Monday, October 29, 2007

Executive Power, Part II: The 2008 Presidential Election Edition

We are very concerned about the 2008 Presidential election, especially because of what the last Administration has done to pervert the balance of power between the branches (see our post on Cheney's Law below). M.O.W. knows that there are serious problems facing the nation; indeed, how could she forget with CNN reminding us that the "planet is in peril" at every opportunity. Yes, we must choose our next president based upon how well we believe that she or he can solve problems, for America--and the world--faces more problems today than perhaps it ever has before in its history. Let's face it, loyal founder-stalkers, we are beset on all sides with impending disaster: the economy, health care, Social Security, education, the environment, race relations, the un-ending War on Terror, and more each demand real solutions in the next eight years. We have real problems that need solved, and how.

The temptation, therefore, is to promote someone to the office of the presidency who is a known problem-solver. Yet, M.O.W. believes that we must be very careful about who we chose, for a balance must be struck between choosing a president who is energetic and one who will abuse their power and further consolidate power in the Executive Branch. We know that there are many, many problems facing the nation and that Americans may be tempted to vote based solely on who has a workable plan to fix Social Security or the environment or end the War on Terror, for example. But, M.O.W. strongly believes that the presidency itself is in as precarious a position as the environment or the economy and she would urge her fellow Americans to consider how their candidate would handle power once it was theirs.

We are not alone in our worry. Rachel Morris over at Washington Monthly has an excellent article about the possibility of a Rudy Giuliani presidency and what his track record as NYC Mayor portends for his use of Executive power. She argues that if we can read the past as prologue, then "of all the presidential candidates, Giuliani is most likely to take the expansions of the executive branch made by the Bush administration and push them further still." This is a thought that makes M.O.W. very, very nervous.

Like most Americans, we were grateful for Mayor Giuliani on September 11, 2001. We felt, unlike President Bush, that Mayor Giuliani seemed like a leader. He appeared on tv at regular intervals and said things that made sense: he needed these services here and there, he had co-ordinated rescue efforts here and there, we should stay out of the city, donate blood, help out, etc. Yes, M.O.W. was impressed with Giuliani on that day, especially when contrasted with what President Bush said--"America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world"--as if saying something as inane and insipid as that would actually help anything or anyone on that day. Thus, M.O.W. can easily see the appeal of a Giuliani presidency: he seems like the kind of guy who would solve problems and get things done.

And, we need problems solved right now.

But, let us remember that we need to resolve the problems with the constitution too and if Rudy Giuliani is the kind of leader who gets things done by fiat and refuses to act within the restraints accorded to the office by the constitution, then his presidency would be harmful to the nation. History is full of examples of people giving power to men who promise to solve problems and who become tyrants, dictators, fuehrers.

M.O.W. is watching the presidential race very carefully. She plans to ask each of the leading candidates what they would do with power should it become theirs. We encourage our fellow founder-stalkers to do the same.

1 comment:

GayProf said...

I am not uncertain that Hillary Clinton would not also blur the power of the Executive Branch.

Sigh -- I need to find some hunky guy in the E.U. to marry.