We no longer have a president in the United States of America. While the title remains, the position does not. The role of our chief executive, as outlined in the Constitution of 1787, is a distant relic compared to the role now played by the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The framework has been altered. The structure has been changed. You might even say the system has been… “fundamentally transformed.”
What we have in the United States is an elected monarch.
Yes, monarch as in a king. I don’t say that as a pejorative or an insult. No I don’t think it’s a positive direction for the country, but I am merely stating this as an observation coming from a government teacher who has done a fair share of study and research through the years into the function of various authority structures in world history. We might as well be honest about what we have and how we operate. The deception of saying we live in a constitutional republic does a disservice to the intellect and benefits no one in the long run.
And by the way, it’s not just me that recognizes this. Far smarter men, like Francis Buckley, a law professor at George Mason University, has pointed out the exact same thing.
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At the Constitutional Convention one of the Founders, George Mason, warned that this would be the path any American executive branch would eventually take. He further warned, prophetically, that an elected monarch is far more insidious a threat to liberty than a monarch by birth. That may seem counterintuitive but it makes sense. An elected monarch means that the position is subject to corruption, collusion and worst of all, it gives an air of legitimacy – bad actions are excused because, “Well, the people elected him.”
That is precisely where we are today. Our monarch does what he wants and is not bound by congressional statute or even the Constitution. Now, this certainly is not a problem tied exclusively to Barack Obama. Previous presidents have exhibited the behavior as well. They act, then when the action is constitutionally or legally questioned, they brush it off as mere partisan rancor and bickering. The only time that doesn’t work is if the media decides to trumpet the scandal and the monarch’s own party members turn on him (think Nixon). If this is truly where we are as a nation, then the Constitution has become pliable to whatever the president wants.
So many examples abound, but the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange is a great one.
Set aside the obvious incompetence this exchange exudes (calling a deserter someone who “served with distinction and honor” when there is plenty of evidence easily accessible to prove the opposite) and even the tone deaf foreign policy it demonstrates (we sold out our friends in Afghanistan and dealt behind their backs). The illegality of this move is unquestioned. Jeffrey Toobin, a left-leaning legal analyst put it bluntly:
I think he clearly broke the law. The law says 30-days’ notice. Give 30 days’ notice. Now, it is true that he issued a signing statement, but signing statements are not law. Signing statements are the president’s opinion about what the law should mean…The law is on the books, and he didn’t follow it.
That is a stunning observation, and yet it is stated passively and without urgency on CNN. All of the other networks know this reality. Some report it. But there is nothing further to be done, apparently. Here is an explosive storyline where the president egregiously and obviously broke the law, and other than a handful of news reports that discuss that fact, there is no furor. Congress doesn’t take action, but simply brushes it off. The public is unconcerned and unmoved. And then we’re all treated to the monarch coming out and giving his explanation for why he did it: (1) This was somebody’s kid (despite the fact that this is a 28 year old deserter who cost American lives, not a 6 year old who got lost in the local Afghanistan Zoo), (2) They were dealing with bad folks and negotiations were volatile, (3) They saw an opportunity and had to take it.
And that’s that. Nothing else will happen. The story, just like the outrageous offenses of Fast and Furious, Benghazi and the VA Scandal, will fade from the news and everyone will go on about their business as the monarch’s power has been re-solidified and strengthened.
When the President does not feel subject or accountable to the people; when he feels entitled to act in any way and then simply offer a begrudging and condescending lecture of disapproval to anyone who questions it later; when he feels no legal or constitutional justification is necessary for what he deems a “good opportunity” to act; when he admonishes people to just accept his decision and quit their annoying and partisan objections…we are no longer dealing with the president of a constitutional republic. We are dealing with an elected monarch.
Somewhere George Mason is singing a round of “I Told You So.”
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.