The alarming state of the American presidency - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

The alarming state of the American presidency

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Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013 12:00 am

Editor's note: David Adler will speak on this topic tonight at 7 at the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. Admission is free.

Any assessment of the state of the American presidency - its powers, limitations and responsibilities - has the duty to acknowledge that it remains the symbol of the nation's hopes and aspirations, and the inevitable target of criticism and blame when things go wrong. The Presidency, it may be said, is All Broadway, all the time.

Yet the singular focus on the chief executive - to the exclusion of Congress - as a source of solutions to everything that ails the nation, has generated a cult of the Presidency, clothing the Office of the President with a popular mystique that has led ineluctably to the Imperial Presidency. When the citizenry looks to the President as the nation's problem solver, you can bet that the President will assume powers - constitutional or not - sufficient to meet Americans' expectations.

No modern president has refused the opportunity to aggrandize power that will facilitate achievement of goals, in either domestic or foreign relations. Politics, at the local or national level, is about power, and presidents are not immune to the temptations to abuse power for the sake of their political agendas.

The concentration of power in the executive, particularly when it comes to matters of war and national security, represents a distortion of the constitutional design and poses a grave threat to republican values. When the Framers of the Constitution invented the Presidency, they were scrupulous in sharply limiting the powers of that office. Their reading of history and their own experience under King George III had instilled in them a deep-seated concern about executive power. They studiously avoided the creation of an embryonic monarchy and the stench of the prerogative power that had been wielded against their liberties.

When it came to the most awesome governmental power, the authority to send troops into battle and to take the nation to war on behalf of the American people, the Framers granted the war power, not the president, but to Congress. To a man, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention were opposed to unilateral executive war-making. As explained by James Wilson of Pennsylvania, second in importance only to James Madison as an architect of the Constitution, "the system was designed to prevent one man from hurrying us into war."

Yet, over the past half-century, presidents of both parties, Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, have defied the Constitution and plunged America into wars and military hostilities without congressional authorization. For the Framers, who were committed to executive subordination to the rule of law and fashioned impeachment as a means of remedying executive abuse of power, presidential usurpation of the war power represented the most dangerous threat to constitutional principles and republican values.

In the modern era, we have witnessed repeated violations of the Constitution by the executive. The restoration of a constitutional presidency is a matter of great moment. There is an urgent need for the citizenry to equip itself with the information and knowledge necessary to remedy this state of affairs. Are citizens listening and ready to act?

David Adler is the Cecil D. Andrus Professor of Public Affairs at Boise State University, where he serves as Director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy. He has lectured nationally and internationally on the Constitution, the Presidency and the Bill of Rights.

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  • boohoo2U posted at 3:51 pm on Mon, Apr 15, 2013.

    boohoo2U Posts: 406

    George Soros is one of your Greedy Capitalists, He did not support the Tea Party.
    George is a self-loathing Jew who believes his team will dominate planet earth without Jehovah's help.
    He is definitely related to obama.

  • MAR-BEE posted at 6:27 am on Mon, Apr 15, 2013.

    MAR-BEE Posts: 879

    "Liberal Communist." How about "Greedy Capitalist" who really run this nation of ours? These "Few" really don't care if you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent as long as they control your strings. They pretty much back the "Tea Party" who are definitely not Eisenhower Republicans and are making a strong move in six states with large electoral votes to bust up their votes so they can be cast them in areas that will ignore the popular vote. We--(Voters)--can off set this if we stop voting for these front running "Puppets." One can start in their favorite primary. Use your vote wisely and stop voting for Corporate and Special Interest Group "Puppets."

  • boohoo2U posted at 8:21 pm on Sun, Apr 14, 2013.

    boohoo2U Posts: 406

    more like judgment fell again on Sodom & Gomorra on 9/11 and it continues until America grinds to a halt.

  • BoxcarBill posted at 8:44 pm on Fri, Apr 12, 2013.

    BoxcarBill Posts: 1074

    ... and exactly who might the Council on Foreign Relations include if not my above mentioned?

  • The Golden Mean posted at 12:20 pm on Fri, Apr 12, 2013.

    The Golden Mean Posts: 4213

    Not as shocking as when the Conservative Economic Kamikazes cut taxes for the rich while we are at war.

    Or not as shocking as starting wars knowing that we would have to use the Bank of China credit card to pay for them.

  • JoeIdaho posted at 7:12 am on Fri, Apr 12, 2013.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    Watching liberal communists trying to tell us the economy is "recovering" and that spending far more than you have is "OK" is shocking.

  • JoeIdaho posted at 10:34 pm on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    Right, the "president" has parties with Jay-Z & pays for them with MY dollars, and thinks taking guns away from law abiding citizens will stop crime.
    That's because he's a nitwit.

  • boohoo2U posted at 8:33 pm on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    boohoo2U Posts: 406

    it is too late to halt progress or change course. Multitudes race towards an unexpected meeting.

  • The Simple Truth posted at 7:30 pm on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    The Simple Truth Posts: 563

    ah, watching the tin foil hat squad rush to action is gratifying

  • max power posted at 7:24 pm on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    max power Posts: 559

    *** Liar In Chief Announces April Is Budget Month ***

    "I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities to improve their understanding of financial principles and practices." - Barack Obama

    This from someone whose Democrap Party has been late 4 out of 5 years in providing an annual operating budget, has run up an annual trillion dollar deficit since 2008 and has seen the national debt climb from 10.9 trillion when he took office to 16.7 trillion. Yeah, Barack you definitely understand financial principles and practices...

    "Democrats by and large don't believe in personal responsibility, self reliance or accountability to themselves or others. They have become the Party of get me, give me, and provide me. A liberal life is a life of excuses. Their failures are always someone else's fault. A weak spirit and a weak mind is the pinnacle of their accomplishment(s) - Jack Hammer

  • The Golden Mean posted at 4:32 pm on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    The Golden Mean Posts: 4213

    Re: "Are citizens listening and ready to act?"

    Maybe it would be best if the "citizens" practiced being responsible for their own actions first? After that we can talk about action against what is wrong with government.

    Also, you have asked a lot you know... Not sure if many Americans would do what it takes to "equip itself with the information and knowledge necessary to remedy this state of affairs" - Most folks around these parts think that watching Faux News qualifies as putting knowledge inside its head.

  • The Golden Mean posted at 4:22 pm on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    The Golden Mean Posts: 4213

    The President doesn't have people who live in bomb shelters or who think that more guns will solve gun related problems.

  • JoeIdaho posted at 3:12 pm on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    OK, DTS, let's see:
    Boobama has-
    The Senate
    ALL of the Press
    ALMOST all of the Television Media
    And anyone who is on any form of government welfare/assistance

    NONE of the Presidents before him EVER had that support, and the result was that they wer elimited in what they attempted to do.
    All of this garbage about how the Congress isn't "governing" is just more left wing communist hack job; the SENATE & Presidency is 2/3 of government, and yet you buffoons blame the 1/3?

    I am NOT a fan of the republicans, however, to blame the republcians when you MORONS voted for more of what you had for the last 4 years, it's beyond belief.
    "We voted for more of this, and we got it, isn't it horrible what the republicans aren't doing in congress"?
    How STUPID.

  • dtsinidaho posted at 1:50 pm on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    dtsinidaho Posts: 215

    How is this different that it always HAS been. Teddy R rode roughshod, and made lots of executive decisions that congress sputtered and humpfed at. The only difference between the past presidents and the modern presidents is that now you have instant access for the disenfranchised screaming and making up stuff and posting them on blogs pages like.... well this one.

    When a president has to start using the exec orders, that usually means that the ruling elite in congress or the Senate are not doing their jobs. Look at the BOEHN heads now. Absolute worthless garbage. They have NO CLUE on how to govern, they just sit and want to put a religion back into the schools, take away a womans productive rights, destroy every UNION in existance and want to give their rich contributors special favors while screwing the people that elected them (See: Raúl Labrador, who has done absolutely NOTHING for Idaho, yet he is supported by the Mormons and Morons of Idaho and he is gaining treats all along.)

    The only thing different is the wacko's now have a pulpit to stand on. They are still nuts, but they can post on unfiltered sites like all they want with absolute immunity.

  • boohoo2U posted at 10:20 am on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    boohoo2U Posts: 406

    misplaced photo and video BCB,
    Focus attention of the real perpetrators of hate.
    Hint: The CFR has plans to cull 6.5 BILLION people.

  • heatherfeather posted at 10:18 am on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    heatherfeather Posts: 297

    A cult of the the presidency. Couldn't have said it better. I was so happy to see 15 million people abandoned the cult in the last election. Cutting off this special-interest group masquerading as government needs to increase exponentially.

  • BoxcarBill posted at 9:31 am on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    BoxcarBill Posts: 1074

    America is now completely dominated by very shrewd parasites who control our government by bribe, blackmail, the lie, and an unbelievably effective mind washing of the general population not limited to the installment of their self policing, political correctness via the MSM.
    Our presidents have been mere puppets of this cabal for generations and they are becoming more and more blatant in their control.

    These supremacist manipulators are insatiable by their nature and will not stop until they have achieved complete control over the lives of all of us. Research the history of the Bolsheviks, Leon Trotsky, and millions exterminated in Russia.
    These people see everyone (including you) who are not part of their tribe the same.

    They have manipulated our way of thinking so well I don't think we'll wake up in time.

  • wheels1 posted at 8:29 am on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    wheels1 Posts: 448

    Whack job?..Vox if you had 1/10 the cerebral acumen David Adler has Your BS might warrant listening to.Why don't you take a more positive approach for a change and try to help accomplish something instead of being a continual divider.You don't have much traction and contribute very little.

  • babydriver posted at 8:06 am on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    babydriver Posts: 1393

    Politicians stopped working for the people when the federal reserve was set up. They have been working for them ever since.

  • voxpop posted at 5:46 am on Thu, Apr 11, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Can't recall ... is Alder that whack job from the right, or the left. In any event, there's an old saying about nature abhorring a vacuum. If Congress can't manage to govern because of its ideological intransigence then don't be surprised if POTUS attempts to fill the void. Maybe if Congress could pull its head out long enough to think more about the country and less about their next donation from business special interests the USA could return to something worth mentioning.

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