John Yoo and John Bolton are strong believers in the “unitary executive” theory, which suggests that the President has the sole authority to interpret international law as he/she wishes, that the President can ignore the constitution if he/she deems it necessary to national security and that Congress has nearly no ability to limit the President’s powers, particularly during wartime.
Yoo and Bolton wrote an op-ed yesterday regarding Presidential powers. In their op-ed, Yoo and Bolton call on President-elect Barack Obama to “restore the Senate’s treaty power.” That’s right–these guys, who spent the past eight years arguing that the President has the authority to basically do whatever he damn well pleases, are now arguing that Congress needs greater authority over international affairs.
It’s classic IOKIYAR: when there’s a Republican in the White House, conservatives push the “unitary executive” theory; when we have a Democratic President, they back checks and balances all the way.
We knew this would happen when a Democrat got elected–we knew the GOP would scramble to strip away all the authority they spent eight years shoveling onto George W. Bush. I just didn’t expect it to be so soon, or so brazen–to go from “the President has nearly unlimited authority” to “the President needs to restore checks and balances” in a few short weeks is an ideological turnaround sharp enough to cause whiplash. The hypocrisy is astounding.