Democrats and Republicans Agree: More Power for the President

Whenever partisans from different sides of the political spectrum find themselves in quick agreement, the American people almost invariably suffer. The classic example is the “Bootleggers and Baptists” scenario, in which limited alcohol prohibition is promoted by religious nuts and illicit alcohol producers alike, as such a ban plays to the misguided convictions of the former, and the wallets of the latter. Regardless of the motivations of the prohibition’s proponents, liberty is strangled.

Today’s example of the same scenario is called the No Labels group, and consists of Democrats, Republicans, and several former White House chiefs of staff, all convinced that the presidency needs more power and control. Because a man with an extensive kill-list and a known habit of abusing the living hell out of executive power must need more authority to do his job. Of course his predecessor, a man with an extensive kill-list and a known habit of abusing the living hell out of executive power, didn't give him much in the way of a good example of leadership.

The group has fortunately only got small pieces of its stated goals into Congress so far, according to The New York Times, but the purported ambitions of the movement are quite startling:

Twice a year, the president should be able to introduce legislation directly to Congress for a fast-track vote, which would allow the legislation to pass with a majority vote and without amendments. To qualify for fast-track status, legislation would require 10 sponsors from each party in the House and five sponsors in each party in the Senate. Bipartisan presidential commissions would have similar fast-track authority for their final report if it is in legislative form.

The listed reasons for these changes are even well-intentioned: fixing tax codes and immigration laws, and getting rid of debt. But while both parties have an understandable interest in empowering their own presidents further, one of the curious features of democracy is that the center of power tends to swing back and forth. If Democrats wish to empower their president, they should remember that these same proposed powers will certainly be wielded by Republicans in the future. Lawmakers have a way of forgetting that granting power to the president they are affiliated with today is tantamount to granting power to the opposition tomorrow. One day soon the shoe will find itself on the other foot, and it’s to everyone's benefit to make sure that shoe doesn’t have cleats.

For more on opposing groups working together to pistol-whip lady liberty, go here.

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  • John||

    Let's get a man who can make a plan work!!!

    http://www.stewartglass.net/re.....n_cart.pdf

    See plate 9.

  • Raston Bot||

    That slide show is screaming for the 'airline safety brochure' treatment.

    Also, the internet has slammed the door on some of those govt propoganda fears like controlling the press.

  • $park¥||

    Do the people in Iran and China know about this glorious 'internet' that you speak of?

  • Brett L||

    I don't understand. If they can get 10 sponsors from each party, why the fuck do they need "fast-track" legislation?

  • ||

    This is why the Libertarian Party needs to focus on congressional seats more. If 10 reps are needed and 5 Senators, but only 2 LP members exist in Congress, then nothing can be done! Muwahahaha, libertarians would finally hold ALL OF THE CARDS! Muwahahahaha!

  • Brett L||

    An even better example of why these fucks shouldn't be amending the Constitution or even writing Congressional rules.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I've always thought they should focus on legislative seats, not the White House and dog catcher.

  • Brett L||

    Most of us aren't fit to be dog-catcher, we'd let them live.

  • The Hammer||

    Dog-catcher =/= Cop.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Hey Pro L, not sure which LP you are referring to but all the states with strong LPs focus on Congressional races every two years. CO is fielding all 7 districts this year (we even had a primary for CD3 so 8 i guess) and has great candidates in each as far as I can see. Also, 61 other races at the state level. Everybody in CO will be able to vote for at least 4 Libertarians this November. From Pres. to RTD board...in some cases every race on a ballot will have an LP candidate including the non-partisan ones.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    the 4 min are:
    Pres. VP
    Representative
    CU Regent at Large (our historical largest vote getter)
    And State Senate or House of both.

  • ||

    ::adds Colorado to his list of states to consider moving to::

  • Pro Libertate||

    To the exclusion of the presidential election, I meant, which costs lots of money and uses lots of party resources.

    You'd think the LP could get 10-20 people in Congress if that were the focus.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    I thought exactly the same thing, and see that you only beat me to the punch by a few minutes. Curse me for actually paying attention to work-related responsibilities!

  • Caleb Turberville||

    ...and then Joss Wheedon comes out and says that America is currently (which, I guess, means under the Obama administration) turning into tsarist Russia.

    So, does that mean Romney is Lenin in this metaphor?

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Trotsky.

  • Caleb Turberville||

    I don't know.

    After Romney is elected, if I were Ron Paul, I'd beware strange figures bearing ice picks.

  • SIV||

    Tell Ron Paul:

    Don't fuck ugly,crippled Mexican dykes and you'll be OK.

  • Number 7||

    Selma Hayak is hot!

  • SIV||

    Frida Kahlo wasn't hot. Hayek was horribly miscast.

  • ||

    To qualify for fast-track status, legislation would require 10 sponsors from each party in the House and five sponsors in each party in the Senate.

    Sometimes I wonder if the Parliamentary system is actually better. At least in England there are representatives from 4 major parties, and there are numerous representatives from smaller parties.

  • John||

    It isn't when you consider that English government has an even worse record of protecting civil rights. A parliamentary system allows anyone with a working majority to completely steam roll the opposition all the time until the next election. What obama did to the country passing Obamacare, Tony Blair did to England for ten consecutive years.

  • ||

    True, I guess I meant only as far as opening the number of parties being represented. Their track record is tainted, certainly, but they never exactly had a bill of rights held by the people to check their power (not that it stops what we have going on here). If there was a way to encourage more than 2 parties actually holding congressional seats when we already have the Constitution as a blueprint, well I'd like to think that if nothing else it would throw a few more wrenches into the system.

  • Pro Libertate||

    They're further along the tyranny road than us, so no. We need more checks on power, not fewer.

  • Dylan||

    Here's an idea. Take the number of citizens over 18 and divide by 435 (divide by 100 for the senate). To be a member of the house (or senate) you have to have that many citizens sponsoring you. Each citizen may sponsor 1 member of the house (and 1 member of the senate), and has the option to switch (or drop completely) sponsorship every 6 months.

  • Killazontherun||

    Here's a better idea, plutonium enriched asteroid collides with the Earth. Democracy and every other form of tyranny wiped out in one swoop.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Note: Fast-tracked legislation would be exempt from the president's ironclad, five-day public comment waiting period guarantee.

    Next up: Presidential Prima Nocta...

  • Brett L||

    "Note: Fast-tracked legislation would be exempt from the president's ironclad, five-day public comment waiting period guarantee."

    So nothing would change.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's only a matter of time before presidential decree has the force of law.

  • John||

    We are already there. Look at what Obama did with immigration law? He couldn't get the Dream Act passed so he just enacted it by decree. And a whole bunch of Libertarians applauded it because they want their pony on immigration.

  • Killazontherun||

    I only want a pony so I can beat it.

  • Pip||

    Same with Welfare last week. Don't like Clinton's law? Just say no and throw it away..

  • Cliché Bandit||

    uhhh....there already isn't a need for decree. The press just acts and requires no law to back it up.

  • Trespassers W||

    Here's a limiting principle everyone ought to be able to agree on: would you want the president to have this power if Super-Hitler were elected next?

  • John||

    Once in a while someone in the media will ask a Democrat the question "what if a President Romney does (insert Obama abuse of power here)". And the answer is always "well that is different, we would never allow a Republican President to do this". It makes me want to pound my head with a hammer.

  • ||

  • Trespassers W||

    Whaaaaa... speechless.

  • R C Dean||

    Its like they've never heard of the Iron Laws:

    Me today, you tomorrow.

  • Trespassers W||

    I've heard of this Iron Law of yourz, I just wasn't sure what it meant.

  • wef||

    So is the regime legitimate or not?

  • Drake||

    How about twice a year the President can submit any old laws to Congress for Fast-Track repeal?

  • John||

    This makes me think that we would be better off with Romney. The Republicans are nothing if not consistent. They actually do support executive power even when a Democrat is using it. This is one time where the Democratic hypocrisy works in the country's favor. A Republican President would at least get the Democrats to pretend they care about this shit. With a Democrat in office we are screwed.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    John, you really are a masochist

  • $park¥||

    You misspelled Republican.

  • T o n y||

    "I will never support Mitt Romney..."

    Oh who gives a fuck, it's not even fun anymore.

  • John||

    I still don't support him. But you still love Obama and defend him even though he has been worse about civil liberties and wars than Bush and made a complete fool out of you.

    Face it Tony, you are a whore and a cheap one at that.

  • T o n y||

    You don't seem to understand my political beliefs at all. Let me be clear: I would support a Democrat who personally waterboarded a kindergarten class over any Republican. Is it because I like waterboarding? No. Is it even because I like Democrats? No, they're pussies who can't stand up for anything and are by now just as in the pockets of corporate interests as Republicans. It's because Republicans, if given enough time, will completely ruin this country, if not the entire planet, by sheer stupidity. Its current incarnation is possibly the most corrupt and ideologically rigid major political party in the history of the country. They have decided that rationalists are the enemy, and thus the things they believe and espouse are almost always wrong. Since we'll be stuck with one of the two parties I feel I have only one option. I know you understand this pragmatism, you just apply it to the stupid party for some reason.

  • wareagle||

    You don't seem to understand my political beliefs at all.

    no, we understand all too clearly. You support the party of the state at every and all turns. You blindly support the party that actively courts more food stamp enrollees and decides the welfare reform law does not suit its purposes. That's okay; we get it. Authoritarian boots don't lick themselves.

  • T o n y||

    Both parties support the state, as there is not a politically viable anarchist party in this country.

  • The Hammer||

    No, but there is a politically viable libertarian party.

  • Trespassers W||

    I would support a Democrat who personally waterboarded a kindergarten class over any Republican.

    I think we already understood you perfectly well, but it's helpful when you whip the mask right off like that.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    If this doesn't reveal Tony w/spaces as a sockpuppet, I don't know what will.

  • KPres||

    "The Republicans are nothing if not consistent. They actually do support executive power even when a Democrat is using it."

    So, you're saying Democrats are just partisan hacks, whereas Republicans are genuine ideological statists? Not sure how this brand of "consistency" is preferable.

    A Republican President would at least get the Democrats to pretend they care about this shit. With a Democrat in office we are screwed.

    Better, along this line of thinking, is to root for a R congress and a D president. Then let them obstruct each other.

  • Loki||

    Twice a year, the president should be able to introduce legislation directly to Congress for a fast-track vote, which would allow the legislation to pass with a majority vote and without amendments.

    Nothing could ever go wrong with that plan. Why don't they just go ahead and create a whole new consitition, just four words long. Fuck you, that's why.

  • SIV||

    First we get A Barton Hinkle incorrectly portraying Norman Orenstein as a "conservative Republican" and now we have an intern calling No Labels "bi-partisan". Perhaps nominally so, it includes such hard-right stalwarts as Mike Castle and George Voinovich. Now just as Hinkle could have come up with real examples of Republicans opposing individual liberty, Intern Jones could have come up with examples of actual Republicans supporting more power for the executive branch (see previous administration and their fellow party-member enablers). But neither writer offers actual examples.

    What gives?

    It's almost as if they are trying to bait you guys into voting for Romney or something.

  • John||

    Isn't "no Labels" a sham group make up of liberals trying to pretend not to be liberals and David Brooks type? In my experience they are universally loathed on the right.

  • SIV||

    Yes. This whole article/post is about No Labels.

  • Killazontherun||

    Without free publicity from the New York Times you would never even hear of their pathetic nonsense.

  • 0x90||

    Meanwhile, in Madrid: Los funcionarios cortan el centro de Madrid en otro día de protestas.

    "This is a robbery, hands up," they chant, in a fit of humorously unintentional honesty.

  • Killazontherun||

    http://nerdapproved.com/misc-w.....l-1-image/

    AC 6? Under what edition rules. A 9 at best under 2.5.

  • $park¥||

    Under 3.x rules. AC starts at 10 and a Dex of 3 has a -4 penalty. Starting with 3.0, higher AC is better.

  • Ska||

    I should have hit refresh, but yeah.

  • Ska||

    With a dexterity score that low it's more like AC 13 (back when low AC was good).

    NERDS!!!!!!!!!!

  • ||

    INT: 6? He's already more fit for Congress than most of the critters we have in there.

  • $park¥||

    He obviously tanked his scores to boost his CHA. Too bad he didn't start with a better point buy.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    "it’s to everyone's benefit to make sure that shoe doesn’t have cleats"

    Also, that the boot on your neck isn't hobnailed.

  • T o n y||

    I'm not sure what libertarians find freedom-y about the normal US legislative process. Just take the president out of this proposal and you get what people bitch about wanting: up or down votes without carving up by special interests.

  • John||

    Don't worry, next January Tony will start to worry about executive power again. And stopping wars will become a fierce moral urgency again.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Civil rights will be a concern, as will killing US citizens without trial. Also: deficits!

  • T o n y||

    And you'll be just as vigilant about those things as you are now, no doubt.

  • T o n y||

    No wait, I remember. You've explained that you are in favor of executive power and can't get enough of oil wars.

    Thus your consistency makes you better.

  • wareagle||

    let's have an actual "oil war" before judging the concept. Thus far, the term only has rhetorical value from the left, and even then only when a Repub is in the Oval.

  • T o n y||

    I'd include Libya. Would you rather have another Libya or another Iraq? Say there's no third option.

  • Virginian||

    Except there is you mendacious cunt. Not going to war unless the security of the Republic is threatened. Simple fucking test.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    False...Choice...much?

  • $park¥||

    Ah yes, freedom is 30 people scribbling out new laws as fast as they can with nobody to stop them. That's way better than 535 people clawing, biting, bitching, moaning, and struggling to get anything passed.

  • williamh||

    The opening paragraph reminds me of a conversation I recently had with an attorney I went to school with. We were enjoying a joint with some friends, and I told him he should call his reps in the NJ Assembly to support the bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession.

    To which he essentially replied, "Screw that. I'll call them and tell them to support it. I make a lot of money off drug possession cases."

    When I asked him what would happen to him as a NJ attorney if he was caught with the pot we were smoking, his answer was pretty much, "I'm white and don't drive a piece of shit car. I'm good."

  • williamh||

    Sorry, second paragraph should be "I'll call them and tell them to OPPOSE it."

    Must have been the pot.

  • ||

    Someone else has pointed out here before that the when the original representation numbers were drawn up, it was something like 1 rep for every 30,000 people, so that one person had to be on a more or less personal level with the entire community. Extrapolate that to now and we should have (does some fuzzy math) like at least 1,000 more representatives in Congress. Anything to slow down the process of government creating more suffocating laws is a plus in my book.

  • Brendan||

    Assuming wikipedia is right and we have about 312 million people in this country, that works out to 10,400 Reps.

    Could be interesting. We'd have to go the route of New Hampshire and pay them a fixed salary in the 3 digits. Would each of the 10,000 get an aide, office, etc.?

    I still like the idea, just think that the scaling would screw us. We'd probably have to go do 1/300,000 and bring the number closer to 1000.

  • Scotticus Finch||

    Ugh. Imagine the shitty ballplayers who'd be drafted if the NBA went to 600 teams. Congress doesn't exactly have that many LeBrons as it is.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'm all for less LeBrons.

  • Scotticus Finch||

    I'm confused by my own analogy now, since I dislike the actual LeBron...

  • Metazoan||

    Yeah this seems like a good idea. And harder to buy off, too, because there are so many more people

  • Voros McCracken||

    On the other hand, the value of purchasing a Congressman would drop sharply.

  • ZundoRann||

    Those guys really seem to know which way is up. Wow.

    www.Get-Private.tk

  • ant1sthenes||

    Since the appropriate label is "fascist", I can see why they'd want to avoid one.

  • Sam Grove||

    These people may give lip service to democracy, but they seem to be monarchist as well.
    Democratic monarchists.

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