Carol Platt Liebau: Not Hers to Give Uph

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not Hers to Give Uph

Hillary Clinton doesn't seem to get it. She has offered to give up some executive branch powers if she's elected President and her "internal review" warrants it.

Here's the problem,though. Executive powers don't belong to the person who happens to be President. They are part of an institutional framework set forth by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.

Other presidents have understood this. That's why, for exmaple, President Bush's administration put up with criticism when it refused to hand over information related to the fundraising scandals from the Clinton administration. That decision wasn't made to help Bill Clinton personally -- it was made to protect the institutional prerogatives of the executive branch. Historically, at least since Watergate, presidents sometimes have been forced to defend their powers against encroachment by Congress. (It's not for nothing that the Federalist Papers flag the legislature as the branch of government most likely to encroach on the others).

To the extent that powers of the executive are secured by the Constitution, they aren't a President Hillary's to surrender. The fact that she'd even talk this way is one more unfortunate reminder that, for the Clintons, office of President isn't something that someone is honored to inhabit as a temporary occupant with an obligation to preserve and strengthen it for their predecessors. They really seem to think that it belongs to them on a personal basis.


Blogger stackja1945 said...

HRC seems to think she will be a Senator and a President. Not as I understand the Constitution. Lincoln is reported to have said he voted yes and that was the end of his cabinet's oppostion. Lincoln understood power. HRC understands political expediency.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I believe Hillary Clinton will "give up" powers like I believe Hillary Clinton is romantically involved with Bill Clinton!

8:49 AM  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Hillary could hardly care less what the structure of the US government is supposed to be by law. To her, it is all a matter of personal power, to be wielded and negotiated as she sees fit. She acknowledges no rules that bind her; rules are for other people only. She is completely above the law in her own eyes.

8:31 PM  

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