Friday, January 6, 2012

All Hail King Barack the First

Creating any form of a democratic form of government is tough and America's Founders had it tougher than most. One must remember that what they were attempting to do hadn't ever been done before, they were essentially making it up as they went along. But one thing they were very clear about: they had no interest in being ruled by a King or any other type of autocrat. If anything, they went out of their way in ensuring that such a thing would never happen in this nation, crafting a document that was very clear and specific regarding the equal division of powers among three equal branches of government (one of which was further divided in two) and clearly specifying exactly what each branch could, and more importantly, could not do.

Historians have often argued that our first autocratic President was Abraham Lincoln, who took extraordinary measures during a time of great crisis to ensure the overall survival of the Union itself, with little regard to the potential long-term consequences of some of his decisions. However, it took another 40 years or so for Presidents to decide that they had the power to rule over the land, using their own personalities to point our nation in the direction in which they believed it should go. Theodore Roosevelt, who was soon followed by Woodrow Wilson, were both Progressives, in the sense that they believed government was a powerful force for good and should be used to correct the wrongs that they witnessed. It could literally be argued that those two men radically altered the look of the nation, bringing in a host of new laws and ideas that still impact our lives today.

Roughly a century after Theodore Roosevelt left office, another charismatic young man seeks to re-shape the country based on his own ideas, backed up with the power of his own rhetoric. That man is Barack Obama, former Illinois state legislator and professional agitator who seems little bothered with the restrictions put into place by the very Constitution he claims to have once taught. Need powerful agency directors whom you don't want to be bothered by Congressional oversight? No problem, just about a couple of dozen "Czars" who can implement your desired changes free from Congressional authorization. Union backers facing the prospect of seeing their companies go under after years of union-led abuse? No problem, let's just buy those companies outright, then fudge the books in such a manner as to make it appear as if these were profitable deals. The list is as endless as the one containing his campaign promises.

This leads us to His majesty's latest outrage: the direct appointment of Richard Cordray as head of a newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. One moment while we leaf through the Constitution searching for the clause giving the Executive Branch the power to create such an agency...

The Cordray appointment is controversial in two regards:

First, his appointment was already blocked by the Senate, using the power exclusively granted to that segment of the Legislative Branch. Obama is blatantly circumventing the authority which is expressly granted to the Senate alone. The Executive Branch does not possess the Constitutional authority to make such appointments without cons ent, see Article Two, Section Two. One would think a former professor of Constitutional law might be aware of this fact.

Secondly, a so-called "recess appointment" can only be made after the Senate has been out of session for at least 10 days, while the Senate is actually still in what is known as a "pro-forma" session, which the Senate website defines as:

pro forma session - A brief meeting (sometimes only several seconds) of the Senate in which no business is conducted. It is held usually to satisfy the constitutional obligation that neither chamber can adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other.

In other words, the Senate is still technically in session, which should negate the ability of the Executive Branch to make appointments which can only be made when Congress is in recess.

What this all boils down to is this: a vain, self-absorbed man who rose to the highest office in our nation entirely on his ability to publish allegedly ghost-written memoirs and speak beautifully while reading a teleprompter, is attempting to consolidate as much power as possible in his own hands, Constitution be damned. This president often reads flowery speeches from his teleprompter which talk about supporting Americans who "play by the rules" and "do what's right". In other words, playing by the rules is only for the little guy, not for His Majesty, King Barack the First.

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