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Fri Dec 14, 2018, 08:26 AM

Abolish the Office of the President?

Last edited Fri Dec 14, 2018, 10:00 AM - Edit history (1)

I came across these questions and conclusion question while researching something else.

Do you think that:

- The Constitution vests too much power in the Office of the Presidency?
- The position has been abused multiple times thru US history to expand the office's powers (FDR's use of Executive orders? GWB's creation of an extrajudicial surveillance state? Modern presidents have used the mass media (specifically TV) to craft an image that has engendered an almost cult of personality?)
- Congress has abdicated its power to a single central locus of power who is almost impossible to remove from office?
- The power of impeachment has failed to remove a sitting President, no matter how deserving? (It was the illusory power of impeachment that chased Nixon from office).

These (and other questions) raise the final question: Should the office of president be abolished and replaced with something else (more inline with what the Constitution originally intended: someone who was to execute the laws passed by Congress, appoint some key government posts, interface with foreign leaders, and use the veto to check populist passions) and return the true power of government to Congress who is far more democratically sensitive than the Office of the President?

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ETA: I am not taking a position one way or the other but rather bring this up because I found the questions and suggestions intriguing and thought that some here might be intrigued as well.

9 replies, 590 views

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Abolish the Office of the President? (Original post)
melm00se Dec 14 OP
rgbecker Dec 14 #1
katmondoo Dec 14 #2
TreasonousBastard Dec 14 #3
genxlib Dec 14 #4
Codeine Dec 14 #5
sarisataka Dec 14 #6
MarvinGardens Dec 14 #7
Squinch Dec 14 #8
VOX Dec 14 #9

Response to melm00se (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2018, 08:41 AM

1. I'd back the idea.

Use of the military in all the various forms over the last 50 years would never have happened if it had to wait on the Congress to agree to it. And if I'm wrong about that, then the rapid extraction of the military from Viet Nam, Iraq etc. would have quickly followed after the subsequent elections.

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Response to melm00se (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2018, 08:43 AM

2. Well, it is a thought

Right now we elevate the President to almost having the power of a GOD, similar to that of the Egyptian Pharaohs who did think they were GODS.

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Response to melm00se (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2018, 08:48 AM

3. There was a lot of talk about that in the 1700's, and after the failure of...

the Articles of Confederation. And one of the main reasons for failure was the lack of a powerful national leader.

So, when they wrote the Constitution, they gave us a President with what they thought was appropriate powers. They also unified the head of state and head of government functions. (Britain has the Queen as head of state, the Prime minister as head of government)

As the nation grew, it turned out that the president could amass more power than a divided congress often could. Andrew Jackson pretty much ran roughshod over Congress and showed everyone how to do it.

Impeachment was intended to be difficult so the president wouldn't be tossed out over some temporary disagreement, and giving the power to enact laws to congress was supposed to reduce presidential power.

It's not perfect, but is there another solution?

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Response to melm00se (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2018, 08:49 AM

4. Geez

I know Trump is a gangrenous infection of a President but I don't think we are ready for an amputation yet.

Bearing in mind that preventing a Trump or Nixon also prevents an Obama or Clinton.

If I were dreaming about such a major change to the Constitution, I would get rid of the Electoral College so that the position was much more representative. On the flip side, outlaw dark money, voter suppression and gerrymandering so that the Congress is more responsive and stronger in their intended role.

If I really were given a magic wand to change a major branch of government, I would change the Senate so that it better represented population distribution.

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Response to melm00se (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2018, 09:01 AM

5. One doubts this conversation would garner much traction

were we still in the Obama years.

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Response to melm00se (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2018, 09:12 AM

6. Sure,

And to show our commitment let's make this a priority after the, presumed, Democratic wins in Congress and the WH move to limit the power of the new President until an Amendment can be passed abolish the office of said President.

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Response to melm00se (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2018, 09:48 AM

7. Provocative post title, but not what you are advocating.

You are advocating that the president will "only" be:

someone who was to execute the laws passed by Congress, appoint some key government posts, interface with foreign leaders, and use the veto to check populist passions


So it seems that this would remove from the presidency control of the military. At first I also read this to remove from him/her control of the administrative state, but not really because:

someone who was to execute the laws passed by Congress


is what the administrative state does. Maybe appointment of judges would be remove from the presidency too? Kick that to Congress? And who will control the military?

It seems you want to weaken the presidency but certainly not abolish it. Congress could take back much of this power any time they wanted. But when Congress and the president are of the same party, Congress tends to want to increase presidential power. And when they are of differing parties, Congress usually lacks the veto-proof majority to pass a law weakening the president.

Here's my proposal: Cabinet members would require appointment by the president and approval by both houses of Congress. Then once a year, both houses would have to up-vote that cabinet member, or else they would be removed and replaced. This would not be an impeachment, but rather a simple firing. And maybe the president could still fire them sooner than that, just like now, so that the cabinet member is still answerable to the president, but also to congress. This proposal would require a constitutional amendment.

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Response to melm00se (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2018, 09:57 AM

8. Sigh.

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Response to melm00se (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2018, 09:59 AM

9. Two presidents, one for them and one for us.

Of course it wouldn’t work, but I’m outside the damn box. Or inside it simultaneously, Schrödinger-wise.

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