My Twitter timeline as soon Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his bid for president exploded as undecided conservatives suddenly found a new political home or at the minimum a new flavor of the month. Rick Perry to his credit appears to be the ultimate anti-Obama: unashamedly patriotic, confident, a record of generally successful executive experience, a supporter of decentralized government, an openly Evangelical Christian, among many other characteristics that our current President does not share. Whether or not Rick Perry would be a good President or even should be President is for another day. My point is, liberty loving Americans are placing way too much upon emphasis on the office of President, which is a detriment to the overall cause of liberty.
Our Founding Fathers generally wanted this country to have an executive branch that was strong enough to administer the government while at the same time, not strong enough to rule the country like a monarch. In Article II of the Constitution, the only powers the President was given to be serve as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and the Militia and appoint Ambassadors, Department heads, and Federal judges but only with the consent of the Senate. Nowhere in the Constitution is the president given the authority to make law or pass regulations binding on the American people. The only power to make law was given to Congress and it was laid out by Article I, Section 8 with restrictions on that power outlined in Article I, Section 9. However, over time that balance and definition of power has changed.
During the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the executive branch dramatically increased in size and power, with the creation of various New Deal agencies and the Executive Office of the President. The New Deal agencies started the practice of issuing regulations that for all intents and purposes had the force of law. While the Executive Office of the President began to shift powers away from the Cabinet, whose members were Department secretaries confirmed by the Senate to political appointees many of whom are simply chosen by the President without Senate input. Thus the current “imperial presidency” was born. Eventually it has spawned into the current outrage where everything from economic policy that affects every American to the most important decision of sending our brave troops to fight and die on foreign soil can be made without even consulting the Congress. Ultimately both Congress and the Judiciary have failed to check this obscene growth in unelected, executive power while at the same both institutions have themselves stepped way past their Constitutional and intended limits of power.
We what we as liberty advocates need to do instead of worrying about the Presidential beauty contest that occurs every four years, we need to be concentrating on electing good liberty minded members of Congress who take their Constitutional duties and responsibilities seriously. The main reason why the executive branch has been able to expand its power to rule the lives of every American is because Congress has let them. Earlier this year when Barack Obama decided to commit American troops to harms way in Libya without even bothering to consult Congress, let alone the American people; the House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans, could not even muster a majority to defund the operation, let alone pass or even file Articles of Impeachment for this clearly unconstitutional and therefore illegal war. We have elected people to Congress who do not represent us and do not take their Constitutional duties seriously. What we need to do is ask every member of Congress and their opponents these following questions:
1) Do you believe that the executive branch has overstepped its Constitutional limits on power?
2) Do you support reviewing the actions and regulations passed by all executive branch agencies and repealing any that explicitly over step Constitutional limits on executive branch power?
3) Do you believe that the executive branch can initiate military action without the consent of the Congress even if there is no immanent danger to the United States?
4) Will you support legislation that leaves implementation of regulations open-ended solely to the discretion of the legislative branch?
If they do not give the correct answer, this person running for Congress shouldn’t be bothered with.
Congress also needs to stop writing unfinished thousand page bills that leave implementation of which solely up to the legislative branch with no guidelines or restrictions from Congress. These have been the cause of so much overregulation by the executive branch, which is not directly accountable to the American people. Finally, Congress needs to periodically review the actions of the executive branch and never be afraid to use its powers of oversight and the powers of the purse to hold the executive branch and to use the powers of impeachment for grossly unconstitutional actions.