Joining the Conservatives When They Are Right

I agree with John Nichols. This is a platform which I would like to see all the candidates endorse:

• End the use of military commissions to prosecute crimes.

• Prohibit the use of secret evidence or evidence obtained by torture.

• Prohibit the detention of American citizens as enemy combatants without proof.

• Restore habeas corpus for alleged alien combatants.

• End National Security Agency warrantless wiretapping.

• Empower Congress to challenge presidential signing statements.

• Bar executive use of the state secret privilege to deny justice.

• Prohibit the President from collaborating with foreign governments to kidnap, detain of torture persons abroad.

• Amend the Espionage Act to permit journalists to report on classified national security matters without threat of persecution.

• Prohibit of the labeling of groups or individuals in the U.S. as global terrorists based on secret evidence.

Nichols reports that these proposals come from the American Freedom Agenda which is chaired by Bruce Fein, a “former Nixon administration aide who served as deputy attorney general under President Reagan.” We may disagree with some of his previous actions, including his work on the impeachment of Bill Clinton. We may also question some of the others involved, such as Richard Viguerie, but their arguments make perfect sense:

“The most conservative principles of the Constitution have been repeatedly violated in the last several years,” says Fein. “[The] Founding Fathers engrafted a system of checks and review of one branch by another — a system of due process safeguards against injustice that is likely to occur because of prejudice and fear. And those checks and balances have eroded enormously over the last several years, particularly since 9/11.”

Viguerie is even blunter, suggesting that “a constitutional crisis… has developed to alarming proportion under President George W. Bush.”

Rejecting the suggestion that conservatives must remain silent because Bush is supposedly one of their own, Viguerie says, “Conservatives must not fail to oppose the massive expansion of presidential powers out of fear they will be aid and comfort to the Left. Concern about one branch of government acquiring excessive power should not be the providence of liberals, moderates, or conservatives. It must be the concern of all Americans who value liberty…”

Preserving civil liberties and restoring the checks and balances on government which were eroded under George Bush should be a top priority. We now have people on both the right and the left who are calling for this. I hope we can get the candidates of both parties of sign on to these principles. After all, Republicans would be following the lead of prominent conservatives, and, besides the fact that these are liberal principles, Democrats such as Clinton and Obama have at times sought to reach across the aisle on ideas in which there is shared agreement.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    Ron says:

    It is only a matter of time for others to wake up to the Constitutional crisis being perpetuated by this President. The vast majority of the Bill of Rights has been destroyed and even the separation of powers are now being challenged openly and defiantly by this administration.

    If their was ever a just cause to impeach, it is that the President has failed to honor his oath of office which was to “preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States of America”.

    A total failure, and a total crime against Democracy, but I guess it’s “okay” to commit treason if you are the President.

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