Last month, PBS aired the new Ken Burn’s documentary titled The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. Within the 14-hour documentary, Presidents Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt are given the typical splendor for being men of great “vision.”
Men with such prowess, they could not be confined by such nuisances as the U.S Constitution; that we are so blessed to have God bestow such individuals upon us. These men are treated with nothing less than religious veneration, as they poke and prod the country to their ultimate utopia.
The cult-like obsession over the President is clearly apparent when the media fawns over when and where the President takes his vacations, golf outings, restaurant choices and even his favorite college basketball picks.
Yet once ago, the notion of a “great leader” was a considered suspect. In fact, quite the contrary existed; people looked at the Executive branch as being a limited and rather negligible role. Bound to only the listed duties found in Article 2 of the Constitution, the role consisted of:
- Enforce acts of Congress and judgments of the Federal courts (except when those acts violate the Constitution)
- Appoint key positions
- Fill the role of Commander-in-Chief after war is approved by Congress
- Grant pardons and reprieves
- Make and form international treaties
- Report to Congress the state of the country – popularly known as the “State of the Union”
Nothing of the levels of grandeur he feels himself today. The great early American observer, Alex de Tocqueville, wrote that the American President has “but little power, little wealth, and little glory to share among his friends; and his influence in the state is too small for the success or ruin of a faction to depend upon his elevation to power.”
Furthermore, Thomas Jefferson noted that the Constitution should be the solution to limiting Executive power when he wrote, “In questions of powers, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
The Executive branch has come a long way from these founding principles. Whether it’s an expropriation of citizen’s earnings, decreased business opportunities via regulation or sending young men and women into harm’s way, their “visions” of our future often differ from ours.
- Mike Huckabee Says Gun Dealers Should Refuse to Comply with Executive Orders on Background Checks - November 3, 2015
- Obamacare Decisions Undermine American Constitutional System - August 6, 2015
- Texas Bill Seeks To Examine Federal/State Partnerships - February 6, 2015