Funny that you should attribute the tag "Imperial Presidency" solely to
FDR. It was also widely applied to the Nixon presidency with all of its pomp
and regency surrounding various White House events and Nixon's pugnacious
arrogance in the face of Watergate.
Mr. Richards knows this: By law, the executive branch executes. It decides how
to flesh out and best enforce the laws passed by our representatives(it's
called rulemaking). The executive fills in the blanks in a 200-page bill so it
doesn't have to be 200,000. The executive also represents our interests by
refusing to spend resources enforcing archaic laws that have outlived their
usefulness. If we, the shareholders, don't like how our board of directors
or executives advance our goals and vision, we replace them. Understanding all
of this (and the definition of dictator), we didn't replace these
EsquireRe: "have you forgotten that the American people elected
President Obama, not once, but twice"... Have you forgotten that
people in Congress also won their elections (many by a goodly margins)... and
some were elected based on their promise to overturn Obamacare.So
just because the President was elected.. does not mean the whole country wants
everything he wants. That's why we have Congress (to represent each
State's priorities, not just the national party's priorities).If we decide the President can do whatever he wants because he was
elected in a national vote... we may as well have Vladamir Putin sitting in
Washington looking down on the little people and doing whatever he wants,
spending as much as he wants on the Olympics to improve his image
internationally (with no regard to what it costs the little people).We have Congress for a REASON.
Madison is one of the most often "mis-quoted" members of the founding
fathers. This 'opinion' article is a great example of that.People today try so hard to use the words of the founding fathers to validate
their opinions. To truly understand the founding fathers you must apply their
words into the context of their era verses that of today.Remember:
"All men are created equal" did not mean to them what it does to us
George W. Bush issued 161 signing statements affecting over 1,100 provisions of
law in 160 Congressional enactments.From his inauguration through
December 26, 2013, President Obama has issued 25 signing statements affecting 96
specified provisions and making six mentions of unspecified provisions of law in
24 Congressional enactments.
GW Bush used executive orders to delay penalties in the Medicare Part D law.
Same as President Obama has done with the ACA. Also examine Bush's
"signing statements" where he would sign a bill into law, but attach a
statement saying he would construe it to mean what he wanted, not what congress
Roland Kayser,Can you name the many times when President Bush used, as you
put it, "the Unitary Executive" power? I don't remember it
happening a lot, but people keep saying he did it all the time.Were
they important things? Because the important things as I recall
(hostilities in Afghanistan, Iraq, Patriot Act, TARP, etc) were all approved by
Congress. And his other signature legislation "Comprehensive Immigration
Reform" was not approved by Congress, but he didn't just pass it by
Presidential fiat. Even though I'm sure he was frustrated Congress
didn't pass it.I'm sure all Presidents get frustrated with
Congress and inaction on their agenda... Obama is not the first President to
face this problem. And Republicans are not the only party that has declared
they will block anything the President wants (I remember Democrats lead by
Pelosi and Reid, making that same pledge during the Bush administration).
..."free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is
jealousy, and not confidence, which prescribes limited constitutions to bind
down those whom we are obliged to trust with power; that our Constitution has
accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no farther, our confidence may
go"....Thomas Jefferson"Jealousy" is the
opposite, in a way, of envy, thought today we confuse the two words.Envy is lusting after something that is not ours. Jealousy is the zealous
protection of that which is legally and rightfully ours. The rights of the
Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary are to be jealously guarded by each
separate power and upheld by every sworn government officer. When any one of
these powers oversteps its bounds, all sworn officers of the government have a
sacred duty to keep it to its legal limits and to uphold and maintain the
balancing powers in their respective constitutional roles. Every sworn officer
of the government has sworn to uphold this constitutional system against
"all enemies foreign and domestic".
@Roland Kaiser - I keep hearing that Pres. Bush #43 abused the executive order
power as much as our current President. I ask sincerely, can someone point out
one or more examples where Pres. Bush issued an executive order overturning a
recent Congressional decision?When Congress rejected the Dream Act,
Pres. Obama promptly issued an executive order putting some of its provisions
into force. With the ACA. Congress passed a law that was loaded with specifics.
Nevertheless, Pres. Obama felt free to override those specifics anytime he
wanted, frequently for political purposes. The Senate refused to confirm
several of Pres. Obama's appointments, so Pres. Obama invoked the privilege
of putting them into power, even when Congress was still in session.What is Congress good for if the President can override it at will.
How many borrow a page from Mr. Obama's book when they ignore Obama's
actions and blame other Presidents for doing something similar? I wonder how
many of them have ever used that excuse in traffic court, "Your honor, I
felt entitle to speed through a school zone because the driver in front of me
was going 30. He wasn't pulled over, so I shouldn't have been pulled
over either." We all know that the judge would hammer his gavel as he
sentenced us for breaking the law, regardless of what "some other
person" did.Those who will not be governed by law will be
governed by a despot when that despot releaves them of their liberties and puts
the boot of government on their necks. Then, too late, they will realize that
government of the people, by the people and for the people requires them to
speak out against any and all politicians who usurp authority.Mr.
Obama ignores the law. He ignores the Constitution. He pretends to help the
people as he puts burdens on our backs that no one can carry. He flaunts his
@ Mike Richards, have you forgotten that the American people elected President
Obama, not once, but twice, by a goodly margin both times, to do exactly what he
is doing, all under the auspices of the U.S. Constitution? I am beginning to
wonder if you more favor anarchy in the name of the Constitution. We have a
very well established system of government under the Constitution. If any
President goes to far, the matter can be taken to the courts, as has been done
on occasion. There is an established process. The fact that the right wing has
never brought a credible case to the courts suggests to me that their complaints
are nothing but partisan bickering. To suggest that Obama is a dictator (or
wants to be) is way over the top. If you will label Reagan and GWB as
dictators, I'll accept your position as at least consistent. Failure to
extend the same principles across the board, not just to Obama but to those who
served before in the other party, who went far, far beyond what Obama has done,
suggests petty partisanship, not consistent principles.
Hmmm, I wonder if the DN was opining the same stuff when Richard Nixon and his
protégé Dick Cheney were slurping up power for the Executive Branch,
or is it only troubling when a Democrat does it?
I like your Monday, 2-17-2014 editorial "The Madisonian model" about the
abuse of presidential power. But it should be called "The Adams model."
Madison's Virginia Plan in 1787 Constitutional Convention said that the
executive should be elected by the legislature. In establishing the executive
branch, the convention followed the model of the Massachusetts Constitution
(according to Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers). The Massachusetts
Constitution was one of 12 state constitutions at that time, and was the only
one with an executive branch that was elected by the citizens and that had veto
power over legislative bills.; the New York constitution was the only other
state constitution that had its governor elected by the people, but it did NOT
give the governor veto power. John Adams was the main author of the
Massachusetts Constitution. Also, excerpts from John Adams' book on
constitutions were being published in a Philadelphia newspaper during the 1787
convention. The U.S. Constitution was based on "The Adams model."
With our current "do-nothing" congress, somebody has to make important
decisions and do something.
When it comes to governance do we really think Congress, with its lowest
approval rating in recent history is a responsible partner in this endeavor.
The circumstances are obviously ripe for Executive Orders. The Article cites
other presidents that pushed the limits of their authority, but yet a consensus
of historians have rated Lincoln and the FDR as great, suggesting their action
was essential to the country.
There are those who have the false impression that the people directly elect the
President. That is complete nonsense. Article II, Section 1, states: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may
direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and
Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress".We elect "electors" who represent the mind and will of the
people of the State of Utah. Those electors, if true to their obligation, vote
as a block for the candidate favored by a majority of the citizens of Utah. The
STATE is represented to the world by the President of the United States. The
PEOPLE of Utah are represented by their Representatives in Congress. The STATE
is also given equal status to all other States to ratify judges and treaties.
All States have equal representation in the Senate. Until ratified by the
Senate, treaties are meaningless and Federal Judges cannot take office.A little reading of the Constitution would blow away the smoke behind which
Esquire,So, you believe as Obama does, that he has authority to do
whatever he wants to do, just as Napoleon. Obama told the world that he would
rule the United States by executive order. That's a fact. He told the
world that he would override Congress's inaction. That's a fact. Who
gave him that authority? It does not exist in the Constitution. He swore an
oath to uphold the Constitution. Is he doing that when he thumbs his nose at
the limits that YOU and I placed on him? Is HE the government or are we, the
People, the government of the United States who hire temporary workers,
including Mr. Obama to do those duties that WE have assigned to them? I'm afraid that if you believe that Obama has the right and the authority
to do what he told us he would do, then you are the one who lacks credibility.
The Constitution does not support him or you. It's time to align ourselves
with the law that protects us from power hungry politicians who flaunt their
disdain for the will of the people and the Supreme Law of the Land.
The president is the only person in our national government that is elected by
and represents all the people of America. State governments and the people
elected by them do not represent people, thus Congress is made up of people
representing special interest groups.The welfare of the American
people depends on the character and ability of the president to counter the
efforts of the special groups. He/she is the only one having the opportunity to
represent the people.
is this the same editorial board who two months ago so thoroughly chastised and
bemoaned the separate judicial authority and duty invested in Federal District
Judge Shelby? Who criticized him for following the law as he understood it?Who, because they, the editorial board, disagreed with the Judge's
ruling under the Fourteenth Amendment, saw fit to publically misrepresent his
decision as "activism"?
It is too bad our state legislators don't believe in this strict separation
of powers. What are they trying to do now? They are wanting to make judges
attend a seminar on state vs. federal rights with a curriculum written by
Republicans. Once a political party (whether Democrat or Republican) becomes a
force in and of itself, freedom dies. That is what we are seeing on a federal,
state, and local level.
Just some follwo-up comments:Mike, I know you revere the
Constitution (even though your interpretation does not match 200 years of court
decisions), but to say the President "does not accept the Constitution as
binding him to listed duties...sees himself as a Napoleon, Emperor of the
World..., etc., just undermines your credibility. What nonsense.To
"BYU9293", the Executive is charged with carrying out the will of
Congress. Congress does not, and never has, provided every detail in carrying
out the law. Congress expects the Executive to interpret and fill in the gaps.
There is no way any law can be so detailed. Conservatives complain about the
large size of certain bills, then comnplain when the bills are shorter and have
to be interpreted by the Executive. This is what leads me, in part, to conclude
that most arguments are partisan rants and would not apply to a GOP President.
It is interesting that several commentators have suggested that Obama is only
doing what past Republican presidents have done so it is okay. Such a
fallacious excuse, others have done it so it is all right. So, because others
have committed murder, if I murder it should be okay? Ridiculous. Right is
right and what others have done does not change what is right. Also, many of
the past presidents have taken greater authority in wartime, or similar,
circumstances, which is not the case now. By trying to excuse Obama under that
theory it will only lead to more power being taken later by other presidents
under the same theory. I hope and pray that at some point we get a president
who is moral and does what is right regardless of what past presidents did. We
need this same thing to apply to our US Supreme court, who has been legislating
for well over 50 years.
I highly recommend Sanford Levinson's Our Undemocratic Constitution as
tonic to this editorial's well-intentioned but lopsided view of the
separation of powers.It's worth noting that in the decades
since World War Two, few democratic nations have adopted our model of separation
of powers and have instead opted for a parliamentary system in which the head of
government and the head of state are separate offices and in which the head of
government is a largely ceremonial role with few real powers. Separation of powers, lauded in this editorial, is designed to thwart rather
than empower the majority from governing by creating multiple veto points in the
process. The result is that less popular initiatives (i.e. the Affordable Care
Act) pass while more popular initiativs (i.e. a single payer or government
option for health care) do not pass. The outcome is a government often unable
to implement popular policies, one in which a minority is able to thwart the
popular will and hide behind process.
This is how a democracy dies. Not by the people having too much power but
instead the government lulling us into complacency by convincing us that the
government needs more and more power each time there is a crisis. Then instead
of preventing crisis's the government needs to facilitate them in order to
get their agenda moved forward.
There is a way for us to curtail executive power, but we will never use it.
Republicans need to restrain Republican presidents and Democrats need to do the
same. The current GOP is complaining about President Obama's overreach, but
they almost universally supported the Bush administration's assertion of
"the Unitary Executive" theory, which put significantly more power in
the hands of the president.The were a few wise Republicans who
warned Bush not to assume any powers he didn't want a Democratic successor
to have, but Bush thought he knew better. BTW I'm not
suggesting that Democrats are any better at this.
Madison aside, the U.S. Constitution was designed with one primary purpose... to
protect we the people from those who seek more power than any one man or few
should have.When we consider the monarchy being escaped, and the
separation of powers put in place to protect us... upon re-evaluating our
current status, no one would do well to argue that power is as distributed now
as it was in the start./////Is there a need for a
federal government? Yes, for currency, protecting our borders, etc. Also, to
protect us via the inalienable rights all human beings need to live a life of
free conscience.I ask, where does the fed/state balance now rest? As
long as you can call something "a right" it circumvents all judgement of
whether it's really a right or not and is proclaimed and defended as
such./////I hereby DECLARE, I have a right to $1Billion
and to be liked by everyone!Random fact: the U.N. recently declared that
"internet access" is a basic human right.
We've had some great Presidents, some not-so-great Presidents, and some
scoundrels. The one thing that they all had in common is that all of them are
limited in their authority by the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land.
Article I, Section 1 give all legislative authority to Congress. The men and
women in Congress represent the mind and will of the people and of the States
which are part of this federation. Congress represents the mind and
the will of the people within the limits placed upon the Federal Government by
the Constitution. Congress has 17 areas of authority. Anything outside those
seventeen areas is to be left to the States or to the People.The
President represents the mind and will of Congress. His duty, according to
Article II, Section 2, allows almost no "latitude to do as he pleases. He
executes the laws passed by Congress.Obama does not accept the
Constitution as binding him to listed duties. He sees himself as a Napoleon,
Emperor of the World, able to write law without regard to law or of the people
who granted him limited authority to represent the mind and will of Congress.
This is an area where I have first hand experience in the actual application of
separation of powers. The ironic thing is that Republicans (Washington
insiders) in the past 40 years or 50 years have followed the course of a strong
executive. During the Clinton years, I encouraged GOP Members of Congress,
including Senator Bennett, to resist a Presidential action and exercise more
Legislative authority on an issue and they declined. The matter went to
litigation and a Republican controlled Court of Appeals sided with the
Executive. The fact that Republicans are acting "concerned" about
President Obama using executive orders is ironic at best, but probably worse in
terms of hypocrisy. It is a concern of political convenience. Nothing more.
All executive orders are based on existing legal authority granted by Congress.
It is not new law by the President. The buzz of the right wing on this issue is
either based on lack of information or political mischief. I suspect the latter
for those leading the opposition. This editorial is naive partisanship.
It ought to be much more troubling that the republican House set a goal of
discrediting the President, and has failed to pass much legislation, while
stirring up devisiveness.Ought not the DN, as a representative of
the church of Jesus Christ, promote honesty, fairness, truth, and the spirit of
getting along with our fellow men?