PRESIDENT Bush's quest to extend control over National Guard troops for disaster relief should be short-stopped in Congress. That's not just our opinion: Governors of all 50 states and Puerto Rico feel the same way, according to their letter to congressional leaders.
With good reason, the governors are up in bipartisan arms over a provision in a military authorization bill before Congress that would give the President the authority - without state consent - to federalize guard troops in the case of a disaster.
"This provision was drafted without consultation or input from governors," the letter says, "and represents an unprecedented shift in authority from governors … to the federal government."
After 3 1/2 years of overextending the National Guard to prop up the stumbling military effort in Iraq, Mr. Bush, himself a former governor, should have a greater appreciation for what these 440,000 citizen soldiers can reasonably be expected to accomplish.
Instead, the President seeks more autocratic control, in sharp contrast to the guard's historic origin as state militias, ready to respond to local emergencies under the governors' control. Little wonder that some state chief executives resisted Mr. Bush's order last spring to supply troops to assist federal agents with immigration security at the Mexican border.