The term “Imperial Presidency” became widely used after Arthur Schlesinger wrote his book of the same name in 1973(Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr., 1973. The Imperial Presidency). Schlesinger noted that in the 1930s, the President of the United States had few staff with most of them based in the U.S. Capitol only part-time. However, with the advent of the Great Depression and WWII during FDR’s presidency; he and his administration’s staff were tasked with the leadership of a nation during what some say changed the very scope of the presidency.
FDR presided over one of the first the great new ages of electronic media and along with it the explosive growth of government and the executive agencies under the New Deal and also his “Brain Trust advisors” now called special advisors to the president. It was also during FDR’s tenure in the Presidency that the Executive Office of the President was created in 1939 which some believe led to a transformation of the presidency into the “beginning” of the imperial presidency. A dangerous change NOT held back by the Congress of his time either…I might add.
It would be certainly be an extraordinary woman, man or men who would NOT succumb to the temptations of such great power and influence…enter the Constitution of the United States.
However, an imperial presidency was not what the Framers had in mind…in fact the Founders looked at the Presidency as more of a figurehead, not the ultimate “leader of the free-world”. For example, the first presidents of the fledgling Republic told the Congress how much he thought he would need for running his office. He then sent it over on a hand-written paper to the House where they debated and argued over it a while and then literally GAVE him the money to spend. He depended on the House to finance his office, the government and the business of the Republic. He was NOT the policy maker or even the policy setter in accordance with the Constitution. He was supposed to be the one who hosted foreign dignitaries and in my mind as I read about the early presidents, they were like a third wheel, the ugly girl at the prom. The early Presidents were head of the Executive branch, the branch that ENFORCES the laws…that was pretty much it. They didn’t try to circumvent the Constitution, nor try to convince us that it was an “ever evolving document.”
The people of this small new Republic certainly did NOT look to the presidents of their time to “fix” all their boo-boos and hurts, give them money, food, cars, boats and a job (that would have been called a King). In fact, the people pretty much wanted the president and the government to butt the hell out of their lives and businesses. The imperial presidency of today would have them rolling in their graves.
In a 2006 article by the writer Paul Starobin of the National Journal called “The Imperial presidency has a long history. ” In it Mr. Starobin was quick to proclaim George W. Bush the worst “Imperial President” in modern times because of his over-reaching policies after 9-11 and I guess because Cheney was…well Cheney was just evil…more evil than even evil diabolical Karl Rove Or George W., who was just plain stupid and following the evil orders of the other two more evil guys.
In another related 2006 article (Basil Talbott, CongressDaily ,January 19, 2006) again about the Imperial presidency of George W. and the future SCOTUS hopeful Samuel Alito, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said, “”At a time when the president is seizing unprecedented power, the Supreme Court needs to act as a check and provide balance,” Leahy said. “Based on the hearing and his record, I have no confidence that Judge Alito would provide that check and balance.” http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0106/011906cdpm2.htm?oref=rellink
Huh, well I’m sorry Senator, but I thought that was YOUR job too…ya know to do the checking and balancing stuff…
Just recently according to an article by Pete Kasperowicz, another Congress Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y) woke up from a Rumpelstiltskin like sleep to realize that, “U.S. president is becoming an “absolute monarch” on matters related to the authority to start a war.” http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/168315-house-dem-says-president-becoming-an-absolute-monarch-on-war-powers
Well it ain’t just in “matters of war” anymore, Kee-mo-sabe…We have his folks all up in our shorts & bras at the airport, in our gardens, farms and on our computers…snooping and invading our privacy as they seek to grab more and more unconstitutional power and privilege for themselves.
Now to be fair the Congressman does go on to clarify he is “Not talking about the present president.” But, wait…who else WOULD he be talking about since George W. Bush went to Congress before committing troops or money to the war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq in accordance with the War Powers Act? (Yeah…pipe down, I hear you squealing about how they “got lied to and people died.” Whatever, he asked and didn’t call his war something stupid like a “kinetic military action” then with a straight face told us, “nah it isn’t a war!” Seriously are ya kiddin me? In the words of the great MahaRushdi, war is about breaking things and killing people and I think O’bo has BOTH of those covered in spades with his little kinetic military action for humanitarian purposes.)
Interestingly and suddenly the irrelevant Congress has looked around and realized that the Emperor has stolen their clothes too. Funny, NOW that they’re standing out in the open politically powerless and buck-naked…(not a pretty mental picture I know…especially being “treated” maybe I should say subjected to weiner tweets for weeks on end, but ya get my drift);…only NOW are they starting to get a bit grumpy. So grumpy in fact that even the little press elf Dennis Kucinich backed by his fairy earf mother/wife has taken to the airwaves to gripe about their irrelevancy and their exposure to the elements by the evil imperial president Obo the One…
As I cited, this has not been a recent occurrence. It is just the most recent and the most ardent as presidents HAVE been seizing for themselves more and more powers. Signing statements, executive orders, Czars these are not new to the One…they have been happening since the New Deal. I would even say it has been happening as far back as *gasp* Woodrow Wilson the original evil American emperor himself.
Apparently Rep Jerrold (D-N.Y.) agrees in part because he says, “We have been sliding for 70 years to a situation where Congress has nothing to do with the decision about whether to go to war or not, and the president is becoming an absolute monarch,” Nadler said on the floor. “And we must put a stop to that right now, if we don’t want to become an empire instead of a republic.”
Sliding? You mean like on a slippery slop sliding? Now mind you HE says its been going on for 70 years, but someone on their staff must have just alerted it to them via a Belgium chocolate & Champagne candy gram or something…
“Wow, an empire instead of a Republic…”how swell would that be Wally and Beaver? Especially with the likes of Valerie Jarrett, Green marxists Van Jones, CodePinko with SEIU, Andy Stern and all their gang (kinda like an evil Spanky and our Gang) headin up the community policing duties…that WOULD be swell…
Let me give you a list of things according to some experts that are a telltale sign of an “Imperial presidency”:
Arguments that the United States President has become an imperial presidency are:
- As staff numbers have increased, many people were appointed who held personal loyalty to the person holding the office of president (Valerie Jarrett), and who were not subject to outside approval or control.
- A range of new advisory bodies developed around the presidency, many of which complemented (critics suggest rivaled) the main cabinet departments, with the cabinet declining in influence. The National Security Council and the Office of Management and Budget are prime examples.
- The Senate does not “advise and consent” to appointments to the Executive Office of the President (with only a handful of exceptions), as it does with cabinet appointments. A corollary of this is that EOP personnel may act independent of, without regard for, and without accountability to Congress.
- The Presidency relies on powers that far exceed the Constitutional guidelines and purveyance. Czars and ever expanding roles of current Agency heads come to mind as well.
The extent of foreign policy and war powers of the Presidency are questioned. Also the extent of Presidential secrecy is questioned. See The Imperial Presidency.
- The plebiscitary (I LOVE that word) Presidency is a Presidency that is accountable only during elections or impeachment rather than daily to the Congress, the press (MIA) and the public (also MIA).
The Press did someone say the Press? MIA I think. The above list has been considered by experts to be the evidence of a developing and indeed the ever-growing drift to the the Godzilla of all Imperial Presidencies.
But hey…don’t worry I hear Swamp Queen Nan is going to be “talkin to some of her codepinko folks about rewritten them Ole dusty documents , ya’ll call the Con-stit-tooshun…I hear tell we need some more o them thar freedom thingys that only she and her kin and the pres-ee-dent can give us…