In the seven and a half years since September 11, the United States has witnessed one of the greatest expansions of executive authority in its history, at the expense of the constitutionally mandated separation of powers. President Obama, as only the third sitting senator to be elected president in American history, and the first since John F. Kennedy, may be more likely to respect the separation of powers than President Bush was.
Five years ago, when we were in the middle of the most unpopular war in the history of America, one waged on an innocent country, one started on the basis of false intelligence, by a president elected on what may well have been the thinnest margin in American history... we didn't need to restrain presidential power then. Did we, Arlen? No, in fact, what was needed then was to give the president whatever authorization he wanted to wage war on whoever he wanted to, and give him as much money to do it as he asked for.
But now - now that we have a Democrat president in office - now is the time to restrain presidential power. Yes indeedy! Now is the time to seriously look into warrant-less wiretapping (which is completely fucking unconstitutional in every way). And now is also the time to scrutinize those nasty "signing statements" that Dubya used to exempt himself (again, completely unconstitutionally) from certain laws. This is also the time that you have rediscovered "the need for Congress and the courts to reassert themselves in our system of checks and balances." Ayup. Now that we have someone in office who isn't a member of your party, the Republicans, NOW it's time to do these things. Um-hm. For sure.