Friday, June 29, 2007

Dear Opposition Friends

[posted by Callimachus]

Lest you think this is all so easy, and decide too soon whose side you ought to be on in the tug-of-war between the White House and Congress over executive privilege, remember this wrestling match will last longer than just one administration. And in a few cycles, who knows? The balance and loci of political power may reverse.

Remember, too, that some of the dearest achievements of the last century -- desegregation, for instance -- were accomplished largely by unilateral executive action. By contrast, the Palmer Raids, perhaps the most flagrant abuse of government power in modern American history, took place under Congressional fiat, at a time when the executive branch was effectively paralyzed (by a dying president) and the much-loathed McCarthy hearings were a pure assertion of Congressional authority against the executive branch.