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NY Times Editor: Founding Fathers Feared Such an 'Imperial Presidency'

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posted on Jul, 24 2007 @ 03:01 PM
This OP/ED tells how the Founding Fathers carefully wrote the Constitution to prevent a President from having toooo much power.

NY Times editor: Founding Fathers Feared Such an 'Imperial Presidency'

The nation is heading toward a constitutional showdown over the Iraq war. Congress is moving closer to passing a bill to limit or end the war, but President Bush insists Congress doesn’t have the power to do it. “I don’t think Congress ought to be running the war,” he said at a recent press conference. “I think they ought to be funding the troops.” He added magnanimously: “I’m certainly interested in their opinion.”

The President was not given the power to declare war or end a war.

When they drafted the Constitution, Madison and his colleagues wrote their skepticism into the text. In Britain, the king had the authority to declare war, and raise and support armies, among other war powers. The framers expressly rejected this model and gave these powers not to the president, but to Congress.

What power the President DOES have in times of war is as Commander in Chief. But this only gives the President the power as the top General over all the military to command and guide them.

The Constitution does make the president “commander in chief,” a title President Bush often invokes. But it does not have the sweeping meaning he suggests. The framers took it from the British military, which used it to denote the highest-ranking official in a theater of battle. Alexander Hamilton emphasized in Federalist No. 69 that the president would be “nothing more” than “first general and admiral,” responsible for “command and direction” of military forces.

Congress was given the power to manage the countries money. The President can't allocate money for a war.

The founders would have been astonished by President Bush’s assertion that Congress should simply write him blank checks for war. They gave Congress the power of the purse so it would have leverage to force the president to execute their laws properly. Madison described Congress’s control over spending as “the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.”

These powers were given to Congress to keep the President in check and from fighting his own wars, wars that the people didn't want.

The framers expected Congress to keep the president on an especially short leash on military matters. The Constitution authorizes Congress to appropriate money for an army, but prohibits appropriations for longer than two years. Hamilton explained that the limitation prevented Congress from vesting “in the executive department permanent funds for the support of an army, if they were even incautious enough to be willing to repose in it so improper a confidence.”

This system is what I believe is what we are starting to see happen today, with the President and Congress at odds with each other over the war in Iraq. Bush wants the US to stay in Iraq, it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks in his mind.

Members of Congress should not be intimidated into thinking that they are overstepping their constitutional bounds. If the founders were looking on now, it is not Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi who would strike them as out of line, but George W. Bush, who would seem less like a president than a king.

I believe the people and Congress have had enough of Bush's war and are now going to stop his war mongering. It is not the Presidents job to declare war or end a war, but that of Congress. And I believe Congress is ready to end this war!

All they have to do is use the powers they were given and not let themselves be "bullied" by Bush.

[edit on 24/7/07 by Keyhole]

posted on Jul, 24 2007 @ 06:14 PM
you said it all great post!! This is my main reason for supporting Dennis Kucinich ..Hes one of the few in Washington that has gone totally against Bush and his Black Gold War.All these new Acts and laws are closing the nuse that much tighter......

posted on Jul, 25 2007 @ 12:14 AM
Things is the problem isnt just the "Imperial Presidency" its the "Elites"
in all the branches of Government.
For now it suits the purposes of the Democratic controlled Congress to pretend to want to pull the troops out of Iraq, after the election which I am pretty sure at this point the Democrats will win I highly doubt that the Democratic President will pull all of the troops out.

June 2010 Republican will be whining about the "Imperial Presidency"
as loudly as the Democrats are whining about it now.

The "Elites" in Congress cant pass a simple one issue bill without tacking tons of pet projects on it.

Harry Reid is one of my Senators he is far from noble and most assuredly motivated only by politics.

If the founders were here today they would be shocked by the entire government not just the "Imperial Presidency"

posted on Aug, 8 2007 @ 11:14 PM
Honestly was a war ever declared???

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