Mike Pence on the Limits of Presidential Power

by 1389 on September 22, 2010

in 1389 (blog admin), Barack Hussein Obama, military, RINOs, Tea Party, U.S. Constitution, U.S. Supreme Court

Originally posted on 2.0: The Blogmocracy

Mike Pence reveals Obama’s disrespect for America

In this recent speech, US Representative Mike Pence (R-Indiana 6) dramatically reveals just how much Barack Hussein Obama and his followers truly disrespect not only the US Constitution, but America itself. He also sets forth what anyone who occupies the Oval Office should be doing.

Mike Pence’s Hillsdale College Speech on the Presidency

By Rep. Mike Pence on 9.20.10 @ 8:08PM

…Isn’t it amazing, given the great and momentous nature of the office, that those who seek it seldom pause to consider what they are seeking? Rather, unconstrained by principle or reflection, there is a mad rush toward something that, once its powers are seized, the new president can wield as an instrument with which to transform the nation and the people according to his highest aspirations.

Without proper adherence to the role contemplated in the Constitution for the presidency, the checks and balances in the constitutional plan become weakened. This has been most obvious in recent years when the three branches of government have been subject to the tutelage of a single party. Under either party, presidents have often forgotten that they are intended to restrain the Congress at times, and that the Congress is independent of their desires. And thus fused in unholy unity, the political class has raged forward in a drunken expansion of powers and prerogatives, mistakenly assuming that to exercise power is by default to do good.

Even the simplest among us knows that this is not so. Power is an instrument of fatal consequence. It is confined no more readily than quicksilver, and escapes good intentions as easily as air flows through mesh. Therefore, those who are entrusted with it must educate themselves in self-restraint. A republic — if you can keep it — is about limitation, and for good reason, because we are mortal and our actions are imperfect.

The tragedy of presidential decision is that even with the best choice, some, perhaps many, will be left behind, and some, perhaps many, may die. Because of this, a true statesman lives continuously with what Churchill called “stress of soul.” He may give to Paul, but only because he robs Peter. And that is why you must always be wary of a president who seems to float upon his own greatness. For all greatness is tempered by mortality, every soul is equal, and distinctions among men cannot be owned; they are on loan from God, who takes them back and evens accounts at the end.

It is a tragedy indeed that new generations taking office attribute failures in governance to insufficient power, and seek more of it. In the judiciary this has seldom been better expressed than by Justice Thurgood Marshall’s dictum that, “You do what you think is right and let the law catch up.” In the Congress, it presents itself in massive legislation, acts and codes thousands of pages long and so monstrously over-complicated that no human being can read through them in a lifetime — much less understand them, much less apply them justly to a people that increasingly feel like they are no longer being asked, they are being told. Our nation finds itself in the position of a dog whose duty it is not to ask why, because the “why” is too elevated for his nature, but simply to obey.

America is not a dog, and does not require a “because-I-said-so” jurisprudence to which it is then commanded to catch up, or legislators who knit laws of such insulting complexity that they are heavier than chains; or a president who acts like, speaks like, and is received as a king. The presidency has run off the rails. It begs a new clarity, a new discipline, and a new president.

The president is not our teacher, our tutor, our guide or ruler. He does not command us, we command him. We serve neither him nor his vision. It is not his job or his prerogative to redefine custom, law and beliefs; to appropriate industries; to seize the country, as it were, by the shoulders or by the throat so as to impose by force of theatrical charisma his justice upon 300 million others. It is neither his job nor his prerogative to shift the power of decision away from them, and to him and the acolytes of his choosing.

Is my characterization of unprecedented presumption incorrect? I defer to the judgment of the people, which they will make with their own eyes, and ears. Listen to the exact words of the leader of President Obama’s transition team and perhaps his next chief-of-staff: “It’s important that President-Elect Obama is prepared to really take power and begin to rule day one.” Or, more recently, from the words of the latest presidential appointment to avoid confirmation by the Senate, the new head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wrote last Friday, “President Obama understands the importance of leveling the playing field again.”

“Take power… Rule… Leveling.” Though it is now, this has never been and should never again be the model of the presidency or the character of the American president. No one can say this too strongly and no one can say it enough until it is remedied. We are not subjects, we are citizens. We fought a war so that we do not have to treat even kings like kings, and — if I may remind you — we won that war. Since then, the principle of royalty has, in this country, been inoperative. Who is better suited or more required to exemplify this conviction, in word and deed, than the President of the United States?…

Notice that WE are not the ones who have been talking to Obama “like a dog.” Project much, Mr. President?

…A president who slights the Constitution is like a rider who hates his horse: he will be thrown, and the nation along with him. The president solemnly swears to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. He does not solemnly swear to ignore, overlook, supplement, or reinterpret it. Other than in a crisis of morality, decency, and existence, such as the Civil War, if he should want to hurry along the Constitution to fit his own notions or designs, he should do so by amendment rather than adjustment, for if he joins the powers of his office to his own willful interpretation, he steps away from a government of laws and toward a government of men.

Whereas, at home, the president must be cautious, dutiful, and deferential, abroad, his character must change. Were he to ask for a primer on how to act in relation to other states, which no holder of the office has needed to this point, and were that primer to be written by the American people, whether of 1776 or 2010, you can be confident that it would contain the following instructions:

“The President of the United States of America bows to no man. You do not bow to kings. When in foreign lands, you do not criticize your own country. You do not argue the case against the United States, but, rather, the case for it. You do not apologize to the enemies of the United States. Should you be confused, a country, people, or region that harbors, shelters, supports, encourages, or cheers attacks upon our country, the slaughter of our children, our mothers, our fathers, our sisters, and brothers… are enemies of the United States. And, to repeat, you do not apologize to them.”

Closely related to this, and perhaps the least ambiguous of the president’s complex responsibilities, is his duty as Commander-in-Chief of the military. In this regard there is a very simple rule, unknown to some presidents regardless of party:

If… and it is perhaps the biggest “if” any president can face, for it will follow not just him but hundreds of thousands or millions of others, not just for the rest of their lives but, in cost of blood and souls, beyond life itself.

If… and it is an “if” that requires long and deep thought, tremendously hard labor at determining the truth of things, a lifetime of education, the knowledge of a general, the wisdom of a statesman, and the heart of an infantryman….

If… after careful determination, intense stress of soul, and the deepest prayer….

If, then, you go to war, then, having gone to war, by God, you go to war to win.

You do not cast away American lives, or those of the innocent noncombatant enemy, upon a theory, a gambit, or a notion. And if the politics of your own election or of your party intrude upon your decisions for even an instant — there are no words for this.

Read the rest.

Now what?

How do we fit in to this?

Simple. If those in the government fail to abide by the Constitution, it is our job not only to throw the miscreants out of office, but also to continue holding all politicians’ feet to the fire so that they dare not stray from the limited-government path.

By simple, I mean that the concept of limited government, and the strategies that we must follow to make it happen, should be easy for anyone to understand. The effort will take a lot of diligence, courage, moral clarity, and stamina. We must work to build up those virtues within ourselves.

The Tea Party and ‘Tucker’s Law’

By William Tucker on on 9.21.10 @ 6:09AM

…What we have been witnessing in this country, then, is a slow but steady erosion of individual freedom through the gradual centralization of everything in Washington. This has not been achieved by one big blow, like the Russian Revolution, but is the cumulative effect of a thousand little movements, each intent on achieving its own piece of “reform” by demanding that decision-making be centralized in order to accomplish their agenda. Each faction soon discovers that by bringing their small and perhaps even unpopular effort to the Capital, they can attain the greatest amount of leverage with the smallest amount of resources.

Look at the environmental movement. Environmentalism has always been an issue whose support is a mile wide but an inch deep. Everyone is in favor of clean air, clean water and protecting mother earth, but if it comes to paying an extra 50 cents for gasoline or buying a toilet that has to flush twice to do its job, support quickly evaporates. Therefore government mandates are necessary. I recall reading a book written in the early stages of environmentalism where the author was counseling his fellow nature lovers on how to grow their effort. “When we think of implementing an environmental agenda, our thoughts turn to government regulation,” the writer said. “And when we think of government regulation, our thoughts naturally turn to Washington.” No point in trying to persuade your fellow citizens. Just get down to Washington and start making law.

Ralph Nader was the first person of his generation to perceive this. When Nader started out in the early 1960s, the common career path for an ambitious young lawyer who wanted to enter politics was to go back to his hometown, start a legal practice, make a name for himself and run for town council around age 28. If things went well you could move up to the state legislature at 32 and run for Congress by 35. Then you could go to Washington and start influencing national policy.

Nader perceived that all this was unnecessary. All you needed was a law degree and a small office near the Capitol. Start poring over the Congressional Record. Target some small bureaucratic agency, broadcast the news that their lack of oversight was creating a “crisis” and you’re on your way. The more you prove the agency isn’t doing its job, the bigger it grows. And the bigger it has to grow, the easier target it becomes. Bring a lawsuit and pretty soon you may be running the agency yourself through court orders.

This has been America’s history over the last half century. Failing to muster enough support at the grassroots level, thousands of political reform movements have found the best way to advance their agenda is to centralize decision-making in Washington and then concentrate their small but dedicated resources on dictating policy to the rest of the country.

So here, at last, is Tucker’s Law:

“The less support a group has for its agenda in the general population, the more intent it will be on centralizing authority so that its limited leverage will have the largest impact.”

Where does the Tea Party fit into this? Very simple. The Tea Party is made up of people who have no special interests but only a general interest in moving decision-making out of Washington so they can go back to living normal lives. They are the antithesis of all the hundreds and thousands of special interests that have migrated to Washington over the past half-century. Their only interest is not to be bothered by Washington and not to have federal bureaucrats interfering with their lives.

All the statistics bear this out. Tea Party members are more successful than the general run of the population. They are more educated and have more income. They have very little political experience and no interest in expanding the government. They are “anti-politicians.” This reverses a long tradition in American history going back to the early days of the Republic when Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “In America there are so many ways of making a living that a man doesn’t usually enter politics until he has failed at everything else.”

Can such a movement succeed? Sadly, the career path of such reform efforts is drearily familiar. Time and time again, reformers from both parties have won election by preaching the virtues of small government, only to resume their place at the table and begin carving out their same portion. This has happened over and over.

Yet this time it feels different. The Tea Party is steeped in the traditions of the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution. One of the most powerful myths of that era was of George Washington as Cincinnatus, the Roman farmer who abandoned his fields to lead a successful defense of his country, then renounced his authority and returned to his plow only sixteen days later.

Can Tea Partiers save the Republic from bankruptcy and then return to their fields to resume their regular occupations? If they do the job right, they will find their ordinary lives waiting for them when they get back.

Read the rest.

It is not only the Obama Administration that fears the Tea Party. As many have pointed out, many who are nominally of the Republican Party fear the Tea Party also. And well they should! For too long, they have grown comfortable with being Washington insiders, Republicans in name only (RINOs), “reaching across the aisle” to make deals with the Democrats that expand government power and endanger our freedoms.

It’s time to hold them accountable too. Vote out those who have failed to uphold the Constitution. Impeach and remove those whom we cannot vote out, especially judges. After the elections, continue to hold all politicians’ feet to the fire. The people should never fear their government; the government should fear its people.

Politician's feet being held to the fire - Click for full-sized image

Get the full-sized image from Gates of Vienna.

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