You are browsing the internets happily when you come across a major-name liberal blogger. That blogger has written a post about the Bush administration's trampling of democracy - be it from secret warrantless spying programs or signing statements or feeding a lazy press propoganda or whatever. However, the blogger has implicitly made the assumption that the kind of Republican-Lite types who make up the elite of the Democrats and who are most likely to ever occupy the Oval Office wouldn't do exactly the same. (Nor would the elitists who make up the top levels of the Republican party, mind you. Where's my third party option?)
You then challenge said blogger to come up with evidence for their assumption or to 'fess up that what they are really doing is "using the force" (trans - shutting your eyes tight and hoping like hell). You point out that the issue is too important, after two Bush terms, to leave to guesswork and wishful thinking. "We the people" need to know.
You say that there is actually a way for those concerned about the future of American democracy to pressure those candidates to pledge a rollback of the King as President meme rather than using it as a useful precedent. It is, quite simply, to ask the damn question they seem so afraid to ask:
Will you, if elected, pledge to roll back the Bush vision of total Presidential executive power?
As I wrote before, it is an unfair question - that's what is so good about it from the point of view of those worried about more of the same monarchy-style rule:
Its unfair because, if the answer is no, then the candidate - and I mean for President, Senator, Congresscritter, Governor, whatever - has to launch into an explanation of why he or she thinks Bush's vision of utter power vested in the Oval Office is a good idea. I can't see any Democrat (or Republicans for that matter) being able to carry that one off in a way that will do them any good at all. The soundbite quotes it would hand their political opposition would be devastating. If the answer is "yes" less explanation is required and the soundbites will all be about balance of power and the vision of the Founders - good PR stuff - and then the pressure is there to act as if they mean it.Then you sit back and see whether the liberal blogger in question has the guts to face this elephant in his room or whether he prefers to be an ostrich.
So far, I've found that Steve Soto at The Left Coaster is an ostrich (read the comments, it's like the topic doesn't exist for him). It's a pity, because I really like his work, including this post if it didn't have that assumption of Democrat beatitude...in fact I plan to link to one of his posts later today.
Neil at Ezra Klein's blog, on the other hand, at least had a bash at digging up a quote from his favourite candidate, John Edwards, that would show how Edwards would fall on the issue. NOT ostrich.
You can play too if you'd like. Imagine how much fun 30 or so Newshog regular readers all playing "Ostrich" could have. Let me know how you get on in comments.
If the elite don't like the people, why dont they dissolve them and elect some new ones? - Old anarchist grafitti.