Could Be!

Rich Lowry reports on a Giuliani campaign appearance:

Then he began to muse about, after a veto, “would the president have the constitutional authority to support them [the troops], anyway?” He said he’s a lawyer so he wouldn’t offer an opinion “off the top of his head,” then he proceeded to do just that. He seemed to suggest that Bush could fund the Iraq war without Congress providing funding, but it was confusing. In an interview with a New Hampshire TV reporter after his remarks, he seemed more categorical and said, since the war had been authorized by Congress, the president has “the inherent authority to support the troops.”

Lowry kindly notes that this incident “could be seized on by his critics to argue that he has a dangerously out-sized view of presidential powers.” Frankly, people with an outsized view of presidential powers shouldn’t be tarred by association with Giuliani, a power-hungry egomaniac who just happens to be running for president at the moment. When he was Mayor, he thought he had the power to abrogate the City Charter and illegally extend his term in office. If he winds up as Borough President of Brooklyn he’ll take an outsized view of the powers of that office. The difference is that there are pretty strong institutional checks on the power of local government officials — even mayors of giant cities — in the United States so it didn’t matter all that much that Giuliani was a power-hungry egomaniac.