November 05, 2012

My Last Notes On The Election, Thank God

The plain fact is that the last man to understand the Executive Branch of government was George Washington.

 He disallowed the inserting of an "imperial presidency" into our governmental mix, was decidedly strict about the limits to the application of power as it related to the Legislative and Judicial branches per the Constitution (which was still a very new and original document when he took office), was personally gratified by the honor of the office but secretly couldn't wait to get TF out of there as soon as he could, was circumspect about and was extremely wary of what the country decided was to be its role in the world, suspicious of "foreign entanglements" not only because imperialism seemed anathema to him but because he worried about the influence of foreign powers inside our halls of government, was against the formation of political parties, and acted in all ways and means within the limits of the constitution - no more and no less.

Presidents since him have either been at the mercy of political affiliations or were special agents of a narrow politic. For Lincoln, Nixon, Wilson, and both Roosevelts - well  name any -  the game seems to have been how much extra power can you gather in to this office. You can't just blame President Bush (2) for the accumulation of power into the Executive; it began to be accumulated from Adams (1) on, little by little; until you have what you have now - too much power resting in that branch. The idea of a three-branch government - the old "checks and balances" method - was constructed to insure that no one branch, no one party, no one strong personality, and no one current trend insinuated itself into the process to the point where that process was adulterated in any way. Well that's not what we have any more, and haven't had since his Presidency.

What we have now, after the accumulation of two centuries of fiddling with the original intent, isn't anywhere near what the founders designed, in my opinion. Bit original intent is another issue altogether. We're just using my view on the matter for this post.

If you have any doubt that the "original intent" of the Constitution has been slaughtered let's just use the example of the 4th Amendment.
 The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Three words that prove my point? Police Check Points. For seat belts, en masse sobriety checks (I was once in a group of over 100 cars directed off the highway into a parking lot on a Labor Day weekend wherein everyone was checked to see if they were drunk, without any probable cause).  It has always been odd to me that the same people who are so all-fired angry about what they feel the 2nd Amendment means, and base their argument on the idea that we should "be true to the Constitution", nevertheless never seem to give a shit about the 4th.

Be that example as it may...

 The point is the Presidency is not now composed of the particulars that it was originally intended to be composed of. And there is no one person or praty to blame. It's the people who are to blame. You and me. For letting it happen.

The other plain fact is that there isn't going to be one wit's worth of difference between a Romney administration and an Obama one. The drone attacks will continue. Obamacare will not be repealed for the simple fact that no President is going to want to be responsible for taking millions of people OFF the healthcare system. In fact a Romney Presidency will be marked by the amount of things he will explain to the Tea Party that they can't have. Either that - or suddenly tax increases, the rising of the debt ceiling, and the continued expansion of the national debt will be perfectly okay. Suddenly. Because a Republican is doing them.

If not, there will be such a hue and cry from the extremist reactionaries that have been trying to hijack America for the last three years and continue to be denied by the Republican establishment, that the GOP will be fatally fractured if not completely destroyed by 2015. Unless of course a President Romney enacts the programs of that terrorist annex and we increase the unemployment rolls by destroying thousands of jobs after the budget cuts they want take effect.

How many government employees currently working will be seeking unemployment insurance after a Tea Party sweep and why do we never seem to understand that cutting the government to the degree they seek after equals job killing legislation?

 And where is George Washington in all of this?

He certainly isn't toting guns into the New Hampshire State House as Tea Party members are these days. He isn't carrying out unlawful drone strikes on civilians throughout the Muslim world these days. He isn't changing his position for the sake of political expediency or wearing magic underwear these days. And he certainly isn't spending millions of dollars completely lying about his opponents in order to get into office. That's the legacyt WE are passing down to our children and grandchildren. He's not.

He's probably sick of the whole thing too.

Whatever happens tomorrow the problem is bigger than one guy or another. It's bigger than party politics. It's more important than which one of a handful of insignificant internet blog posers will end up being right about this or that. The problem is this country is sick, sad and confused. And we have no one to blame but ourselves.

And George's got nothing to do with it.


B.E. Earl said...

I don't have a problem with police check points for drunk driving. If I go through one, I can reasonably convince myself that there was probable cause (a holiday weekend where lots of drinking occurs) and that an unreasonable search did not occur. Having gone through a few of them as a sober person, a quick determination by the police officer (visual signs, smell of alcohol, etc..) had me one my way with only a small delay. My person or vehicle were not searched. In most of them I wasn't even asked to provide identification. So neither house, paper or effects were unreasonably searched or seized. At the cost of a 5-10 minute delay.

And there are some statistics that suggest that the extra diligence is saving lives. Drunk driving deaths have decreased by around 35% in the past 20 years. I don't believe the check points are the exact reason. Maybe just the idea that the check points might be out there. I don't know. I just know that this liberal-minded person doesn't mind them.

RW said...

Well, liberals are rather more noted for their acquiescence to infringing on the constitution. So that's not unusual. But the mere existence of Labor Day wouldn't constitute probable cause to check people's sobriety any more than the mere existence of child pornography would constitute probable cause to check everyone's computers.

More importantly, the post is about the Presidency.

B.E. Earl said...

Yeah...I meant to include that it was a minor point I was commenting on but I got side-tracked. Then front-traced and then back-tracked. Happens to me all the time.

Did you ever see the HBO mini-series on John Adams? I thought they, and David Morse in particular, did a great job of portraying George Washington. Made me want to see the same crew handle a series with him as the main figure.

RW said...

I wish someone would do a definitive deal on George. I've seen a few on the cable channels and what not but those are quickie jobs that don't allow anyone to get to the meat.

Dave2 said...

For politicians, revisionist and exclusionary history are the best kind of histories! I see no hope of that ever changing.

Gino said...

the country is not just sick, the nation as we know it suffers from terminal illness.

the death throes are not far off, in my opinion. what's left after that matters more to me than trying to salvage what mirage exists today.

it why i've mostly checked out of politics and pay attention to football.

sybil law said...

Well *I* mind DUI checkpoints, since I don't ever, ever drive drunk. I also think drug testing for almost anyone is ridiculous unless there's some damn good reason to do it (and funny that the people in charge of our lives - doctors - don't get drug tested). I am pretty much like, "Leave me alone over here unless I give you a great reason to think I'm gonna kill you".