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day permlink Tuesday, 16 May 2006

permlink Questions circa May 2006

On the occasion of Tony Snow's wrenching transformation from Fox anchor to Bush spokesperson, Dan Froomkin, online columnist for (a skeptic who is regularly labeled a liberal, because skepticism is only for brainwashed Bush-haters) asked his readers to submit questions that they genuinely wish they could hear an answer for from our present rulers.

I've picked out my favorites .. I would love to see even a couple of these make it into Tony's inbox on live TV:

Questions for Tony Snow

  • It has been estimated in some quarters that the cost of the Iraq war will could be well over $1 trillion dollars. What provisions has this administration made to pay for the cost of the war? What programs will have to be cut if increasing taxes are not an option?

  • Five years ago, President Bush said he had looked into President Putin's soul and seen a man "deeply committed to his country's best interests." Yet now Vice President Cheney says Russia's "government has unfairly and improperly restricted the rights of her people." Does the president agree with this assessment? If so, has President Putin changed, or did Mr. Bush misjudge him five years ago?

  • From the president's perspective, how does the practice of issuing signing statements fit with the constitutional separation of powers? Why does the president think he can choose which laws to uphold?

  • Why is it wrong for the judiciary to redefine the law but right for the president? Or: why is "activist judge" bad but "signing statement" good? Or: how is it a problem if the judicial branch takes power from the legislative, but not a problem if the executive branch takes power from the legislative?

  • Why make a big show of trying to get lawmakers to reach compromises with the White House on legislation (see John McCain's anti-torture legislation) if he's then going to append a signing statement proclaiming that there's no need for him to observe the very law he just signed? Why bother going through the motions at all?

  • Why does the American public knowledge of [NSA secret surveillance] programs jeopardize U.S. security? Don't terrorists already assume that their communications are monitored?

  • Is the Bush government spying, without warrant, on its domestic political opponents?

  • No company could survive by increasing expenses, slashing revenue, and assuming a heavier debt load. Why is the Bush administration running the country that way?

  • Please tell us as specifically as possible what limits the president believes there are to his exercise of executive power in the national interest during wartime and/or for national security purposes.

  • Two years ago the president pledged to restore honor and dignity to the White House. As part of this pledge, would Mr. Bush promise not to pardon any members of his administration who come under investigation for crimes they may have committed?

Of course, one does not really expect this government to answer much of anything any more. ("For the people, shmor the people!")

But it's nice to benchmark what questions linger as we lazily trundle further away from our original system of checks and balances.


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