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October 11, 2004

An obscure philosophy

Dana Milbank writes about Dick Cheney's counsel, a man named David Addington. I love it when lefties write about conservatives and act like academic anthropologists who dimly understand the peculiar beliefs and rituals of the right.

Milbank writes that Addington believes in "an obscure philosophy" that is in fact obscure only if you are both liberal and under-informed.

Even in a White House known for its dedication to conservative philosophy, Addington is known as an ideologue, an adherent of an obscure philosophy called the unitary executive theory that favors an extraordinarily powerful president.
How obscure can this philosophy be when even I know about it? I mean, just read Federalist No. 70. For example:

Taking it for granted, therefore, that all men of sense will agree in the necessity of an energetic Executive, it will only remain to inquire, what are the ingredients which constitute this energy? How far can they be combined with those other ingredients which constitute safety in the republican sense? And how far does this combination characterize the plan which has been reported by the convention?

The ingredients which constitute energy in the Executive are, first, unity; secondly, duration; thirdly, an adequate provision for its support; fourthly, competent powers.

So for about 220 years, this "philosophy" has been well known. Welcome to obscurity, Dana Milbank.