Sunday, January 18, 2009

Problem or Solution (Bryant Harden)

Michael Genovese, author of Memo to a New President, spoke to us on the 15th about if the President is the solution or the problem.

How many monuments and action figures are there of Presidents?

How many monuments and action figures are there of members of Congress?

How many monuments and action figures are there of Justices?

I don't know the exact numbers to the above questions but I've visited the Presidential monuments and I have a Ronald Reagan action figure that speaks his words. Genovese asked these questions to prove that the Presidency has turned into the biggest celebrity.

The United Stated of America's founders wanted to get away from the divine right of kings and take a step towards the divine right of people. But as Genovese put it, "The American Presidency which was limited at first has become an elected king."

This would be opposed by the founders because as Genovese said most of the declaration was bashing of the king and the framers were anti-executive. The main concern was protecting peoples liberty but this limited view of the President has been growing larger and larger over the years.

Alexander Hamilton presented a defense for a powerful executive in Federalist when he wrote for the need of “energy in the executive” that it is “essential to the protection…against foreign attacks.”*

Genovese is obviously right in that executive power has increased over the years and when it has there has been a crisis. He brought up President Bush and his stepping over the boundaries of the President.

The Q&A session came and I jumped up, surprisingly first in line, and asked, "If, as your claim, President Bush overstepped his presidential powers, why didn't the congress and the courts pull back on his extra constitutional powers."

His answer was that the Courts did their job whereas Congress failed because they didn't stand up for their institution. He blames Congress 1st and the people 2nd. The last President to ask Congress for a declaration of war was FDR and we have had 4-6 conflicts since then in which Presidents haven't asked for that declaration.

Congress should stand up and challenge every President. They shouldn't enable or disable but challenge because ultimately the President should serve the Constitution. That's what he takes an oath to do.

I did not vote for President-elect Obama, but I commend him on his balanced approach after winning the election. This goes along with his 50 state strategy which shows he not only wanted to win but he wants to govern!
The President should protect our country and although some people say Presidents are the problem, I believe that most Presidents act with the information they are given and in the best interests of the people (but they should follow the Constitution)
And let's not forget my potato from the first day...

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