The Cult of the Presidency
By Michael Kleen
January 30, 2009
World Net Daily
Much has been made of newly elected President Barack Obama’s use of executive orders to set his agenda and reverse the course of the Bush administration, with some even going as far as to say that Obama intends on ruling by decree, bypassing the Congress altogether. Indeed, Obama has issued five such orders since taking office, alongside five “presidential memoranda,” an unprecedented number. Who really has any illusions that the United States remains a constitutional republic with equally balanced branches of government?
In a recent interview with Politico, Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., claimed Obama’s flurry of activity was necessary, “to show there’s a strong break from the current policy.” And in an example of Orwellian doublespeak, he claimed, “Every day we get indications that they’re serious about reversing the abuses of the Constitution [by President George W. Bush].” But we know from President Obama’s robust use of the powers of the executive branch that he has absolutely no intention of reversing abuse of the Constitution – rather, he has every intention to put the final shovel of dirt over its grave.
Since the Constitution was enacted as the supreme law of the land, the power of the president has grown exponentially. This expansion of power has been variously justified by needs that were supposedly not anticipated by the framers of the Constitution, but like Patrick Henry said of the Constitutional Convention, “I smell a rat.”
In the past hundred or so years, the national legislature has gradually surrendered power to the executive branch, with a few exceptions such as the imposition of a presidential term limit in 1951. In 2006, our congressmen and women met for less than 80 days, and then only to rubberstamp the policies of the president. The vast majority of disagreements were lodged along party lines. At the time, I believed that if George W. Bush had been a Democrat, not one objection would have been raised by the Democratic Party to any of his alleged abuses of power. With the dawn of the Obama administration, I now know that hunch to have been correct.
In the years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, George W. Bush was given free reign by both the press and Congress to pursue war wherever he saw fit, and there are no indications that President Obama will surrender that power. On Sept. 25, 2001, Congress passed a resolution authorizing the president to “deploy military force pre-emptively against terrorist organizations or the States that harbor or support them, whether or not they can be linked to the specific terrorist incidents of September 11.”
Using such language, Congress surrendered any right to oppose military action as long as the president painted his enemies with the word “terrorist,” regardless of whether they had anything to do with the attacks on America. I do not believe for a moment that President Obama intends to disregard that resolution. In fact, we know from the campaign that he has set his sights on several countries, Sudan and Pakistan among them.
Since 2001, Democratic members of Congress have submitted two constitutional amendments to repeal the presidential term limit. Now that their favorite son occupies the White House, there have been more whisperings of doing away with that term limit. As WorldNetDaily reported, early in January Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., introduced a third bill, which would act as “an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as president.” If the Democratic Party was so terrified of President George W. Bush’s abuses of power, why are they so eager to see the president retain office for an indefinite time?
There can be only one answer to this question, and that is that the Democrats are just as enamored with the cult of the presidency. They know that the old republic is dead, and they would gladly hand over the reins of power to one of their own.
As Julius Caesar paved the way for Augustus to become the emperor of Rome, so do I believe that George W. Bush has paved the way for President Barack Obama to finally erase the last vestiges of our constitutional republic. We should not be surprised by President Obama’s robust use of the executive office, nor should we expect any resistance from either political party. After all, it was Congress who laid the groundwork for its own demise.