Via Reason. If you missed this in Headlines this weekend, or even if you glanced at it in Headlines but didn’t watch the clip, stop what you’re doing and watch now. My assumption always with DWS is that she knows the truth but is happy to lie to any extent her party needs, which is why you and I know her as America’s most lifelike talking-points robot. Not this time, though. Her ignorance is palpably genuine; she reacts the way you’d expect her to react if this guy had asked her where the government got the thermite used to blow up the World Trade Center. Two things here. One: Needless to say, this is no boutique counterterrorism issue. She’s not being asked whether she knows how many people work for JSOC, for instance. She’s being asked about the president maintaining a list of people to be targeted for death by U.S. intelligence, one of whom was a U.S. citizen. A member of Congress, not to mention chairman of the DNC, should probably have an opinion on that, no?
Two: Glenn Greenwald’s right that the “kill list” has gotten lots of media attention, thanks largely to Obama aides who were eager for the public to know that the Foreign Policy President was personally overseeing the ass-kicking of terrorists hither and yon. Remember the big NYT story in May sourced to no fewer than “three dozen of his current and former advisers”? We wrote about it at the time. Remember the big Obama White House press conference 10 days later in which he feigned indignation that his staff would ever leak national-security info because it helps him politically, even though they did that for days on end after the Bin Laden raid? We wrote about that too. Point being, we’re not down in the weeds of terror-fighting policy when we talk about the “kill list.” This is one of Obama’s most dramatic executive power grabs, which, if Bob Schieffer’s doing his job at all, will be on the menu of questions for tonight’s debate. (As will this.) Anyone who follows terrorism news even casually should have stumbled across this subject after Awlaki was liquidated in Yemen. What on earth has Debbie been doing with her time that she somehow missed a heads-up about the president declaring his authority to assassinate people unilaterally?
As part of your pre-debate reading, enjoy Newsweek suddenly grappling with the prospect of President Romney wielding some of the many novel executive powers that The One has experimented with over the past four years. Exit quotation: “In February 2011, Obama announced that his administration would stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court, sparking controversy about whether he was shirking his duty to faithfully execute the laws passed by Congress. The following spring, the president effectively implemented greenhouse-gas regulations stalled in the Senate by allowing the EPA to interpret existing law more broadly. In September, Obama issued waivers that released states from the onerous requirements of No Child Left Behind but bound them to the administration’s own education policies, which Congress had not passed. A similar set of welfare waivers soon followed. And in early 2012 the president bypassed the usual confirmation process to make four recess appointments even though the Senate had been holding pro forma sessions to block them. ‘This isn’t just pushing the envelope,’ says Charles Tiefer, a former lawyer for the House of Representatives who now teaches constitutional law at the University of Baltimore, ‘but in effect breaking out of the envelope.'”