Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Executive Branch Power Consolidation

Dear Readers,

I can't recall which pundit wrote about this first during the last presidential campaign, but one thought struck me at the time and has stuck with me since. It seems that it was an accurate prediction of the inevitable fight for power in our nation's government, at this stage of our political history.

That thought was, with respect to the shift in political power from Congress to the Executive Branch, it probably really didn't much matter which party won the White House in 2008. The next occupant was not likely to object to the increased powers of the executive branch which had been strengthened by the political strong arm methods of the Cheney/Bush administration.

As a strong supporter of Obama during the 2008 campaign I have often taken myself back to that observation during his first term as president. If you read about and follow politics you don't need me to recite the examples, though I will cite just a few to support my position: waffling on Iraq draw down, surge in troops for Afghanistan, continuing the detentions in Gitmo, and continuing the agenda of the need for secrecy when he promised openness of government, and the attack on American citizens' right to privacy with renewal of the euphemistically hypocritical Patriot Act.

Here is a link to an article I read which aroused my ire and stirred my need once again to do my crying in the wilderness thing, in the hope that some of you are still listening to such voices as mine and others, and might even also be stirred to send these thoughts along to your own others.

As a retired CEO of an industrial company, a Work/Life Coach to Executives and now retired, I understand the temptation of the executive to retain as much power invested in his position as possible. The one with the power wins. That kind of power can work if the person in power understands that he/she can remain in power so long as those in his power don't abandon him.

The top executive of our Federal government has Congress and the Supreme Court to deal with, and which can be in competition with him or her for power. This is especially a problem when the three branches are beholden to different political parties. We are seeing that today.

So, it should be no surprise that our president should covet as much power invested in the executive branch as possible. The problem can be that it puts that person in a position of temptation to try to rule, not to govern.


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