Thursday, February 7, 2008

What Is The American System of Government?

The Founding Fathers established a written Constitution as the Governmentof the United States. Their Constitution was unique for their time. They provided a Government of three branches: legislative, executive, andjudicial. While it seems that these are co-equal branches of national Government, the legislative is looked upon by the Framers as "the first amongequals." It was listed first and given the broadest power.

The Executivebranch is primarily the enforcer of congressional and judicial law and is charged with protecting the Constitution. The judicial branch branch of Government is charged with legal proceedings and justice and determines what is constitutional or unconstitutional.

However, while each branch is considered"separate but equal" there is much overlapping. For example, for a bill to become law it must be passed by both Houses of Congress and signed by the President. The executive can veto it, but Congress can override the veto. All a President can do is accept it or veto it; the President cannot change it and then sign it. There is no "line item veto" for the executive listed in the Constitution as a power of the executive.

After the bill is passed and signed, the Supreme Court can determine if the law is right or wrong. So, there is a lot of overlapping, but the real power is in the legislative branch, as intended and written by the Framers. The Framers had just fought a long, costly and bloody war against absolutism. They knew the danger of one man rule and wanted none of it for the Government they created.

As time marched on, the executive took on more and more power of its own. However, from 2001-2006 the power of the Presidency sharply increased. With Republicans controlling both Houses of Congress, there was no effort to check the President. The Republicans held no over-sight hearings; there was no attempt to reign in the vastly increasing power of the executive. Many will recall President Nixon being referred to as the "imperial president". But, there is an important difference between Nixon and Bush. Nixon was an "imperial president only in theory as he was checked and balanced at every turn because he had a Democratic Congress with traditional Republican legislators like Goldwater and Dirksen who knew what liberty and freedom entailed. Lets not forget Gerald Ford or Sen.Baker of TN either. They knew. They knew the American Governmental System is based on law.

This was affirmed by the Supreme Court when they ruled that "no President is above the law." In 17 days, Nixon was gone. Bush and the "Republicans" of today maintain that the world crisis and its threat to the US requires them to "put aside ordinary legal rights." Bush flatly states that Congress cannot investigate the executive. He denies with impunity Congressional subpoenas. Bush is permitted to act as if he is above the law.

The preemptive attack on Iraq, thereby negating American foreign policy since 1789, is Bush declaring his power is unlimited. This is where he needed to have been checked, but Congress Democrats and Republicans refused the fight.

Does anyone care about executive dominance? This ought to be the battle of Nov. 2008.Why isn't the growth of absolutist power under Bush and the "Republicans" not the burning political topic? No Democratic or Republican presidential candidte has attacked executive branch supremacy? Is there a cry for executive restraint? This is the most important issue before the country. Bush does what Nixon onlythreatened to do......

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