Part 2: Fixing The Problem
Essay 25 – The Executive Revisited
“In times of peace the people look most to their representatives; but in war, to the executive solely.”
– Thomas Jefferson, letter to Caesar Rodney, February 10, 1810
The quote above reflects the importance and the understanding of the separation of powers and the proper role of the different branches of government. For the most part, if the federal government is abiding by the limitations that the people have put upon it through the Constitution and if the separation of powers are adhered to, there is little reason for the people to give much thought to the President at all during peace time.
Contrary to popular opinion, the President is not a representative for the people. That is the role of the Legislative Branch, and particularly the House of Representatives.
The role of the President is to faithfully administer the laws that the Legislative Branch creates. Yes, the President does have veto power for the laws as a check on the Legislative Branch, but even then, if the federal government is only making laws that are authorized by the enumerated powers given in the Constitution, then the laws and the vetoes would have little bearing on the daily lives of the people.
Yet, the entire Presidential election campaign is almost completely focused around the personal opinions and positions on issues that the candidates hold that they really should have no power of affecting in the first place.
How does the candidate feel about health care? The minimum wage? Education? Gay marriage? Social Security? Gun control?
If our system was working the way it was designed to work, it wouldn’t matter what the President thinks of such issues.
Recall in our previous essay on the Executive that the 2 main areas where we’ve gone wrong is that the President has assumed more powers than authorized through the Constitution and the Electoral College has been altered to diminish its intended effects, which we discussed in the essay specifically on the Electoral College.
The powers that the Executive has assumed and that are not enumerated in the Constitution have manifested themselves in the Administrative State, the huge bureaucracy consisting of hundreds of agencies filled by unelected “experts” in all areas that affect our daily lives.
In addition, the Executive is increasingly using the Executive Order process to not only instruct the administration on how to implement the laws created by the Legislative Branch (which is the intended purpose of Executive Orders), but also using them to actually create and change laws.
How to fix it…
The following steps are some of the things that need to be taken in order to get the Executive Branch back under control:
1. Educate the people. As I previously stated, educating the people is the root of everything, but I will keep repeating it because it cannot be emphasized enough. In order for the Executive Branch to operate as it should, the people first have to know the proper role and the reasons for it. If the people do not know what the job really is, how can they know what qualifications are needed to properly do the job?
When the people are uninformed, they are most vulnerable to manipulation by corrupt political parties, special interests, and demagogue candidates.
2. Dismantle the Administrative State. We will discuss the Administrative State in greater detail in an upcoming essay, but since the Administrative State is a big part of the Executive Branch and the source of many of our problems, it is important to acknowledge it here as one of the main fixes for the Executive Branch.
3. Fix the Electoral College and defeat the attempts to abolish it. The Electoral College was created as a way to ensure that only well-qualified, virtuous people would ever obtain the office of the Presidency. The dangers of a pure democracy and the majority rules model are very well documented and common sense even tells us how dangerous it is.
Because we have given this one person, the President, so much power in order to effectively administer our Republic, it is of the utmost importance to heed the warnings about a purely democratic mode of election. Anyone who has paid any attention at all can see how easily people are manipulated by less than honest politicians, special interests, and political parties.
The Electoral College was devised as a means to protect against that and when people fully understand the way it is supposed to work and the reasons for it, they will easily be able to see the need to keep it in place, and even to restore it to the way it was originally designed to work.
4. Change the Primary Election process. The political parties have hijacked our electoral process and manipulate it in ways to greatly limit our choices for President. This has resulted in the so-called “binary choice” elections where most voters are not voting positively for a candidate, but rather voting negatively, for the “lesser of two evils”.
If we allow this to continue, it will lead to the destruction of our Republic as we are presented with progressively worse and worse candidates.
5. Elect virtuous people. Provided we can successfully make the above listed fixes, above and beyond that, we need to always strive to elect virtuous people. Virtuous people have good character, they are honest, trustworthy, informed, hard-working, civil, ethical, and reliable…both in their professional lives and personal. When evaluating candidates for the high office of the Presidency, it’s important to weed out those who do not meet these standards as early in the process as possible. We need to let the political parties know, in no uncertain terms, that we will not accept anything less.
About this series:
The People Are Sovereign! is a series of 30 essays that will be posted on a daily basis. The series will continue tomorrow with Essay 26 – The Judiciary Revisited
To view the previous essay in the series, click this link: Essay 24- The Legislative Revisited
To view the previous essay in the series, click this link: Essay 26- The Judiciary Revisited