by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
For more than a century, presidents have expanded the powers of the executive branch while Congress holds the door open. Compounding the problem, an increasing number of Americans see the person who occupies the presidency as an avatar with whom they should place their value, their hopes, and even their sense of purpose. The result has been disastrous.
Embracing a monarchical spirit in everything but name has pulled people away from tending to their local communities, fueled cults of personality, and done great harm to the checks and balances designed to protect our political system.
Borne by the overreaches of the Nixon administration, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. began referring to the executive branch of the American regime as the “imperial presidency.” Lamentably, despite a few brief interludes, we’ve witnessed the nation’s chief executive transform into something worse: The exalted presidency.
Leaders of the White House have become messianic figures to their political and media allies; their missteps and failures are explained away by a majority of their voters, and they receive more and more delegated power from a cowardly U.S. Congress that continues to shrink from its constitutional duties.
How we fix this will be an integral part of any attempt to restore balance to our republic. Indeed, reversing this trend is one of America’s best hopes to roll back the growing sense of disunity that plagues society. …
… Just as the ancient Romans overthrew their last king in favor of a republic in c. 509 B.C., the American Revolution was a denunciation of monarchy in total, not merely a rejection of King George III. Our Founders rightly identified monarchs as emblems of corruption, recognizing that one-man-rule as a way of governing was fundamentally wrong and incompatible with a society that values freedom.