I have noticed that the number of articles I have posted with the “hypocrisy” tag has gone down quite a bit since the long presidential campaign. But yesterday’s opinion piece in the NY Times more than makes up for it. In it John “I hate the UN” Bolton and John “I love torture” Yoo discuss the need to limit executive power, saying that Obama needs to submit anything vaguely treaty-like to the Senate. Since treaties require two-thirds approval by the Senate, and the Democrats don’t quite have a two-thirds majority there, this would allow Senate Republicans to block key legislation.
Remember that Bolton himself received a “recess appointment” to become ambassador to the UN in order to avoid trying to get Senate approval, and repeatedly sabotaged attempts to control weapons of mass destruction. Yoo wrote the infamous memos that declared torture legal and denied enemy combatants protection under the Geneva Conventions, completely sidestepping Congress, and formulated version of the “Unitary Executive Theory” that claimed that the President (not Congress or the courts) has sole authority to interpret international treaties (to the point where he claimed that if the president decides to torture someone, including by crushing the testicles of that person’s child, there is no treaty that can stop him”).
So where does this sudden new appreciation for deferring to Congressional authority come from? It is easy to tell, since they don’t even bother to hide their real goal, which is to block any legislation on issues like climate change, restricting land mines, or nuclear test bans.
As commentator John Cole puts it:
I knew these wankers would do this, I just didn’t expect it immediately and so brazenly. The balls on these people.
Yoo in particular is a classic partisan flip-flopper, having criticized President Clinton for having an “imperial presidency” and then turning around completely during the Bush administration becoming the head cheerleader for executive power, and now attacking Obama for the same thing.
I’m amazed that they aren’t even waiting for Obama to take office before preemptively attacking him for things that they themselves are guilty of. That’s a great trick. The real question is, have the American people woken up enough to reject this kind of political bullshit?