The Fourth Estate and the Unitary Executive Theory

One of the battlegrounds in our government over the past eight years has been around executive power. It has shown up in skirmishes where people have attempted to obtain information about how Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy policy was crafted. It has shown up in repeated battles over what the congress can compel members of the Bush administration to testify about.

So, it should come as no surprise that the campaign appears to be stretching the Unitary Executive Theory to new limits. Let’s apply them to Republican candidates for Vice President with regards to the media. Yes, the far right are all up in arms that the press wants to know how Sarah Palin is and what she believes. Roger Simon, in his blog post at Politico, Why the media should apologize sums it up nicely:

We have asked questions this week that we should never have asked.

We have asked pathetic questions like: Who is Sarah Palin? What is her record? Where does she stand on the issues? And is she is qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?

We have asked mean questions like: How well did John McCain know her before he selected her? How well did his campaign vet her? And was she his first choice?

Bad questions. Bad media. Bad.

Needless to say, McCain supporters and staff look at it in a different way. According to a blog post on Think Progress, McCain campaign strategists Rick Davis said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe,

We can afford anything we want to do. … We’re going to do what we think is in our best interest. If that means access to the press, we’ll give it to you

Yes, that is how campaigns are run. They always make their media choices. It is not only what is said on the media, but isn’t said that is important. By not addressing the press, Gov. Palin and the McCain campaign seems to be saying that they want to further the Bush Administration’s stonewalling and refusal to be accountable to the American people. They want to make sure that Cheney’s refusal to reveal how his energy policy was created is carried on for four more years. In essence, they are saying that they do not want to be a government, “Of, by and for the people.”

True, the media isn’t all that it could be, but it is better than nothing. So, yes, the McCain campaign can do whatever they want to do. Voters should do the same, and refuse to vote for a ticket that will not speak about positions, policies, or qualifications with the American media.

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