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    Conservatives Trump Liberals In Thirst For Federal Power

    Published: Friday, August 23, 2002

    The original vision of the Founding Fathers for these United States was one of limited power for the centralized or federal government. Instead, they envisioned a country comprised of strong state governments and much personal freedom. The limited nature of the federal government can be readily observed in the brevity of described duties in the U.S. Constitution and in the strong prohibitions against federal power contained in the Bill of Rights.

    For years, people have labored and voted under the assumption that liberals alone wanted to create a giant federal system, while conservatives believed in less federal authority and increased personal freedom. However, the Bush administration is fast dispelling such a misconceived notion. It is creating a behemoth federal system not even attempted by past Democratic administrations. Examples of this thirst for federal power by the Bush administration are manifold.

    Earlier this month, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the administration's desire to build internment camps for U.S. citizens that the government would declare to be "enemy combatants." According to the plan, U.S. citizens could be held indefinitely without any constitutional protections or rights.

    Jonathan Turley, a professor of constitutional law at George Washington University said, "Whereas Al Qaeda is a threat to the lives of our citizens, Ashcroft has become a clear and present threat to our liberties."

    I would dare say if former Attorney General Janet Reno had proposed such a plan, congressional Republicans would have immediately called emergency hearings and would have demanded her swift resignation. As it is, there is zero concern from Congress or the media, for that matter.

    Another indication of the Bush administration's thirst for power is the way in which it seems willing to stifle lawful dissent. In a manner reminiscent of Bill Clinton's misuse of federal power, the Bush White House has apparently hired a Clinton law firm, Williams & Connolly, to investigate the personal life of Judicial Watch founder, Larry Klayman.

    NewsMax.com broke the Klayman story on August 16. The report further stated, "In another indication that the Bush-Cheney legal operation may be borrowing a page from its White House predecessors, the State Department has hired Clinton impeachment lawyer Greg Craig to defend against a Judicial Watch lawsuit brought by United Nations whistle-blower Linda Shenwick."

    Coupled with Bush's gargantuan Homeland Security Department, the Draconian USA Patriot Act, Ashcroft's proposed "pre-crimes" policy, and dozens of other dictatorial promulgations, these actions make it very clear that Republicans are capable of even trumping Democrats in their thirst for federal power.

    © Chuck Baldwin

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