Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. Founded by Mark Kleiman (1951-2019)
In Defense of Joe Wilson
Joe Wilson is really a scum, but not because he called out the President of the United States.
Sort of.Â Â I agree with Mark that Wilson is a scum, but I think it’s not because he yelled out something at the President.Â Â
If, when George W. Bush said “The British have learned that Saddam is pursuing enriched uranium from Africa,” someone had stood up and said “That’s a lie!”, and called him on it, then that might have actually been a good thing for the Republic.Â Somehow Winston Churchill got through World War II and David Lloyd George got through (the second half) of World War I having to face Prime Minister’s questions (although Churchill was working in a unity government).Â Put another way:
1)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Lese-majeste is not a crime or a tort, and shouldn’t be;
2)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The reason why Wilson is a scum is that he himself is a liar, not because he dissented; and
3)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Overall, we could use a little less deference to the exalted King President of the United States.
This past month has made political raucousness look pretty bad, as it often does.Â But it’s better that Congresscritters do it themselves than hide behind their minions.Â The Senate often hides behind its elaborate decorum to disguise the viciousness of its members, and I’m not sure that that makes things better.
If anything, the problem over the last several years is that we have given too much respect to the Presidency, while Congress has just sat there.
And I think in general that this redounds to the Democrats advantage: I’d rather have someone be able to call something a “lie” when it is.Â The Republicans will be on the receiving end more of this in any event.
My preferred solution is to have Obama get the same supine deference for the next 7 years that Bush got from the assorted press corps, and have everyone wonder whether Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck are traitors for disagreeing with the President of the United States.Â Every time any Republican wants to know anything about Obama, he should be told that it is covered under the inherent powers of the Commander-in-Chief.Â And after that, all bets are off.
Author: Jonathan Zasloff
Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees.
Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses.
Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.
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