11/21/14 The Imperial Presidency

“The President acts like a king,” said the Senate Leadership.

“This President has exceeded his constitutional authority and supplanted Congress and the will of the people,” said the House leadership.

“I will act in the best interests of the nation,” declared the President.

“Treason,” shouted the Congress.

“Treason,” shouted the President.

This was in the 1830’s. The President…Andrew Jackson.

Jackson was earlier fingered as an unindicted co-conspirator in the successful treason prosecution of former Vice-President Aaron Burr. Calhoun was connected with the treasonous Nullification movement in 1835, which is when the Civil war nearly broke out the first time. Treason, Imperialism, and other political categorizations are in the eye of the beholder, or the slanderer, of the libeler, as it were.

The press? Always partisan, as the idea of professional, impartial journalism had not been invented yet. It has since been invented, but is more of an ideal than an actuality. Humans can only partially disguise their partiality; it never goes away.

The Congressional leaders? Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, and Daniel Webster. President Jackson even had the ignominy of having Calhoun as a hostile Vice-President at a time when the election process was a bit different.

This battle never ends, nor is it new. There is enmity between the Executive and the Legislative branches. The enmity that exists today is sure to continue, which is a good thing since it fosters debate, and prevents any branch from obtaining too much power.

When the legislators and the executive come together in agreement is during truly perilous times. While the times we live in seem particularly perilous, they are perhaps not a perilous as in 1812, when the British invaded, burned the new White House, causing President Madison and his comely wife, Dolly, to flee.

There have been times pitched as truly perilous, but not nearly as perilous as posited by interested parties. The mysterious explosion of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898 is thought by many to have been a false flag operation to precipitate the Spanish-American War. I can’t verify that, nor can anyone else, though some seem persuaded of it. Some think the events of 9/11 were a false flag operation. Hmmmm! No matter what is said here, minds will not be changed. I will leave it at that.

Just remember that claims of imperial presidencies are not new. Nor are imperial presidencies cloaked in causes celebrating the protection of the common man, which again would include Jackson, both Roosevelts, too, and arguably others, including our current president.

What has changed other than the seeming urgency of our current times merely because they are current to us?

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., wrote a book entitled THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY in 1973. Hmmmm! Who did Schlesinger, the historian and author, have close ties with and who was President in 1973? (Democrats, Nixon). Even though Schlesinger is closely connected with the Kennedy administration and worked with Bobby Kennedy’s campaign prior to his assassination, whose Presidency is affectionately called “Camelot”? That word certainly lends an imperial air to the Presidency, does it not?

Every President will take executive actions if he thinks he can get away with it.

Every opposition party will cry foul.

Please explain to me why this should be surprising?

The issues surrounding Immigration/immigration reform and presidential imperialism are not the same thing.

©2014 Mississippi Chris Sharp

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