President Bush: Please Define “Democracy”


The President’s ongoing defense of a routenized system of unauthorized electronic eavesdropping is presenting one of the best opportunities for Democrat’s 2006 electoral chances. Most Republicans — at their core — also hate this kind of “big brother” behavior that their party leader is defending.
As reported in the Washington Post today, Bush said:

“This is a limited program designed to prevent attacks on the United States of America, and I repeat limited,” Bush said before flying back to Washington after six days cloistered on his ranch in Crawford, Tex. “I think most Americans understand the need to find out what the enemy’s thinking.
“If somebody from al Qaeda is calling you, we’d like to know why.”

We’d like to know why a Court would not authorize you to listen to that phone call or read that email, Mr. President. Why do you — as President of the United States — think that it is OK to systematically circumvent the American justice system? That is the question at hand.
The White House is engaged in sleight-of-hand duplicity over what the real debate is over.
The President does not want his actions constrained or have any oversight over his actions. That doesn’t wash in a democracy.
Do you know what a democracy is, Mr. Bush? Do you know what checks-and-balances means?
Would you please scribble out an essay — in your own hand — as to what you think the limits of Executive Power are? Or, do you feel that the Chief Executive has no limits?
We’d really like to know, Mr. Bush. Your defense of wiretaps that even John Ashcroft got ulcers about approving makes the nation’s skin crawl.
You’ve taken this country into the Orwellian nightmare that we all accused the Soviet Union of promulgating — and now that has become us. We are spying on ourselves without Constitutional protections and judicial regulation.
That is NOT democracy, though I’m sure that those in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East who are allegedly “learning democracy” from us are taking notes.
— Steve Clemons