Behold, the awesome logic of George Will. First, Will notes that the "unitary executive" theory has been "intensified by the current president in the context of 'the long war' against terrorists." Will then writes:
[D]isoriented by their reverence for Reagan and sedated by Republican victories in seven of the past 10 presidential elections, many conservatives have not just become comfortable with the idea of a strong president, they have embraced the theory of the "unitary executive." This theory, refined during the Reagan administration, is that where the Constitution vests power in the executive, especially power over foreign affairs and war, the president, as chief executive, is rightfully immune to legislative abridgements of his autonomy. Judicial abridgements are another matter. When in 1952 Truman, to forestall a strike, cited his "inherent" presidential powers during wartime to seize the steel mills, the Supreme Court rebuked him. In a letter here that he evidently never sent to Justice William Douglas, Truman said, "I don't see how a Court made up of so-called 'liberals' could do what that Court did to me." Attention, conservatives: Truman correctly identified a grandiose presidency with the theory and practice of liberalism. (emphasis added)OK, so here's the tally: A liberal president (if you can define Truman as "liberal") asserted the unitary executive theory, and a liberal Supreme Court immediately rejected said theory. A conservative president (Reagan) then asserted the unitary executive theory for eight years. Finally, George W. Bush "intensified" the unitary executive theory. Will's conclusion: The unitary executive is a liberal theory. Makes sense. If there was a Special Olympics for Columnists, Will would be standing on a podium right now.