Saturday, October 6, 2012

President doesn't make law; Congress does

10:50 PM, Oct 3, 2012 
Written by Richard THOMPSON
All the president is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing, and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.

— Harry S. Truman

In just over a month, we will know who is to be our president for the next four years, Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.
If we pick the right guy, surely he will solve all of our problems, single-handedly, in a year or two.
All we have to do is sit back and wait for him to lead us down Easy Street.
Poppycock. Even if there were easy overnight fixes, the president could not implement them without congressional action.
Granted, a president carries the ball in a few instances. As commander in chief, he can either promise to get Osama bin Laden and fail, or quietly lead
a successful assassination effort.
Also, the president is diplomat in chief. His words and actions abroad either enhance our international image or fuel anti-American sentiment.
However, closer to home, a president cannot keep the American dream alive without the cooperation of Congress. Harry Truman reminds us in his inimitable, cantankerous way that presidents do not have lawmaking authority.
All a president can do is suggest and promote a legislative agenda. Congress bears the responsibility for whether that agenda sees the light of day.
A president’s agenda might reflect belief in government of, by and for the people. That agenda will fail if the House of Representatives and Senate are controlled by people who believe in government from the top down, with no respect for their presumed inferiors.
The point is: We must pay as much attention to choosing representatives and senators as we do picking a president.
Judging from Congress’ recent approval ratings (as low as 10 percent in some
polls), we have not been doing a good job of that.
Our forefathers presumed that Congress and the president would always preserve their brilliant system of checks and balances.
How can either President Romney or President Obama be effective if we send to Congress a bunch of extremists, liberal or conservative, who dismiss checks and balances as lily-livered compromise?
The most effective campaign commercial this year is Claire McCaskill’s claim that she is a voice of reason.
Her ad points out that senators are rated on a scale from extreme liberal to extreme conservative. McCaskill proudly claims that she is No. 50, right in the middle.
That is a gutsy way to campaign in a political world seemingly controlled by extremists. It is a clear expression of understanding checks and balances.
I hope McCaskill’s campaign approach works.
The nation is watching the Missouri senate race, for several reasons. If McCaskill wins, future candidates nationwide might run on a platform of
reason and common sense.
Congress might include more problem solvers and fewer position takers. Checks and balances could finally once again become the law of the land.

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