Reason magazine, on the growth in Presidential power during Mr. Obama's two terms. Remember when the media was telling us what a crime it was, the way the most recent President Bush had expanded the powers of his office? Well, surprise, the reporting might've slackened but the trend never did.
Thus, this article.
I dislike the extent to which both sides bend discussion about the Presidency toward discussion of the man holding the office. On the big things ("Am I gonna be able to afford lunch, or will my money be worthless by noon?" "Will WW III break out this year?" "Can I call our Congressman a ninny?" "Is my place of worship going to be shut down?" "Hey, is that a drone, and is it shooting at me?"), it really shouldn't ever be about the man; the President's power is supposed to be strictly limited.
Supposed to be -- ask the Cherokees how well that worked out under Andrew Jackson, look at Woodrow Wilson's re-segregation of a merit-based Federal civil service, and those are just the easy examples. But even at that, even while the worrying edge cases were canaries in our national coal mine, Joe and Jane Average were safe from Presidential whim. I'm doubting that's true any more.
And it's not the man, it's the office; each president picks up what his predecessor has left in the way of power and authority and, being human, looks to find new ways to wield it, clever ways to expand it, to do the things he truly thinks will be Right and Good, or at least Expedient. If you don't want a chimp with a hammer roaming the halls, they only way to prevent it is to keep hammers and chimps strictly separated, with a system of checks and balances to ensure they remain so, and we didn't. Our Federal government didn't. War Powers Act, Patriot Act -- remember them? These are the kind of bricks that build a king.
4 months ago