Today is the federal holiday currently referred to as Presidents Day (it is actually still called Washington’s Birthday as a federal holiday). I find it odd that we provide a national holiday to celebrate the chief elected official of the federal executive branch. Actually I find it more than odd, I find it almost un-American to celebrate a position that has gone so far beyond its constitutional limits.
Ivan Eland (author of RECARVING RUSHMORE: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty) posted a good summary of the shift away from constitutional controls of the executive branch:
Virtually ignored are the shifts in power that are transforming the executive branch into a governing branch:
- Two major functions of the Congress—in approving U.S. military action and determining the federal budget—have been eroded over time.
- Since the Korean War in the early 1950s, Congress has willingly abdicated its historical constitutional role of declaring war. As a result, the president now routinely takes the country to war without the constitutionally required congressional approval.
- With the rise of a unified yearly budget for the executive branch, beginning in the 1920s, Congress began merely altering the massive document only at the margins.
- Big government in the United States is really executive government.
It will be difficult to stuff such unconstitutional executive power back into the bottle; but for the sake of the continuation of governance under a republic, it is vital.
To this I would add the almost cult-like status the Presidency has attained. Here are just a few observations I’ve made of the current administration from the last month:
- Even though the President may entertain having a drink with members of Congress, he sees no reason to actually work with them.
- President Obama signed “executive actions” to bypass the legislative process because he feels his opinion of gun control should be the “law”.
- Back in January the White House asked citizens to pledge allegiance to them (and not the United States).
- Also back in January I noted that the President does not like balance of power with Congress.
Do we really want to keep a federal holiday for a position that continuously decides to ignore constitutional limits? Somehow there has been a shift from the President being an employee of the people to the President being an almost king-like figure to rule the people. This is not only Democrat Presidents that get this special treatment. All that changed when we went from Bush II to Obama was a different name and face; the mainstream media and party members for both Presidents have blindly followed unconstitutional acts.
If Congress does not start taking power back from the President we may soon find the United States losing any freedoms protected in the original Republic. Instead the United States will head the direction of another failed big government undertaking: the USSR.