Per Jacob Sullum’s post at Hit & Run on the John Yoo/John Bolton piece in the New York Times, I think we have a new addition to our HackWatch feature. Yoo, who under President Bush has argued that the president has the power to unilaterally withdraw from treaties, now wants the Senate to reassert its treaty power, because he fears the sorts of entanglements into which President-Elect Obama might get us enmeshed.
Yoo gets an 9 out of 10 on the somewhat-arbitrary Hackery Index. The only ameliorating factor, here, is that Yoo’s hackery seems more issue-oriented than strictly party-oriented. That is, he isn’t explicitly arguing that Republican presidents should have more power than Democratic presidents. Rather, he believes the president should have plenary power to negate treaties pertaining issues broadly related national security, but wants the Senate to reassert itself on treaties related to domestic policy. Of course, the issues where Yoo wants plenary executive power happen to be issues where he agrees with Republicans, and the issues where he wants more Senate control are those issues where he doesn’t trust Obama. But Yoo does at least have a constitutional argument for making the distinction. It just happens to be a crappy one.
If you see an example of a pundit, politician, major blogger, or other Beltway creature who’s done a 180 on this or another issue, please send it to us, with links, and “HackWatch” in the subject line.