10 August 2012

A non-messianic presidency

Do Americans expect too much of the president of the United States, and do presidential candidates themselves unwisely encourage such unrealistic expectations in voters?

Back in 1787, when the American founders fashioned their constitutional document for a new federal republic, they began with a discussion of legislative power in Article I, moving on to executive power only in Article II. Why? Because the Congress of the United States was intended to be the preeminent body representing the interests of the people and of the several states, each of which was still jealous of its own autonomy in the new system. When Article I, section 8 sets forth the enumerated powers of the federal government (the remainder being reserved for the states by the Tenth Amendment), the expression, “Congress of the United States,” is for all practical purposes synonymous with the federal government as a whole.

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