Remember, to put it politely, the "extra-legal" wiretapping and torture and secret prisons that Dick Cheney and his buddies put into place over the course of eight years? Well the guy who came up with all that stuff for Cheney, legal adviser and chief of staff David Addington, has apparently not left Washington! In fact, he's behind much of the Tea Party resistance to any and all debt ceiling compromises these days.
National Journal has published a much-needed expose on Addington's somewhat strange career shift from White House torture-underwriter to "enforcer of tea party dogma" on domestic policy for the Heritage Foundation. His "verbal thunderbolts" in response to John Boehner's most recent deficit reduction plan, NJ writes, helped build initial Tea Party opposition to it.
In a column posted on Monday on Heritage's website, Addington argued that conservatives should mobilize to block Boehner's current proposal for a short-term debt-ceiling increase centered around a package of spending cuts and the creation of a joint select congressional committee charged with finding other ways of bringing down the yawning deficit.
"Debt-limit legislation should drive down federal spending on the way to a balanced budget, while preserving the ability to protect America, and without raising taxes," Addington wrote. "The plan suggested by [Boehner] fails to meet that objective-indeed, it sets America up for tax hikes."
We were surprised to read about Addington's involvement in this issue for the first time a few weeks back, when he railed against, and helped to kill, Sen. Mitch McConnell's "escape hatch" debt ceiling plan — the one that basically gives authority to the President to raise the debt ceiling, thereby allowing Tea Partiers in the House to shake their fists at him. Because when in hell has David Addington ever refused any bill that gave more authority to the president? Here's how the New Yorker's Jane Meyer aptly described Addington's role in the Bush Administration in an feature several years ago:
Most Americans, even those who follow politics closely, have probably never heard of Addington. But current and former Administration officials say that he has played a central role in shaping the Administration's legal strategy for the war on terror. Known as the New Paradigm, this strategy rests on a reading of the Constitution that few legal scholars share-namely, that the President, as Commander-in-Chief, has the authority to disregard virtually all previously known legal boundaries, if national security demands it. Under this framework, statutes prohibiting torture, secret detention, and warrantless surveillance have been set aside. A former high-ranking Administration lawyer who worked extensively on national-security issues said that the Administration's legal positions were, to a remarkable degree, "all Addington."
If David Addington were still advising a presidential administration, his advice now would be: There are national security implications to not raising debt ceiling, so fuck Congress, keep issuing debt as usual, and don't even bother explaining yourself. But now he's just another annoying private sector hack who won't leave us alone, the end.
[Image via AP]