Presidential power used to be simple: You made a total hash of things and after four or eight years you gave it all up, pardoned your friends and spent the rest of your life golfing with your Secret Service detail. But what if that isn't enough?
President Bush has made some vague plans to pardon some thousands of people who might have done anything at all related to torture or rendition in his administration, and as a response Obama is looking to set up a non-partisan torture commission to investigate these people anyway.
Bush's next step in this already surreal version of torture chess might be to claim executive privilege and refuse to surrender documents just because he used to be president. There is some precedent in this case. Harry Truman, when subpoenaed after leaving office, gave this polite 'fuck off' in response…
If the doctrine of separation of powers and the independence of the presidency is to have any validity at all, it must be equally applicable to a president after his term of office has expired.
But that would be crazy. That's like your Vice President claiming to be part of the legislative branch.
Some speculate that Bush wouldn't actually issue the bigass Sam's Club Pardon because it might "be viewed by the public as a tacit admission of colossal wrongdoing — after years of public denial — which would do nothing to help Bush's tarnished legacy."
But given the Bush legacy, could it really hurt?
Tags: Barack Obama, George W. Bush, White House