An Agenda I Can Agree Withby Doug Mataconis
I don’t usually read The Nation, but John Nicholas has a post up over there today talking about a group of conservatives who have finally stopped drinking the Bush Administration Kool-Aid:
Just imagine if one of the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination endorsed this radical agenda:
â€¢ End the use of military commissions to prosecute crimes.
â€¢ Prohibit the use of secret evidence or evidence obtained by torture.
â€¢ Prohibit the detention of American citizens as enemy combatants without proof.
â€¢ Restore habeas corpus for alleged alien combatants.
â€¢ End National Security Agency warrantless wiretapping.
â€¢ Empower Congress to challenge presidential signing statements.
â€¢ Bar executive use of the state secret privilege to deny justice.
â€¢ Prohibit the President from collaborating with foreign governments to kidnap, detain of torture persons abroad.
â€¢ Amend the Espionage Act to permit journalists to report on classified national security matters without threat of persecution.
â€¢ Prohibit of the labeling of groups or individuals in the U.S. as global terrorists based on secret evidence.
The group that’s advocating this agenda isn’t a bunch of leftists, they aren’t even cranky libertarians, they are some of the biggest names in the conservative movement:
The group that’s advancing this so-called “American Freedom Agenda” is chaired by Bruce Fein, a former Nixon administration aide who served as deputy attorney general under President Reagan and who helped to formulate some of the serious — pre-blue dress — arguments for impeaching Bill Clinton. Fein is joined by former Georgia Republican Congressman Bob Barr, veteran conservative fund-raiser Richard Viguerie and David Keene, the former aide to Bob Dole who for many years has served as chairman of the American Conservative Union.
The American Freedom Agenda campaign is the vehicle that these conservatives have established, with a self-described twofold mission: “the enactment of a cluster of statutes that would restore the Constitution’s checks and balances as enshrined by the Founding Fathers; and, making the subject a staple of political campaigns and of foremost concern to Members of Congress and to voters and educators. Especially since 9/11, the executive branch has chronically usurped legislative or judicial power, and has repeatedly claimed that the President is the law. The constitutional grievances against the White House are chilling, reminiscent of the kingly abuses that provoked the Declaration of Independence.”
As refreshing as it is to see conservatives who recognize the libertarian roots of the American Constitution and the fact that the Bush Administration has assumed for itself powers that even King George didn’t have, it would be more refreshing if the leaders of the Republican and Democratic Parties signed on to this agenda. So far, though, only own Presidential candidate has joined them:
The agenda was launched two weeks ago. So far, one candidate has expressed support it: Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the libertarian Republican who explains that: “[They] say that the executive branch is always hungry. That’s why it’s up to the people, up to the congress to reign in the power of the executive branch.”
Good for you, Congressmen Paul. How about the rest of the candidates ? John ? Rudy ? Mitt ? We’re waiting for your answer.