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Friday, October 01, 2004

Checks and balances?

From the debate transcript:
Mr. Lehrer All right. Mr. President, this is the last question and two minutes. It's a new subject, new question and it has to do with President Putin and Russia. Did you misjudge him or are you - do you feel that what he is doing in the name of anti-terrorism by changing some democratic processes is O.K.?

Mr. Bush No, I don't think it's O.K. and said so publicly. I think that there needs to be checks and balances in a democracy. And made that very clear, that by consolidating power in a central government, he's sending a signal to the Western world and United States that perhaps he doesn't believe in checks and balances. And I've told him that.
Even more than most of what he says, this part baffled me. Through the Patriot Act, through his buddy Tom DeLay's dictatorial power over the House and relentless jerrymandering of districts and willingness to crush any Republicans who won't toe the strict party line, through Ashcroft's insistance on federal law trumping state law on medical marijuana and euthenasia, through conning Congress into abdicating its authority to declare war and giving it to Bush, through fast-track trade negotiation powers, through "No Child Left Behind," and on and on and on, Bush has engaged in all-out war on the checks and balances in our system. So what in the world is he talking about?

Then I got it. CAMPAIGN checks and BANK ACCOUNT balances! That makes sense. No need to worry, though, Mr. President. I'm sure Vladdy understands that those checks and balances are key elements of American-style "democracy."