October 26, 2007

A question for every Democratic presidential candidate

Over the past seven years, we've seen the Bush administration systematically and continually assault the Constitutional doctrine of the separation of governmental powers. This assault has resulted in one of the greatest expansions in Executive power in the history of the United States, and is widely regarded as the single most pernicious effect this administration will have on the American way of life. Simply put, the presidency of George W. Bush has threatened the rule of law in this country.

Bush's Democratic successor will have an opportunity to use this Executive overreach to undo much of the more immediate harms the current administration has inflicted on the United States. Between executive orders and signing statements, the next President will be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, roll back the Bush tax cuts, and rebuild our health care system without the co-operation of the Congress. But this successor may well be the last chance this country has for restoring the separation of powers. Should you win the nomination and then the election, you will therefore be presented with a historic moral dilemma: Will you sacrifice your policy goals for the sake of restoring the rule of law, or will use the nearly unchecked power of the Executive to achieve policy reform?

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