Saturday, January 21


Democrats hold unofficial hearing.

Several lawmakers and witnesses compared the administration to a British monarchy, casting Mr. Bush as George III. Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, even compared the president's powers to those the Nazis used early to cement their power.

Mr. Nadler said that as he read the broad presidential power claimed by Mr. Bush, "if he were in Germany in 1933, he would not have required the Enabling Act to pass the Reichstag to claim the power," a reference to the law that gave Hitler broad power to run the country.

When asked about the remark, Mr. Nadler's spokesman, Reid Cherlin, said: "He's not comparing Bush to Hitler. He's saying that Nazi Germany is our most extreme example of the rapid expansion of executive power and even there, there was legislative approval of an emergency package."

In a later statement, Mr. Cherlin said Mr. Nadler had "picked an example that he shouldn't have" in illustrating his point.

What's wrong with the comparison? Cherlin's first explanation was perfect, to my mind. It's absolutely legitimate to warn the nation of the possible consequences of this action by evoking historical examples.

While several witnesses brought reputations as liberal critics of the administration, one witness, Bruce Fein, had been a senior Justice Department official under President Ronald Reagan and was critical of the program's legal underpinnings.

Mr. Fein suggested that he would have resigned rather than acquiesce in such a program.

Where are our Richardsons and Ruckelshauses today?

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