Don't fool yourself. We will do it again. And we will claim it's legal, and we will suffer as a result, but we will not hold the culprits culpable. Republicans are now telling us that torture has only stopped because of a Democratic executive order, not because of any law, and it will be done again.
Torture -- and more importantly, the insane "unitary executive" theory that underpinned it and a thousand other abuses -- remains a viable and so-far undisputed weapon in the Republican toolkit. It will return, as surely as the Republican theory of total executive supremacy survived Watergate and Iran-Contra.
Consider the odds. Beginning with the 1968 election of Richard Nixon, Republicans occupied the White House for 28 of 40 years, reelecting three Presidents to second terms, each of whom -- Nixon, Regan [sic] and George W. Bush -- presided over scandalous escalations in the executive supremacy theory. Democrats have reelected just one during this time. And he was impeached.
We get the government we deserve. You and I, my fellow citizens, are to blame if we don't investigate and prosecute:
As tiresome as it can sometimes be to see people frame matters so that it all comes down to one issue and one issue only, I find myself returning to this one again and again. Whether or not torture is your issue. Or wiretapping. Or indefinite detention. Or signing statements. Or anything, really -- environment, global warming, abortion, health care, taxes, terrorism, the war. No matter what your issue is, at heart, you're dependent on a continuing and consistent respect for the law. Because without it, none of your work on politics and policy is worth anything the moment the White House falls to someone who's not you.