In fact, as Mahler points out, there's some legitimate question as to whether Congress is willing to assist in the necessary self-correction or whether we're stuck with an increasingly authoritarian nation. Will our representatives -- will we -- trade in our freedoms for "homeland security" centered in the White House? After all, "financial crisis" and "market meltdown" can be just as powerful as "war on terror" when it comes to justifying the retention of unconstitutional powers.
The Times printed three responses to Mahler's November 9th article. One came from John Conyers, Judiciary Committee chair in the House, correcting an error in Mahler's chronicle of Congressional abdication of powers. Another notes that Mahler didn't come down hard on Pelosi and Reid for not initiating impeachment proceedings.
The third, from, covers important ground Mahler left out. "There are two additional and extremely serious items that President-elect Obama will need to consider undoing," Ian Alterman writes from New York.
"The first is the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, which passed the House last year and is being considered by the Senate. This act would have a chilling effect on free speech and could, technically, lead to a person’s arrest for publicly reciting the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. If passed by the Senate, Obama must veto it.
About-to-be President Obama is a constitutional lawyer, a democrat, an experienced legislator, and a consummate politician. He's moving into the White House after an election which clearly signaled the rejection of eight years of autocratic and corrupt rule on the part of the majority party and with the shameless assistence of the minority party. There have been no clear signals from the Democrats in Congress that they will do their constitutional job. For those of us who actively supported Obama's election and the election of a Democratic Congress, the work has only just begun.
We continue to be the constituents the president (and Congress) will not be allowed to forget. That's not a threat; that's a promise.