Just imagine if one of the leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination endorsed this radical agenda:
• End the use of military commissions to prosecute crimes.
• Prohibit the use of secret evidence or evidence obtained by torture.
• Prohibit the detention of American citizens as enemy combatants without proof.
• Restore habeas corpus for alleged alien combatants.
• End National Security Agency warrantless wiretapping.
• Empower Congress to challenge presidential signing statements.
• Bar executive use of the state secret privilege to deny justice.
• Prohibit the President from collaborating with foreign governments to kidnap, detain of torture persons abroad.
• Amend the Espionage Act to permit journalists to report on classified national security matters without threat of persecution.
• Prohibit of the labeling of groups or individuals in the U.S. as global terrorists based on secret evidence.
Of course, it is difficult to conceive of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or even the somewhat more Constitutionally-courageous John Edwards going to such extremes.
They are, above all, cautious candidates. They don’t want to be accused of getting too serious about maintaining the basic underpinnings of the Republic.
Only the nuttiest of radicals who ask that candidates for president would ask that candidates for nation’s top job to start talking about the notion that the lawless presidency of George W. Bush has created a Constitutional crisis.
So what left-wing cabal is promoting the above assault on the executives excesses of the Bush administration?
The group that’s advancing this so-called “American Freedom Agenda” is chaired by Bruce Fein, a former Nixon administration aide who served as deputy attorney general under President Reagan and who helped to formulate some of the serious — pre-blue dress — arguments for impeaching Bill Clinton. Fein is joined by former Georgia Republican Congressman Bob Barr, veteran conservative fund-raiser Richard Viguerie and David Keene, the former aide to Bob Dole who for many years has served as chairman of the American Conservative Union.
What gives? How come conservatives are taking the lead in the fight to restore basic Constitutional protections?
“The most conservative principles of the Constitution have been repeatedly violated in the last several years,” says Fein. “[The] Founding Fathers engrafted a system of checks and review of one branch by another — a system of due process safeguards against injustice that is likely to occur because of prejudice and fear. And those checks and balances have eroded enormously over the last several years, particularly since 9/11.”