03.13.2015 0

Politics, pie, and military coups

By Robert Romano

senator graham“Here is the first thing I would do if I were President of the United States. I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We’re not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts. We are not leaving town until we restore the intel cuts.”

You want some pie with that?

That was presidential hopeful Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaking at a New Hampshire event, “Politics and Pie” hosted by the Concord City Republican Committee on March 8, saying his first act as president would be to quite literally use the military to compel Congress to end budget sequestration that was enacted in 2011.

In short, to hold Congress hostage until he got his way.

Graham spokesman Kevin Bishop claimed the military line was “not to be taken literally.”

Now, perhaps Lindsey Graham really does think military coups overthrowing republics are funny. And that this is simply a joke.

That would still be pretty bad. Remove the alarming, Caesarist call for military action against a legislative body and just chalk that part up to hyperbole.

What remains is Graham still thinks it is the president’s job, quite literally, to command his will upon Congress, and by extension, the American people.

Fully considered, that is not only not the proper temperament of somebody who would become president, it simply is not the temperament that governs a free society.

Yet, it is the same imperial mindset that has been on display in Washington, D.C. for at least two successive administrations now.

Consider President Barack Obama who repeatedly states, “Where Congress won’t act, I will.”

Or his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, who as he was bailing out GM and Chrysler without Congressional assent in the twilight of his Administration said, “Congress was unable to get a bill on my desk before adjourning for the year. This means the only way to avoid a collapse of the U.S. auto industry is for the executive branch to step in.”

Mitt Romney thought he could “exempt” everyone from Obamacare with the stroke of a pen.

Over the years, every executive agency in Washington, D.C. has more or less been granted powers to write their own rules, to make their own law without any role for Congress. The federal budget operates on autopilot — it need not even be adopted by Congress on an annual basis for the government to continue operating.

You get the idea.

The American mindset has been anesthetized by the administrative state. The government simply acts at will. And the people, for the most part, look on, numb and indifferent to such a practice.

In an earlier day, Graham’s call for a military coup against Congress would never have been uttered, never even been considered, for it is sacrilege.

There is no greater principle undergirding republican liberty than the supremacy of the legislature in making law. The separation of powers is supposed to be an article of faith that binds the Constitution together.

But with Graham, Obama, Bush, and others, it is merely an obstacle to action to be bypassed. Or otherwise, Congress can be compelled to obey.

We are already weary of presidential aspirants who think they are running to be king. This imperious attitude is growing rather tiresome.

Lindsey Graham is nothing special. He’s just the latest example of a power elite that does not even consider the Constitution’s role in limiting executive power.

So, it is really not that funny at all. In fact, it is a tragedy.

But, at least we have pie, right?

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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