Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00 GFP Columnist - J. D. Longstreet
The President Who Would Be Dictator- “These last few years we’ve seen an unacceptable abuse of power at home.  We’ve paid a heavy price for having a president whose priority is expanding his own power.”  You'd never guess it today, but these words are from a speech by President Obama back in 2007 when he was a candidate for President.  

Washington - We've got a problem!

Just last year, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, from the floor of the US Senate said: “The president looks more and more like a king that the Constitution was designed to replace.”

The senator is correct.  Current presidents have entirely too much power.

OK.  So I KNOW the constitution grants presidents the power to issue executive actions and orders.  But it seems to me, The Founders never suspected the American people would elect people of questionable character to such a high office. 

BOY, did we EVER blow THAT ONE!

We have amended the constitution 27 times already.  (The 21st is simply the repeal of a different one -- the 18th, prohibition). A number of other amendments have been offered but have not been submitted to the states for ratification.

Methinks it is time to offer another, a 28th Amendment, to the constitution that will limit the power of the President. The authority of that office is obviously too powerful to be entrusted to modern human beings. 

The intent of my proposed amendment would be to end the power of the Executive Office to issue executive orders -- especially such orders as would instruct the creation of any rule or regulation that would have the "effect" of law.  

With the Congress split as it is, with democrats holding the Senate and republicans holding the House of Representatives, it is impossible to get such an amendment through both houses and on to the states. 

But WAIT!  That isn't necessary.  The states, themselves, can call an "Article V Convention."  It must be called by two-thirds of the states, and ratified by three-fourths of the states or by three-fourths of conventions thereof, the method of ratification being determined by Congress at the time of proposal.

Just because a President is upset that the Congress is not bowing to his every whim, just because Congress is dead-locked, is no reason, in my estimation, for a political coup de tat by a president of either party. 

The current generation of "instant gratification" Americans are dumb as a post about the constitution and how their government is supposed to work under that constitution.  Our government was not designed to rubber stamp a president.  It was designed to deliberate, to debate, to mull, to argue, disagree, to thrash out, and finally, FINALLY, produce legislation that is the least restrictive of the freedom of all Americans.

Look.  We have a staid congress these days compared to those Congresses of yesteryear.   It's been a while since we have had a brawl, or a fist fight, or a physical beat down on the floor of either of the houses of Congress.  But we have had them.

Consider this: "Tension was high and tempers flared during every Congressional session in the years leading up to and including the Civil War period in history. In an 1850 debate about slavery, Thomas Benton, a Democrat from Missouri who opposed slavery, became so angry at his fellow Democrat, Henry Foote of Mississippi that he verbally attacked him on the Senate floor. Foote drew a pistol from his Senate desk and pointed it at Benton. Their colleagues stopped the argument before Foote could pull the trigger. The Senate was adjourned so the members could leave for a "cooling off period" prior to returning the next day.

Foote would later become governor of Mississippi.

Here's another example (from the same source) of, uh, shall we say, loss of decorum in the Congress: "In 1798 when Roger Griswold, a Federalist Congressman from Connecticut got into a heated debate with Matthew Lyon, a Vermont Democratic-Republican. Griswold made the mistake of calling Lyon a scoundrel (a word that was considered profanity at the time). Lyon then spit in Griswold's face and there was no stopping the ensuing melee. Neither Griswold or Lyon believed in the proverb, "forgive and forget". A few weeks later, Griswold attacked Lyon on the Senate floor with a cane and then Lyon went after him with a pair of fire tongs.

Lyon was the first Congressman to be charged with an ethics violation due to the spitting episode. The Ethics Committee recommended he be censured but the matter was ultimately dropped."

And WE think gridlock is terrible!  WE plead for bipartisanship when partisanship is NORMAL. We complain when Congress does not pass laws.  Never once do we stop to consider that every law Congress passes deprives some Americans of freedom.

Americans are clambering today for a strong central government which is antithetical to the constitution.  Why?  Because, in my opinion, we have so many immigrants who come from countries with strong central governments. They are, in my opinion, uncomfortable with personal responsibility, personal and individual liberties, and had rather have a centralized government they can learn to "play" and to "milk" for everything they can get - while not taking responsibility for anything.

THAT is flat-out un-American!   At least it has been until today.

Our Machiavellian President, with cunning and duplicity, is happy to oblige -- assuming a Hugo Chávez type administration and ruling by fiat, otherwise known as Executive Orders.

This must be stopped.  If it requires a constitutional amendment to stop it, then by all means, let's get on with it. The sooner, the better.

Image: President Barack Obama stands in front of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez (R) during an official photograph session at the 5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, April 18, 2009. - Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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