If you’re a Democrat, you may believe the answer to this country’s woes lies in electing Hillary Clinton. If you’re Republican, you conversely may believe we can make America great again by electing Donald Trump. The real problem with this election, and American politics in general, is most Americans just assume the president, one person out of a country of 320 million, should wield that much power.
Each of the candidates are promising to solve America’s economic woes, to create jobs, to fight terrorism and much, much more. If elected, the candidates will build walls, raise the minimum wage, provide free college, punish American companies who take jobs overseas, provide free healthcare for everyone and either deport illegal aliens or give them citizenship.
The question really shouldn’t be what they promise or what they don’t promise to do if elected. The question really should be “where do they think they would get this power?”
These people, and others like Governor Gary Johnson, are essentially interviewing for a job. We will be their employers and it is We the People who are conducting the interview. If that is true, then when was the last time anyone compared the bombastic rhetoric and promises coming from the candidates to the actual job description?
The United States Constitution very clearly spells out exactly what the powers, responsibilities and expectations are for anyone who hold the office of the presidency.
Article II Section 2:
“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.”
If our elected officials truly were held to the standard of the Constitution, that same Constitution they swear an oath to “preserve, protect and defend,” whoever is elected to the office of the presidency should be just about inconsequential in our daily lives. Look again at Article II. Really, the president is the commander in chief of the armed forces (and that is a very important power), appoints ambassadors and judges…. And that’s about it. Even these appointments must be approved by the Senate. The president also signs bills into law once they are passed by Congress (that’s covered in Article I, Section 7); ONLY once they are passed by both houses of Congress.
Yes, the president, as the chief executive, can set and frame the national agenda and push bills through Congress that support this agenda. He or she can also certainly try to kill bills in Congress that run counter to the agenda. But, only Congress can make law. Only Congress can spend money – and nothing happens in Washington until the money is allocated.
By the standard of proposing, supporting, pushing the bills that will become law and writing the checks to pay for it all, the most important person in the federal government should be our local Congressman or woman. Wait, do you think just for a moment that is just what our Framers had intended all along?