Profile image
By The Cato Institute Event Videos
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

Policy Perspectives of the Presidential Candidates: Executive Power and the Role of the Presidency

Sunday, October 30, 2016 15:51
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Over the last decade and a half, the “most powerful office in the world” has grown even more powerful, thanks to two presidents in a row who repeatedly pushed the limits of executive authority. The Bush administration’s mission, as described by Vice President Dick Cheney, was to “leave the presidency stronger than we found it.” Mission accomplished: when Bush and Cheney left office in January 2009, they passed on to Barack Obama the vast new powers they’d forged in the War on Terror and the financial crisis of 2008. As president, Obama in turn pushed those powers still further. Boasting that “I’ve got a pen and a phone,” our 44th president increasingly governed by unilateral directive in areas ranging from education policy, immigration, and environmental regulation at home to military action abroad — ensuring that his successor will inherit a presidency with dangerously expansive powers. (Thanks, Obama.) The two leading candidates for the job are also the most widely distrusted major-party nominees in the history of polling. Yet, barring a miracle, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will inherit all the weapons of the radically enhanced presidency: the pen, the phone and the drone. Hillary Clinton has said she’ll go “as far as I can, even beyond President Obama” in ruling by decree; Donald Trump has said he’s going to “do a lot of right things” with executive authority: like use the antitrust laws to silence his critics; create a database tracking Muslim citizens; and force Apple to make the iPhone in the United States. The spectre of a Trump or Clinton presidency ought to concentrate the mind wonderfully: no one person should be trusted with the powers the modern president holds — least of all, either of the people most likely to be president in January 2017. Can public distrust of Trump and Clinton help “counteract the Cult of the Presidency,” as George Will recently suggested, and dispel “magical thinking about the wonders of executive power”? Does our current dilemma offer an opportunity for a congressional resurgence — a chance for Congress to relimit a presidency that’s grown beyond its constitutional bounds? Join Cato vice president Gene Healy for a discussion about the dangers of executive overreach and the means for restraining it.


We encourage you to Share our Reports, Analyses, Breaking News and Videos. Simply Click your Favorite Social Media Button and Share.

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Top Global


Top Alternative




Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.