Patriotic Gore


Radical non-leftist antiwarriors from Paul Craig Roberts to Justin Raimondo are doing headstands with joy over an MLK Day speech by Al Gore in which he seems to recognize the connection between a dangerously unlimited domestic executive power and unbridled warmaking. Here's Reuters' take on the speech, delivered in Washington to a meeting of The American Constitution Society and The Liberty Coalition.

Some excerpts from the born again defender of limited constitutional government, spun off his discussion of the Bush surveillance controversy:

We have for decades been witnessing the slow and steady accumulation of presidential power. In a globe where there are nuclear weapons and cold war tensions, Congress and the American people accepted ever enlarging spheres of presidential initiative to conduct intelligence and counter- intelligence activities and to allocate our military forces on the global stage. When military force has been used as an instrument of foreign policy or in response to humanitarian demands, it has almost always been as the result of presidential initiative and leadership. But, as Justice Frankfurter wrote in that famous Steel Seizure Case, "The accretion of dangerous power does not come in a day. It does come, however slowly, from the generative force of unchecked disregard of the restrictions that fence in even the most disinterested assertion of authority."
This Administration has come to power in the thrall of a legal theory that aims to convince us that this excessive concentration of presidential power is exactly what our Constitution intended. This legal theory, which its proponents call the theory of the unitary executive but which ought to be more accurately described as the unilateral executive, threatens to expand the president's powers until the contours of the constitution that the Framers actually gave us become obliterated beyond all recognition. Under this theory, the President's authority when acting as Commander-in-Chief or when making foreign policy cannot be reviewed by the judiciary, cannot be checked by Congress. And President Bush has pushed the implications of this idea to its maximum by continually stressing his role as Commander-in-Chief, invoking it has frequently as he can, conflating it with his other roles, both domestic and foreign. And when added to the idea that we have entered a perpetual state of war, the implications of this theory stretch quite literally as far into the future as we can imagine.

Gore is, as near as I can tell, still a Dead Man Walking as far as the rest of his party is concerned, but it was still refreshing to hear such words out of even a formerly significant American politician.