Politics being largely the art of saying the ridiculous with a straight face, it’s not uncommon to watch the news and end up staring at the screen in disbelief as some official says something that your average 6 year old would find laughable. But how about this statement from Attorney General Michael Mukasey in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday:
“Torture, as you know, is now unlawful under American law. Um. I can’t contemplate any situation in which this president would assert Article 2 authority to do something that the law forbids.”
Arlen Specter immediately gave a list of examples of Bush doing exactly that, but seriously…where was the laughter? I know, it’s the Senate chambers and you’re supposed to keep your decorum and all, but the only sane response to a statement that out of touch with reality is to point and laugh and to keep pointing and laughing until the person who said it is so humiliated that they never show their face in public again.
This is a president who arrested an American citizen on American soil and threw him in a military prison in solitary confinement for years without any contact with an attorney, without even filing charges against him, much less giving him a fair trial. And when at last a challenge came to court on this man’s behalf, not only did he assert Article 2 authority to suspend habeas corpus (something the constitution only allows to be suspended through the exercise of Article 1 powers) in individual cases, he even argued that no court had Article 3 authority to even hear the case.
This is a man who actually thinks that as long as he says the magic words – those words being “we think this guy is a terrorist” – he can do anything he damn well pleases no matter what that pesky constitution says. You almost expected him to respond to the Supreme Court’s smackdown of his ridiculous legal theory by saying,”But I was in the special room in the treehouse and I was touching ‘safe.’ They can’t get me here.”