Although the founders wrote the US Constitution to limit the powers of the federal government, politicians from both sides of the aisle take the position that their power is far beyond what was ever imagined.
And now, John McCain’s new advisor, Michael Goldfarb, is making the claim that the executive branch has “near dictatorial powers”
Read more of what Goldfarb has written at Salon.com:
Mitchell’s less than persuasive answer [to whether withdrawal timetables "somehow infringe on the president's powers as commander in chief?"]: “Congress is a coequal branch of government…the framers did not want to have one branch in charge of the government.”
True enough, but they sought an energetic executive with near dictatorial power in pursuing foreign policy and war. So no, the Constitution does not put Congress on an equal footing with the executive in matters of national security.
Seems that people like Goldfarb are doing a little selective reading. People like Alexander Hamilton clearly wanted a very “energetic” executive branch, but there were many, many others, such as Patrick Henry, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, etc – who wanted co-equal branches.
The Constitution was written under a simple principle – positive grant. In short, what this means is this: The federal government is authorized to exercise only those powers which are specifically given to it in the Constitution.Everything else is â€œreserved to the States, respectively, or to the People.â€
The 10th Amendment, for example, makes it quite clear:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Read more here:
- Why We Have a 10th Amendment
- The Enumerated Powers Act
- The Other Founders: The Dissenting Tradition in America