candidates by The Boston Globe's Charlie Savage. McCain explicitly refused to answer whether he thought there was "any executive power the Bush administration has claimed or exercised that . . . is unconstitutional." But on one critical issue -- whether he thinks the President possesses "inherent powers" under Article II "to conduct surveillance for national security purposes without judicial warrants, regardless of federal statutes" -- McCain gave an answer that was basically the equivalent of the ACLU/Russ-Feingold/Chris-Dodd view, and completely at odds with the Bush/Cheney/Yoo view of executive power.
That view as stated by McCain is the diametric opposite of the Bush administration's view, which asserts that the President has the power under Article II to spy on Americans without warrants even in the face of a law that criminalizes such warrantless spying (FISA). Just to underscore how radical McCain's December answer was for today's Republican Party, the answer McCain gave on that question was identical to the one given by Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul, and Barack Obama, but it was glaringly at odds with the evasive one given by Mitt Romney ("Our most basic civil liberty is the right to be kept alive") and Rudy Giuliani ("the president has certain core constitutional responsibilities to ensure that our nation can defend itself and our fundamental liberties in times of emergency").
In order to satisfy the right-wing extremists he now needs, McCain -- who only six months ago was giving answers on spying and executive power that were exactly the same as though expressed by the ACLU, Russ Feingold and Chris Dodd -- is now spouting theories of the Omnipotent President virtually equivalent to those used by John Yoo, David Addington and Dick Cheney over the last seven years to impose radical changes in how our Government functions. How far McCain has shifted is reflected by the fact that, in the December questionnaire, he said he would never use signing statements under any circumstances -- a commitment not even Obama or Clinton would make. A speech McCain delivered to the Federalist Society a few weeks ago presaged this reversal, but yesterday's statement leaves no doubt that McCain is now explicitly embracing the Bush administration's most radical executive power theories.
The bulk of the Bush controversies over the last seven years are grounded in the Bush/Cheney view of executive power: that when it comes to national security, war and foreign policy (so broadly defined that it even includes what the Government does to U.S. citizens, on U.S. soil), nothing can constrain what the President does -- not even laws enacted by the American people through their Congress. John McCain is now embracing those extremist theories in full. The only difficult question is to decide what's more disturbing: that McCain switches positions so quickly and completely on such fundamental questions, or that he is now espousing a view of presidential power that has fueled the radicalism and lawlessness of the last seven years?
Originally posted by kosmicjack
I find it fascinating that ATS members have no comment about actual statements and proof of flip-flopping by John McCain, but they will drone on for 10 or 15 pages in threads based on rumor, innuedo and lies about Barack Obama. What does that say about ATS?