Hommage au maitre

George W. Bush has his Ronald Reagan moment.

One question about the Reaganolotry festival is whether it will help Bush (as it’s intended to, and as would be the natural result) or whether it will hurt Bush by reminding people that they knew Ronald Reagan and that George W. Bush is no Ronald Reagan.

The President’s ever-alert political team seems to have picked up on that possibility, and devised the perfect counterstroke. In a move that can only be called Reaganesque, the President today said that he couldn’t recall whether or not he’d read the memos telling him that as Commander in Chief he has “inherent power” to suspend all laws and ignore all treaty obligations.


(Admittedly, a carping critic might note that the Reaganesque moment had a strongly Nixonian admixture. Mr. Bush’s assertion that he hadn’t authorized any violations of the law was meaningless, because the theory of the memos is that the President can lawfully do anything he thinks necessary to protect the country, and that his orders so issued confer immunity from prosecution on anyone who follows them. Still, the answer overall had the unmistakable Reagan touch.)

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

One thought on “Hommage au maitre”

  1. Definition of Terms: Corruption

    They define the term "torture" and they define the term "lawful" so that the George W. Bush Administration can publicly deny that they are endorsing torture and publicly claim that their actions are lawful. For example, the DoD Working Group Report sp…

Comments are closed.