October 23, 2007

Hillary and executive power

Michael Tomasky has an interview with Hillary Clinton up at the brand new Guardian America site, which includes this nugget:

MT: If you become president you'll enter the White House with far more power than, say, your husband had. What is your view of this? And what specific powers might you relinquish as president, or renegotiate with Congress - for example the power to declare a US citizen an enemy combatant?
HC: Well, I think it is clear that the power grab undertaken by the Bush-Cheney administration has gone much further than any other president and has been sustained for longer. Other presidents, like Lincoln, have had to take on extraordinary powers but would later go to the Congress for either ratification or rejection. But when you take the view that they're not extraordinary powers, but they're inherent powers that reside in the office and therefore you have neither obligation to request permission nor to ask for ratification, we're in a new territory here. And I think that I'm gonna have to review everything they've done because I've been on the receiving end of that.
MT: I guess I'm asking, can a president, once in the White House, actually give up some of this power in the name of constitutional principle?
HC: Oh, absolutely, Michael. I mean that has to be part of the review that I undertake when I get to the White House, and I intend to do that.

It's a very careful answer that doesn't promise anything specific, (note that what's she's promising is the review of Bush's power grab, not the relinquishment of powers). But I'm very glad that Tomasky asked the question.