Friday, June 16, 2006

Bush = Truman?
Gene Healy over at Cato@Liberty has a post on how the Republicans and Democrats are fighting over whether President Bush is governing in the spirit of Truman. Apparently, we can determine if Bush is doing the right thing by asking WWTD (What Would Truman Do)? Unfortunately, that's not a good thing:
But when you look at behavior on the home front, it seems to me that George W. Bush has as good a claim to Truman’s legacy as anyone. Domestically, HST was as unilateral as all get-out. Look at the Steel Seizure case. Facing down a nationwide steel strike in the midst of the Korean war, Truman ordered his secretary of commerce to seize the steel companies and operate them for the government. He did so using a constitutional theory that’s by now familiar. Here’s assistant attorney general Holmes Baldridge laying it out before federal district court judge David A. Pine in 1952:

Judge Pine: So you contend the Executive has unlimited power in time of an emergency?
Baldridge: He has the power to take such action as is necessary to meet the emergency.
Judge Pine: If the emergency is great, it is unlimited, is it?
Baldridge: I suppose if you carry it to its logical conclusion, that is true….
Judge Pine: And that the Executive determines the emergencies and the courts cannot even review whether it is an emergency.
Baldridge: That is correct.

Later, Pine asked Baldridge: “So, when the sovereign people adopted the Constitution, it enumerated the powers set up in the Constitution, but limited the powers of the Congress and limited the powers of the judiciary, but it did not limit the powers of the Executive. Is that what you say?” Baldridge replied, “That is the way we read Article II of the Constitution.”
Yes, it does sound like Bush is doing a great job of channeling Truman.

Really, the question to ask is WWJBD - What Would Jack Bauer Do? That's all you need to know. Though I suppose in Truman's day that would have resulted in a lot of dead striking steel workers.