Don't expect John McCain to roll back the enormous and damaging executive overreach that the Bush administration is famous for. Unwarranted wiretaps will continue in a McCain administration. In an article for the New York Times, Charlie Savage reports:
A top adviser to Senator John McCain says Mr. McCain believes that President Bush’s program of wiretapping without warrants was lawful, a position that appears to bring him into closer alignment with the sweeping theories of executive authority pushed by the Bush administration legal team.
In a letter posted online by National Review this week, the adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said Mr. McCain believed that the Constitution gave Mr. Bush the power to authorize the National Security Agency to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and e-mail without warrants, despite a 1978 federal statute that required court oversight of surveillance.
Mr. McCain believes that “neither the administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the A.C.L.U. and trial lawyers, understand were constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001,” Mr. Holtz-Eakin wrote.
Savage, you'll remember, is the guy who painstakingly examined every "signing statement" has been responsible for during his presidency. In an article for the Globe in January, Savage reported on the quiet authorization for permanent bases in Iraq in a signing statement added to the National Defense Authorization Act.
President Bush this week declared that he has the power to bypass four laws, including a prohibition against using federal funds to establish permanent US military bases in Iraq, that Congress passed as part of a new defense bill.
"Provisions of the act . . . purport to impose requirements that could inhibit the president's ability to carry out his constitutional obligations to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, to protect national security, to supervise the executive branch, and to execute his authority as commander in chief," Bush said. "The executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President."
McCain has been unclear about his position on executive power. The statements his advisor has made in the National Review indicate a position very close to that of George W. Bush.