Call it Nixon’s revenge. The combination of Watergate and Vietnam created an environment in which executive power was deemed too dangerous to be trusted. President Ford, for whom Rumsfeld also worked, inherited a crippled presidency. Carter brandished his constitutional crutches as a matter of pride. But many conservatives seethed and waited a long time for a chance to reverse what they saw as a dangerous concession to the legislative branch.
It’s clear now that 9/11 was seen by Cheney and Rumsfeld not simply as a catastrophe but as an opportunity. Just as Karl Rove shrewdly exploited the war to divide and defeat the Democrats, so Cheney and Rummy saw a chance to reverse decades of post-Vietnam executive branch erosion.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
A must read from Andrew Sullivan which puts the NSA wiretaps into an important historical perspective: