Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top Down Politics

In my last blog, I touched on Dianne Feinstein walking back her succinct comments about leaks coming from the White House.In short, she was taken to the presidential wood shed. It was not too long ago that no president would dare try something like that with a sitting member of the Senate. A Representative maybe but never a Senator.

Senators had and still have the power of "advise and consent".  Judgeships, cabinet posts, ambassadorships were all in thrall of the Senate. To insult one Senator was to insult them all. Party didn't matter as much as being a United States Senator. The Senate was the worlds most exclusive club and worlds greatest deliberative body. Presidents came and went but the Senate was forever. That was then. This is now.

Four things have happened  that has changed everything. First and worst is a president that does not recognize three co-equal branches of government. He is the imperial president and all is subservient to him. Now this would not work with an organized congress with strong leadership that would stand up to an over-reaching president. They would have to understand that their position in government is more important than party politics. That class of leadership does not exist today.

Secondly, the president appoints Czars that rule for him with need for confirmation. They operate in secret, regulate, penalize, and generate either no paper trail or one so hidden it cannot be found. And many of them operate with a very heavy hand. As far as the cabinet goes, they are pretty much ignored by the president. Communication with the president is pretty much non-existent. Most of them are virtually unknown outside of Washington, D.C.

The courts mean nothing to the president. If you remember, he insulted the Supreme Court during a State of the Union address, on TV, in front of the world. Rather than rely on the courts, he relies on his Attorney General. The AG will take any state, city, or organization that stands in the way of their agenda to court. Tie them up in legalistics. And have them drain their coffers until they submit.

Last but far from least, is the power of the purse and the power of favors. In the good old days the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate made committee assignments and office assignments. Those are two powerful clubs. There was a time when the National Committees collected money and doled it out to running congressmen. Those that were secure helped those that were in tough races. Those with no chance got little, because money is a terrible thing to waste if your running for office. All of this is now under control of the president and his minions. It goes to those with unquestioning support. Anything less goes without.

It's ugly out there. That's why I'm cranky. I write my little blog trying to help in whatever way I can. Realistically, I know it is like trying to stem the tide with a teaspoon. But at least I am still trying. Preserve America!

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