An American Caesar

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“The Imperial Presidency” was written in 1973 out of Arthur Schlesinger’s concern that the U.S. presidency had exceeded its constitutional limitations. If Schlesinger were merely concerned in 1973, he’d be downright terrified today.

According to Trevor Loudon’s blog, New Zeal,  an American Caesar has emerged on the political landscape in the form of our current commander-in-chief.

New Zeal bases its premise on the Presidential Appointment and Streamlining Act (S. 679), which is stampeding through the Senate with Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., clutching at its reins. Since its introduction, seven Republicans jumped on board in support.The stated purpose of the bill is “to reduce the number of executive positions subject to Senate confirmation.” What? Maybe you’ll want to read that again.

The president created a furor when he appointed at least 32 czars  to his administration two years ago. The main objection was the fact that all the appointees were exempt from Senate confirmation.

The Heritage Foundation found that the bill violates the appointments clause of the Constitution, as well as the spirit of “separation of powers,” which forms the basis for our government. Further, the bill transfers some of the Senate’s powers to the president. Our founders feared above all else the concentration of power within a single branch of government, the very thing this bill achieves.

A second matter under consideration was reported in a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece, appropriately titled, “Obama’s Gangster Politics.” It describes a proposed executive order requiring that government contractors report all political contributions they made, and to whom they made them. It similarly requires that the officers and directors of those companies disclose their political contributions. In other words, it creates an “enemies list” and codifies “pay to play” in one fell swoop.

Our electoral process is based upon free political discourse, including campaign contributions. This order has a huge chilling effect on political speech, stifles political thought and assures that the party in power remains in power.

As for “pay to play,” can you imagine being in a war zone and relying on a piece of body armor purchased on the basis of political patronage?

The liberal media has lately supported party disclosure. Congressman Allen West, however, recognizes it as another example of political patronage – rewarding friends and punishing enemies.

Separation of powers isn’t just a phrase in a sound bite; it’s a principle that has to be zealously defended, or this republic will fall just as certainly as the one in ancient Rome.

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