There has been some concern – probably not enough – over Bush’s recent signing of Directive 51. Directive 51 effectively moves responsibility for the management of a “catastrophic emergency” from FEMA and other scattered Federal depts into a single locus – the White House.
Pam Spaulding at pendagon titled her post on this, “Bush: dictator with a stroke of a pen” and called the Directive a “power grab”. In a typical response like several I got in my email over the weekend, one writer put it this way:
“On May 9th, 2007, Bush declared himself dictator, with Directive #51. With any catastrophic event as determined by President Bush, he is able to take over all 3 branches of government until he determines the catastrophe is over. Maybe somebody jaywalking could activate the catastrophe.
Well, it’s not going to be that easy but one takes his point. Loosely constructed and loosely construed, Directive 51 could give Bush dictatorial power if interpreted incorrectly, there’s not much doubt about that. What is in doubt is whether it really gives him the power it seems to.