Monday, February 17, 2014

Our Executive branch a clear and present danger.

Those of you who are political junkies like me may appreciate this short analysis of America's dangerous devotion to Executive power. I think that we can all agree that our political system has been corrupted by an out-of-control unchecked Executive that has moved so very far from the limited powers and modest goals that our Framers gave us in 1787.

Like Israel of old we have cried for a King and our oligarchy was more than willing to give us one. Do you remember the story in 1 Samuel 8 where the people come to an aged and worn out Samuel and asked for a King?...They told Samuel they wanted to be like the other nations.

God then spoke to the people through Samuel that a king is going to be expensive - both financially and in terms of lost freedom, yet, in spite of all these warnings straight from God, the people still wanted a king.

For some reason, it seems that the Israelites were oblivious to the price of having a king. God warned them that a king would be costly both in goods and in freedom. Government is a very expensive item: you must pay for the bureaucrats who are always very wasteful, and you must give up the freedom to make your own choices, which is also very wasteful of human initiative and talent.

God also pointed out that there is a point of no return on having a king. There will come a time, God says in vs. 18, when you will "cry out for relief from the king." But it will be too late.

I see a parallel in Israel's history and ours. Our Framers placed great emphasis on the limitations of governmental power. They gave us three branches of government so the one branch could check the power of the other branch. When this equilibrium is off balance a monster will untamed monster that will usurp power and consolidate control over the masses.

Over the decades our Congress has abdicated its power to the Executive branch. We see this in granting the Executive branch the almost unlimited power of decree, called Executive action. The On Line Debate Network gives a nice review of Executive action as follows:

Executive Orders

Within the Constitution, no implicit language allows the president to issue executive orders which have the same force as law, yet which are not approved by any of the other two branches, and which are intended to be implemented by the bureaucratic agencies of the executive branch. All legislative powers are granted to Congress and Congress alone, as stated in Article I, Clause 1: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States...." Presidents have claimed that executive orders are an inherent right, and are loosely associated with the president's duties and his task of ensuring that laws are faithfully executed. Historical examples of Executive Orders include Executive Order 9066 by FDR which paved the way for Japanese Internment during WWII. More recently, the Kosovo War in 1999 was initiated through an Executive Order. Even more recently, President Bush issued what is known as Executive Directive 51 which stated that during an event of a "catastrophic emergency" (which would be declared by the president), an "Enduring Constitutional Government" consisting of the executive, legislative and judicial branch will overtake the country's regular government, and will be directed by the Executive Branch (in spite of the Constitution's clear language of the separation of powers in which no branch rules over the others).

So, are these actions a legitimate form of authority by presidents, or are they extraconstitutional measures?

The American people have been duped which has given rise to this usurpation of power. The romanticiztion of the presidency is certainly the fault of the American people. The American people have been duped into believing the the President can solve all national problems from poverty, to homelessness, to low test scores, to getting rid of teenage acne.

Pay careful attention to the rhetoric and promises in the up-coming Presidential run in 2016. You would think that a messiah was speaking, a savior, some sort of grand wizard, who with the wave of his wand could cure all of societal ills. They present themselves to the American people as gods...remember the "audacity of hope message from our now presidential savior?

In 1956 prominent political scientist Clinton Rossiter published the American Presidency; in which Rossiter noted approvingly that the public had come to view the president as " a combination of scoutmaster, Delphic oracle, hero of the silver screen, and the father of the multitudes.

Rossiter in his book gives us a vision of the president that is Gene Healey describes in his book, The Cult of the Presidency he gives Rossiter's take on the presidency, "He's our guardian angel, our shield against harm. He's America's shrink and social worker and out national talk-show host, Hes a guide for the perplexed, a friend to the downtrodden---and he's also the supreme warlord of the Earth."

It is this view of the Executive branch that has created a clear and present danger to our Republic. It is really not unlike the Emperors in ancient Rome. When the Emperor in Rome spoke his decree was the law of the land, the wave of his hand was right and not to be questioned. Those who spoke out against the Emperor found themselves in a not so nice Colosseum.

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