What About The President???

There’s plenty of people who think all evil in Washington comes from the Executive Branch of government. Not surprisingly, most of those people today are republicans. Of course, if you go back 12 years, democrats believed that the Executive branch had become an extension of Hades. You can make an argument for improper use of power whether you hate Bush or you hate Obama. I’m not going to mediate the debate.

I am going to say that the founders who crafted the US Constitution to replace the Articles of the Confederation knew that by creating an Executive Branch (which the Articles of the Confederation did not have) they were taking a risk that the president would exceed his authority. Stay with me – there’s a point to this civics lesson.

The founding fathers intended that Congress would be able to rein in the president if he exceeded his constitutional authority with the threat of impeachment. What constitutes an impeachable offense is vaguely defined – an impeachable offense is what two-thirds of the Senate agrees is impeachable. In almost any period in US history, a two-thirds majority in the Senate
requires defections from the president’s party. In our current state of hyper-partisanship, it’s impossible to get those defections. The other aspect of congressional hyper-partiship is gridlock, which forces presidents to press the limits of executive authority because Congress can’t pass legislation to fix problems which the the president MUST address.

Here’s my theory – when the legislative branch is dysfunctional and paralyzed and locked in a perpetual partisan duel, two political aspects re-enforce each other to produce ideal conditions for problems from the executive branch. First, Congress isn’t able to pass laws that address problems which the president is required to fix. Second, in an era of hyper-partisanship, there is virtually no chance the Senate can muster a two-thirds majority to impeach, anyway.

Here’s the flip side of that theory. When you have a Congress who has the best interests of the country at heart and understands the importance of the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches, Congress will produce imperfect legislation that will work (imperfectly) and give the president the tools he needs to run the federal government and address (imperfectly) the problems which the country faces. That goes a long way to relieve the political pressure which tempts the executive to push the limits.

Extending that concept, if a significant number of Senators of both parties are operating from a highly ethical understanding of the principles that make democracy work, a president who exceeds his power runs a serious risk of censure or even impeachment if he crosses the line.

If we had a Congress – when we have a Congress, limited by a wall of separation between them and big money, they will work for the people. When the people are the source, the ONLY source of campaign funds, when a retired member of Congress can’t take a payoff in the form of a cushy job, when every member of Congress can not sellout, before during or AFTER their term in Congress, we will see a class of people with different values. They won’t necessarily be more liberal or more conservative but they will have no confusion about who they are working for.

I understand frustration that some voters have with the Executive Branch. There’s a constitutional mechanism for dealing with excesses by the Executive Branch, but you need a healthy Congress for the process to work. That’s how the government was designed. A functional Congress promotes a balanced Presidency.

An afterthought on the subject. Campaign Finance Reform will change how candidates for the office of President run their campaigns and how they set their priorities in the platform they run on. Right now, candidates for president are making unofficial promises and concessions to powerful sources of campaign funds. For government to work for the people, campaign money has to come ONLY from the people in small amounts that preclude buying favors.

15 Responses to Obama

  1. Suzanna Bryant says:

    Thank you so much for your efforts!!! I and my children appreciate that there are still people taking action for the American Dream and our posterity.

  2. Josh O. says:

    Good job! Thanks for risking your life to try to bring attention to a government that forgot that it is supposed to work for the people.

  3. Patrick Mulcare says:

    First, thank you for standing up for We The People! I’ve made a small contribution to you in the hope that it will help you regain your liberty. Second, your hyperlink to The Civillist Papers is missing the colon after “http” so it doesn’t work.

    Be well and keep up the good fight!

  4. Christopher McMahon says:

    A typical American press response to your flight, is concern that an aircraft can get onto the Capitol lawn, better spend more money on security, no concern about the corruption already inside. The press as well as congress are owned by the corrupters. They have convinced most citizens not to vote. As if it wouldn’t work. Apathy is Corruption’s concubine.
    Thanks for your effort.

  5. Marie Russell-Barker says:

    Some may not like this president but the way I see him he’s not perfect (no man is) but he is always for the ppl of these United States. He want to do nation building here at home, however this backward Congress can not do the right thing for America the country that they claims to love. They have a hatred so strong against President Obama that they are willing to tar down the whole country.

  6. Doug – you are absolutely right. Thank you for your courage. It is so frustrating to try to comunicate sense to people, they are so blinded by the partisanship and the Fox propaganda machine. I wish you all the best in your efforts, and hope the feds don’t try to make an example of you. Very best regards, Rick Blumhorst, Paola, KS. BTW – I flew a VW-Bensen several years ago. I survived the thrill. :>)

  7. alex wassell says:

    I agree with your position on getting the money out of American politics. I am sorry that your message of finance reform was “lost”, but I am not surprised that corporate media buried your intended message.

    In Solidarity,
    Alex Wassell

  8. Jacqueline Stege says:

    I agree whole heartedly. Good for you!!!

  9. Michael Douglas Gentry says:

    Mr. Hughes,

    Good luck with your upcoming hearing. I am deeply upset at the lack of media coverage about your flight. You must have hit a few of the right nerves if your incredible act is being overlooked (some people/companies don’t want your ideas to become widespread).

    I’m greatly inspired by the level of planning and thought you obviously put into this. And beyond that, I respect the flawless execution. Hopefully you can respond to this letter soon, but I’m curious as to what happened to the letters themselves? I doubt the congressmen they were addressed to actually received, let alone read them.

    I would like to do what I can to make sure your plan is seen. I imagine I could send a copy of your solution myself, and try to have others do so too. Could you send me a copy of the letter you wrote so I can forward it? I have some of my own thoughts on how the government could realistically be altered, but I haven’t thought of this as much as you have.

    Your actions weren’t a joke to me, and I would love for your actions to have been the spark necessary to ignite real change over the next dozen or so years.

    I want to help fan the flames Doug. I want to send your letters to Congress until they reply. I want to make your message known to the people it will ultimately help so much. I’m 23 years old and don’t want to see corrupt politicians affecting the rest of my adult life. I want my family’s freedoms protected, and I fear our current systems do not allow for true representation of the people.

    Please stay in touch.


    Michael Gentry
    San Diego, CA

  10. Judy Preuss says:

    Thank you Mr. Hughes for your heroic flight and most important mail delivery of your career. You are a true Patriot. I just watched your story on Democracy Now and in
    turn discovered your website. I can’t thank you enough. It is people like you who give me hope and urge me to keep up the fight.

  11. Teri malone says:

    I agree 100% with your comments. Personally, I believe most politicians don’t even realize how much donors influence– or even infect– their positions on issues.

    Take the situation with a newly elected congressperson. Maybe they are on the job 6 mos. They are expected to raise $$ for their party. One day, someone from K street contacts them. After a few “coffees” during which the would-be influencer compliments the congressperson, it feels like they’re friends. The k st person suggests he/she would like to sponsor a small fund-raiser for the new member of congress. That congress person may not realize that the real sponsor is the XYZ industry. And now the congress person feels indebted. Even worse, he/she may not even realize he/she is being influenced by his/her new “friend”.

    We need all elections for Congress and President to be funded SOLELY a by federal govt…e.g. by taxpayers… With zero contributions from any other person or entity, including the candidate and/or his/her family. Period. No loopholes!

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