13 September 2005

Bush to Take Control of Executive Branch

Let's go to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, live in the Habituation Room...

WOLF: In a stunning development here in Washington, President Bush has just announced that he will be assuming command of the entire executive branch of the federal government. Here's the announcement, just minutes ago.
BUSH: My decision earlier today to assume limited responsibility for possible oversights in the federal disaster of Hurricane Katrina - any possible federal response to the hurricane - has been proven enormously effective.  And so we've decided to do more for the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

See, you have all these agencies and departments running around here in Washington, with their bureaucracies and career professionals and stuff.  What is really needed in this time of crisis is someone to exercise authority over all these different agencies.

To the extent that more could be done to cordurate- coordinate the activities of all the many agencies and cabinet departments, I am taking command of the functions of the exacta- the executive branch, exect- effective immediately.

WOLF: There you have it.  President Bush to take command of the entire executive branch.  A bold move by this president, reminiscent of his decisive leadership following 9/11.


Sources tell CNN that this bold move is in response to the excess of criticism coming from fault-finding liberal Democrats over the government's response to Hurricane Katrina.  We have word that the White House at first considered appointing an executive branch czar, someone like Colin Powell, for this role, but the president decided to take it on himself.  It will certainly be a major addition to his already heavy workload.


In a few moments we'll be getting reaction from both sides of the aisle, from Republicans and Democrats, on this extraordinary development.  But first let's go to Michael Wanker, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, for analysis of the Constitutional ramifications.


Hello Michael, always good to have you with us.


WANKER: Always glad to be here, Wolf.


WOLF: So you've seen the announcement - the president to take charge of the executive branch of the federal government.  What do you make of this?  Is he going too far?  Is he trampling on the Constitution?


WANKER:  Not at all. I think in fact you could make the case that he's not going far enough.  As you mentioned, he is only taking charge of one branch of the government, the executive.  That includes all those bureaucracies and civil servants who work for the federal government.  He's not even touching the judiciary or Congress the way that many people feel he ought to. Or state and local government which failed so miserably, showing the need for ironclad obedience to the head of state. This just demonstrates the president's scrupulous concern for the Constitution, a document which was of course written more than 200 years ago, in a much simpler time.


WOLF: Well let's talk about that then.  Because just before this segment CNN learned from an anonymous source inside the White House Communications Office that there is discussion to go a little bit further, possibly even having the president assume the role of Commander-in-Chief of the military.  Attorney General Abu- uh, Alberto Gonzales is rumored to be scouring his law books looking for a precedent that would allow this under the Constitution.  Do you know anything about that?


WANKER:  Well I'm not privy to the Special Plans of the White House, but this would be a welcome development toward getting the situation in Iraq well in hand.  As you know, the Posse Comitatus Act prohibits civilian control over the military and its contractors, but that law was really passed during the exigencies of the Civil War, and is anachronistic to our current fight against the terrorists.  The best solution would be to have Congress repeal it, or have the Supreme Court strike it down, but with liberal obstructionists controlling those two institutions that may not be likely to happen in a timely manner.


WOLF: You got that right.  So sum this up for us.  Is this a truly extraordinary event on an extraordinary day?


WANKER: A truly extraordinary and decisive move.  It shows just how far the President is willing to go to secure the nation.


WOLF:  Indeed.  In just a few moments we'll be getting political response from both parties, but since the shocking events in New Orleans we have been getting not just both sides of the aisle but also the black view of events.  It's been tough to find black voices inside the Beltway, but it looks like Cindy Kaching has lined someone up.


Hello Cindy.


KACHING: Yes Wolf, it wasn't easy, but earlier this afternoon we followed down reports of an actual African-American community living here inside our nation's capital.  In fact we found a couple blacks up to something here, scant blocks from Capitol Hill, amazingly enough.


I have here Dutch Jones.  Now Dutch, what's your reaction to President Bush's announcement that he will begin running the federal government?


JONES: Begin running the government?  Wha- we just talking about the executive branch?


KACHING: Uh-


WOLF: Yes, Cindy, that's right. The executive branch, and there's talk about the military.


KACHING: The executive branch.


JONES:  Well what the f*@% he's been doing all this time?  This is-


KACHING: Wow.  Still a lot of hurt feelings here in black America, Wolf...


JONES: Ain't about no hurt feelings, we-


WOLF: Wow. That guy was really black. Definitely still a lot of hurt feelings, as you can see.


When we return, we'll have bipartisan discussion of the latest developments, with Republican Senator Rick Santorum and former Democratic presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche.


Stay tuned, you're watching the Habituation Room.

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