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Parallels to King John (a.k.a. the Magna Carta Monarch)

Gabe Rottman,
Legislative Counsel,
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
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May 8, 2007

Whoa. From the Boston Globe op-ed page.

Listening to President Bush’s petulant tones lambasting Congress for questioning his war, I had a feeling that what we are seeing in Washington has been going on for close to a thousand years in the political tradition in which America was formed. Rulers reach for more and more power until their parliaments and barons think things have gone far enough and begin clipping regal wings….Much of the discussion by the “founding fathers” of the United States had to do with checks and balances on power, and how to ensure that the divine right of kings was not continued under the guise of divine rights for presidents. Nor was Parliament or the courts to have absolute power.If Cheney has one overarching mission in life, it is to restore the authority of the executive which he saw Congress whittle away in the 1970s after the debacle of the Nixon administration – the “imperial presidency,” as critics called it.There were no recording devices in the 13th century, but I can imagine that the aggrieved tone of King John before Runnymede was similar to what I hear in George Bush’s voice as he complains about his parliament and its presumptions.

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