December 1, 2014

Obama: A Plebiscitary Tribune

George Will: “There have been 1,950 senators since the Constitution was ratified, and none has done as much damage to the institution’s deliberative capacity as Harry Reid has done as majority leader. He has broken its rules in order to rewrite its rules, and has bent its procedures, all in the service of presidential preferences. He and his caucus exemplify how progressives, confident that they know history’s proper destination, are too results-oriented to be interested in institutional conservation. America’s two vainest presidents, Woodrow Wilson and Obama, have been the most dismissive of the federal government’s Madisonian architecture. Wilson, the first president to criticize America’s Founding, was especially impatient with the separation of powers, which he considered, as Obama does, an affront to his dual grandeur: The president is a plebiscitary tribune of the entire people, monopolizing true democratic dignity that is denied to mere legislators. And progressive presidents have unexcelled insight into history’s progressive trajectory, and hence should have untrammeled freedom to act.”

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