Thanks to Pirate’s Cove for the blog of the day pingback, and to them and The Other McCain for the Rule Five links!
Here’s an interesting proposal from Utah Senator Mike Lee: The Article One Project. Excerpt:
The premise of the Article I Project is simple: the federal government is broken, and congressional weakness is to blame.
The authors of the Constitution made Congress the most powerful of the federal government’s three co-equal branches. Congress was designed both as the most powerful and the most accountable to the people.
But over the course of the twentieth century, and accelerating in the twenty-first, Congress has handed many of its constitutional responsibilities to the Executive Branch.
Increasingly harmful federal laws are written by people who never stand for election, via processes contrary to those provided for in the Constitution, and, indeed, with the explicit purpose of excluding the American people from the decision making process and shielding policymakers from popular accountability.
But there’s good news: what a weak Congress has broken a strong Congress can fix.
The constitutional powers necessary to put a representative, accountable federal government back to work for the American people are still right there in Article I, ready to be reasserted.
Now, I’m sure Senator Lee has the best intentions in mind for this proposal, and yes, he is absolutely correct in describing the unconstitutional power grabs by the Executive branch.
But I think he badly underestimates the resistance to such a proposal, not only from the Executive branch but also from Congress. Why?
Because executive overreach is a knife that cuts both ways.
It’s becoming less and less important which of the major parties holds Congress, and more and more important which party holds the Imperial Mansion. Handing one man that much power goes much farther to ensure that his party’s agenda will hold sway.
There are two things you can count on in politics: 1) Congress will never vote to strip themselves of power, and 2) political parties will never vote to make it more difficult to seize and hold power.
Government will never vote to neuter itself. Once any branch of government seizes power, they will fight to hold it. That’s how we came to be in our current predicament.