(updated below - Update II)
Bill Kristol today proudly announces that one of his Weekly Standard staff members, Michael Goldfarb, was just named the Deputy Communications Director of the McCain campaign. Last April, this newest McCain official participated in a conference call with former Senator George Mitchell, during which Mitchell advocated a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Afterwards, this is what Goldfarb wrote about what he thinks are the powers the President possesses in our country:
Mitchell's less than persuasive answer [to whether withdrawal timetables "somehow infringe on the president's powers as commander in chief?"]: "Congress is a coequal branch of government...the framers did not want to have one branch in charge of the government."
True enough, but they sought an energetic executive with near dictatorial power in pursuing foreign policy and war. So no, the Constitution does not put Congress on an equal footing with the executive in matters of national security.
As I noted at the time:
Until the Bill Kristols and John Yoos and other authoritarians of that strain entered the political mainstream, I never heard of prominent Americans who describe the power that they want to vest in our political leaders as "near dictatorial." Anyone with an even passing belief in American political values would consider the word "dictatorial" -- at least rhetorically, if not substantively -- to define that which we avoid at all costs, not something which we seek, embrace and celebrate.
And the very idea that the Founders -- whose principal concern was how to avoid consolidated power in any one person -- sought to vest "near dictatorial power" in the President is too perverse for words. But that's been the core "principle" driving the destructive radicalism of the last seven years, and it's an extremist view that is obviously welcomed at the highest levels of the McCain campaign.
Kristol closes his boastful announcement by noting that the pro-dictatorial Goldfarb will return to the Weekly Standard after the campaign ends -- "unless he's appointed national security adviser in the McCain White House." Somehow, McCain continues to be depicted in the media as a "moderate" and the like despite the enthusiastic support of our nation's most crazed and unprincipled warmongers. But even more revealing is that McCain is now staffing his communications apparatus at the highest levels by reaching into Bill Kristol's The Weekly Standard -- one of the most deceptive propaganda organs of the Bush years. Does one even need to point out that there are few things more incompatible with one another than "straight talk" and The Weekly Standard?
UPDATE: Michael Goldfarb on waterboarding and other illegal interrogation practices internationally considered to be "torture" (h/t A.L.):
The Times indicts the Bush administration for exposing terrorists captured abroad to "head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures." Boo hoo.
McCain is a deeply principled opponent of torture and waterboarding which is why his new communications official's view of objections to those techniques is "Boo hoo."
UPDATE II: Last October, this is what Goldfarb wrote in arguing that telecoms deserve amnesty even if they broke the law in enabling warrantless spying on Americans:
[I]f federal agents show up at a corporate headquarters for a major American company and urgently seek that company's officers for assistance in the war on terror, the companies damn well ought to give it as a matter of simple patriotism, whether the CIA wants a plane for some extraordinary rendition or help in tracking terrorists via email. . . . [T]o expect a company to resist a plea from the government for help in a time of war is ridiculous.
So, consistent with his President-as-Dictator vision, McCain's new communications official believes that -- as I wrote at the time -- when "federal agents" come knocking at your door and issue orders, you better "damn well" obey -- you had better not "resist" -- even if the orders you're being given are illegal, even if they're designed to spy on Americans in violation of the law, and even if they're intended to facilitate the torture of detainees. That's what patriotic Americans do -- they obey the orders of their near-dictatorial Leader, so sayeth the heel-clicking Michael Goldfarb. That's a superb, and very mainstream, new addition to the maverick McCain team.