Executive orders: Part of the framers’ grand plan

By Brianne Gorod
March 19, 2014

President Barack Obama has used his executive authority to stop deporting undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the United States as children. The administration has also announced that it will stop requesting mandatory minimum sentences for low-level, non-violent drug offenders.

Obama is now using executive orders and other unilateral exercises of executive power to advance his agenda rather than wait on Republicans in Congress.

The GOP has grown increasingly outraged by the president’s actions. House Republicans last week passed the “Enforce the Law Act,” part of a continuing campaign to label any action by the president as “executive overreach.” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) earlier this year felt the need to “remind” the president that “we do have a Constitution.”

Our Founding Fathers, however, would not be surprised that Obama has engaged in unilateral actions. It would surprise them if he hadn’t.

The founders foresaw the need for a strong president who is capable of unilateral action. Indeed, one danger they sought to avoid was an ineffectual president who is incapable of executing the nation’s laws.

The framers learned the hard way, under the Articles of Confederation, about the difficulties created by governing without an executive branch. Scarred by their experiences under England’s King George III, the drafters of the Articles of Confederation decided not to create an executive branch at all. That government lasted just eight years and the absence of an executive branch was a major weakness contributing to its demise.

“A feeble Executive implies a feeble execution of the government,” Alexander Hamilton wrote, “. . . . and a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.”

The framers wrote the Constitution in part to remedy the lack of an executive branch under the Articles of Confederation. They knew that effective governance required an executive branch to enforce the laws passed by Congress.  So they established a strong executive branch headed by a president with the authority to sometimes act alone where the national interest requires it.  Then they gave the president express powers and responsibilities, including the obligation to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Unlike Congress, which was required to meet only once a year, the president had to always be on duty fulfilling his responsibilities. The framers did not want a monarch, but they recognized that a strong president who is capable of unilateral action is no threat to the republic, because of the separation of powers, which Obama’s critics claim he threatens. Just as the Constitution gives some express powers to the president, it gives others to Congress and still others to the courts.  The other branches can use these powers to check a president who goes too far.

One manifestation of a president’s responsibility to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” is prosecutorial discretion — the authority to determine how best to enforce the nation’s laws.

As Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist wrote nearly 30 years ago, an “agency’s decision not to prosecute or enforce [a law] . . . is a decision generally committed to an agency’s absolute discretion.”

After all, the executive branch is in the best position to weigh competing priorities and determine how best to enforce the law. For similar reasons, courts generally defer to executive branch interpretations of the law where there is ambiguity in Congress’ wording — as is often the case.

While not unlimited, this discretion means that Obama has far more latitude than his critics say he does in making decisions about what the law means and how it can best be enforced. This authority extends to matters like deportation and federal law enforcement.

We should not deprive future generations of a system that has safeguarded effective governance for more than 200 years because some of Obama’s opponents want to score political points. House Republicans and Obama’s critics should heed the lesson that the founders learned long ago:  A strong president does not a dictator make.

 

PHOTO (TOP): President Barack Obama signs an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour starting next year, during an event at the White House in Washington, February 12, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

PHOTO (INSERT): Signing of Constitution by Howard Chandler Christy. Courtesy of Architect of the Capitol

PHOTO (INSERT): President George Washington, lithograph of painting by Gilbert Stuart. Courtesy of LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.

36 comments

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Ms. Gorod your politics are showing. You are an apologist for the road to dictatorship. If Obama were a Republican I’m certain that you would be screaming to high heaven about the excesses and use of executive orders. Our founding fathers abhorred concentrated power, it only leads to authoritarian government. Ms. Gorod stop being a political shill and try and study American history and our Constitution without trying to find justification for an overreach of power that DOES NOT EXIST!

Posted by Riobrava | Report as abusive

Excellent article! Well done!

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

Ms. Gorod your politics are showing. You are an apologist for the road to dictatorship. If Obama were a Republican I’m certain that you would be screaming to high heaven about the excesses and use of executive orders. Our founding fathers abhorred concentrated power, it only leads to authoritarian government. Ms. Gorod stop being a political shill and try and study American history and our Constitution without trying to find justification for an overreach of power that DOES NOT EXIST!

Posted by Riobrava | Report as abusive

Very partisan. I can see the roles reversed under a GOP government. A president executive order capability should be limited in some ways but I certainly don’t see any of Obama’s orders as overstepping the mark I am comfortable with. That being said, he will go down in history as a weak president BECAUSE of his reliance on executive orders as apposed to opposition buy in.

Posted by BidnisMan | Report as abusive

I don’t think he as weak as the GOP wants everyone to believe. Remember, they stated the day he took office that they would counter EVERY move he made. No other president has had such a start. And as far as foreign policy goes, just because he won’t start wars is not weakness either, it’s what the people want.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

To the Reuters censors, why should anyone bother to post comments here when you clearly and hypocritically exclude comments that do not meet your political bias.

Posted by Riobrava | Report as abusive

Incompetence and weakness are manifestations of the same issue. Add to that, the guy is lazy and an idealogue–which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to get anything done inside the Beltway where their are diverse agendas and motivations–even within his own party. Remember, you elected the most liberal member of the Senate?

Even in those areas where the President has significant control over the agenda, his failures continue to increase. Starting with foreign policy–see Libya, Eqypt, and now Ukraine. But that agenda was put in place in January 2009 with his philosophy that the U.S. is only one of many nations. Can’t blame that on the opposition.

Posted by COindependent | Report as abusive

Executive order is NOT meant as a bypass to laws or a way to enact personal agenda. Look at the types of EO from each president and it will become clear obama IS abusing the tool.

Posted by gcf1965 | Report as abusive

And yet, since the McKinley administration only George Bush 1 has issued few then the current president.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orde rs.php

These numbers are confirmed in multiple sources. I suppose if he works real hard in his remaining years in office he could match GB2, but according to COindep, he’s probably too lazy for that….

Posted by TheWhiteLine | Report as abusive

GW issued more executive orders than Obama, but that’s okay with Republicans. Congress stated they would oppose anything and everything Obama attempts, and they have, and continue to do so.

Republicans are weak and incompetent, and must resort to false accusations, insults, blatant obstructionism and propagandizing.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive

This political bigotry on the part of US conservatives poses a very serious threat to our nation’s future. I’m not talking about the racial aspect to their unbridled hatred for Obama, though that plays a role. (When Obama became President the Republicans’ “Southern Strategy” first implemented by Republicans in 1968, went nation wide.) What I’m referring to is the way US conservatives want to destroy the Presidencies of any Democratic President regardless of the harm it causes the nation.

To refer to a double standard does not do the problem justice. It would be one thing to have a double standard if it remained confined to political rhetoric. But it goes beyond rhetoric and often approaches any means necessary.

The impeachment of Bill Clinton wasn’t justified. To think we impeached a President for lying about an affair but didn’t even have a thorough special investigation into George W. Bush’s cozening the nation into an unnecessary war.

The Republicans and their conservative backers have floated so many absurd lies about Obama and no one is ever held accountable. In the meantime millions of Americans are left believing the US President faked his birth certificate and is a Muslim who’s imposing socialism on the US. 29% of Republicans in Louisiana hold Obama responsible for the government’s bad response to Katrina. Needless to say, Obama wasn’t President in 2005 when Katrina hit. This is damaging our country.

And yet as usually there are no serious discussions of Obama’s policies, just that he’s lazy and incompetent.

The problem is, they will do the same with every Democratic President. It’s now part of the rightwing strategy, and such an attitude seriously undermines our democratic principles. Our form of government can’t work without a willingness on the part of the different parties coming together and compromising. And it’s especially difficult when the conservative masses are so ideologically driven that all of their positions are automatic: If it comes from a Democrat/liberal, it’s all bad and must be completely opposed. As far as what they believe in, it depends on the day and what the powerful lobbyists’ position du jour is. It’s a very, very serious problem

You can see this inflated hatred in some of the comments here. “You are an apologist for the road to dictatorship.” We’re not remotely close to being on the road to dictatorship and to say that we are belittles the real threat the authoritarianism poses around the world. Look at gcf1965′s and COindependent’s comments. Incompetence? Weak? Lazy? An idealogue? It’s just blind hatred that was taught to these people for political expediency. But it’s become a snowball, getting bigger all the time, and poses a real threat of crashing and causing irreparable damage.

Posted by carnivalchaos | Report as abusive

@carnivalchaos, get over yourself, this is NOT about the two political mafias that run this country, they are both EQUALLY disgusting! And if you don’t think that government by presidential executive order or DICTATE is authoritarian then you need to stop watching reality television and go back and get a basic high school education. If you think that we’re “not remotely close to being on the road to dictatorship” then I suggest that you read about the NSA’s industrial scale spying capabilities that are growing unimpeded. You are one of those completely naive Americans who trusts authority, worships a political party, and does not understand what a free society really is. The reason that you don’t understand our Constitution and think that executive orders are okay is because in 1775 your Loyalist ideals would have matched those of our British masters who also governed with executive orders. Last, are you such a sycophant that you can’t acknowledge or address the fact that words such as incompetence, weakness, and laziness have NOTHING to do with “blind hatred” and may have everything to do with valid characterizations of POOR LEADERSHIP?

Posted by Riobrava | Report as abusive

@Carnivalchaos, best opinion I’ve read in a long time. I appreciate your thoughtful insights.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive

Thank God we do have Executive Orders.

We have a party that wanted to make this president a one term president.

Then when reelected, they committed to blocking legislation to move this nation forward.

The republican party is willing to damage this nation because they do not like a Milano president, so that they can rebuild this nation to their liking.

This good nation will not allow bad actors, such as republicans to stop moving this nation forward.

If republicans continue to act as bad actors they will not be participants to a future in this nation.

Posted by Flash1022 | Report as abusive

@JL4 and Flash1022, ah, the Obama sycophants are out in force this morning. Does everything come down to the phony Demo vs. Repub (go blue team, go red team) for you. Do you always MISS the political point of every discussion because you’ve got your head too far up the behind of political party dogma? Heck, build a statute to your Dear Leader in your backyard and just worship it. Get a clue, no matter what the young Ms. Gorod would like us to believe, governing by executive order was NOT what the framers of our Constitution intended PERIOD!

Posted by Riobrava | Report as abusive

Criminy people! At least get the facts before you comment:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/exe cutiveorders.asp

Obama: 168 Executive orders
GW Bush: 291

btw; I find it curious that Obama has issued so few EO’s in the face of unprecedented GOP obstruction in Congress.

Posted by SunnyDaySam | Report as abusive

@SunnyDaySam, again it’s NOT about how many executive orders Bush or Obama have issued. NEITHER should have or be using executive orders to govern! WAKE UP, when the Demos or Repubs gather in opposition to a president and oppose their agendas it’s NOT “obstruction” it’s how the founders of our Constitution INTENDED our government to work. There is NOTHING new about this and there have been periods in our history when the political battles between the congressional and executive branches of government have been far worse. We do not want ANY political party to govern without OPPOSITION otherwise we will become a dictatorship. STOP crying like babies because you can’t always get your political agendas passed, that is the beauty of the system of government that our wise founding fathers left us. Realize that we have divergent and diverse viewpoints in this country and that is the point of living in a democracy!

Posted by Riobrava | Report as abusive

Riobrava: There’s ‘opposition’ (or as they used to call it, ‘the loyal opposition) and then there’ outright obstruction to the point of sedition. These graphs prove the GOP is the latter:
http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/20 13/11/charts-explain-why-democrats-went- nuclear-filibuster

btw; do you have any facts at all or just name-calling and your opinion?

Posted by SunnyDaySam | Report as abusive

@SunnyDaySam . . . my goodness how thick can you be, and presenting graphs from MotherJones now that’s funny. “Sedition” really, please, get a grip on reality. Did it ever occur to you that Obama’s political agenda is widely opposed by a very large percentage of this country? No, because you are so self-righteous that those opposed to your political agendas are either “obstructionists” or “seditionists”. What a load of nonsense. The “facts” are that a “loyal” opposition to you would be one that would willingly rubber stamp pretty much anything your ideological masters proposed. I suggest studying the National Socialists in Germany in 1938 or the Chavez government in Venezuela for inspiration, you will fit right in.

Posted by Riobrava | Report as abusive

Riobrava – ok, thanks. You answered my question.

Posted by SunnyDaySam | Report as abusive

@Riobrava, calling everyone socialist that don’t agree with you completely discredits you. And virtually all political views have large percentages of opposition.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

Flash1022, do you mean a “mulatto” President? I think a “milano” is a type of cookie. I may be an Republican, but I can get my snacks right.

Posted by 54100 | Report as abusive

@Ricobrava, let’s see – - by that “large opposition” to Obama, do you mean the Republicans who didn’t bother to vote or the ones that did and lost the election, because from where I sit, the Democrats won by popular vote. Those who didn’t bother to vote have no room for name-calling.

It’s interesting that every single President of the U.S. has issued executive orders. Some Presidents and some orders were more popular than others, but they all did it/do it, and in spite of your ire, they will continue to do so because it isn’t unconstitutional.

You mistake being honest with truth. You’re being honest about what you think and how you feel, but it misses the litmus tests of truth.

Please tell us what you think the framers of the Constitution intended.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive

Riobrava: Trading insults back and forth with someone like you is a waste of time. You say nothing in your posts of any substance, but they DO serve to exemplify the kind of numb-minded mindset that has given fertile ground to the very problem I’m referring to.

I don’t see anyone saying that the Democrats are great and hold all the answers. I would strongly disagree with anyone making that assertion, but no one is. I don’t know you, nor can I read your mind, but usually attitudes like yours are held by someone who is very conservative, thinks of himself as a libertarian, and is not really being honest when claiming that both parties are equally disgusting. My guess is that you think the Democrats are much worse than he Republicans and the Republicans’ primary fault is that they aren’t conservative enough, that you would openly advocate for the GOP if they were drastically cutting the size of government, drastically cutting regulations, and drastically cutting taxes, primarily on the rich (“the job creators.”)

But that’s part of the problem. This is a democracy. (Yes, it really is. It’s a type of democracy where we vote on people to represent us in a government that is bound by a Constitution. Understand that no country, that I’m aware of, practices pure democracy. That doesn’t mean that no country is practicing democracy. Conservatives seem to have recently started having trouble with this point, the meaning of democracy.) US conservatives have become insular in their views, policies, and positions and, as I mentioned in an earlier post, are resorting to increasingly extreme tactics to get what they want. They complain about Obama being too authoritarian (which he can’t be because he’s bound by the Constitution and he has remained without those limits), yet the Republicans are increasingly unwilling to compromise and work with this President and the Democrats. That tells me that your complaint isn’t that Obama is being dictatorial. Your complaint is really that he’s doing things that you don’t want to see done, even though Obama was duly elected and is governing within the confines of US law. I suspect that if a strong, charismatic “libertarian” rose to power and started doing everything you want to see done, but has to suspend the Constitution to do it, you would rationalize in your mind and support him.

Next time you disagree with someone’s post, try refuting specific points that they make rather than just resorting to lobbing insults and saying they’re wrong. And for the record, if someone voices something in support of Obama, it doesn’t mean they’re worshiping him like a god. This statement of your is puerile nonsense: “Heck, build a statute to your Dear Leader in your backyard and just worship it.” Trust me when I say such statements do nothing except reflect poorly on the one who’s expressing them.

Posted by carnivalchaos | Report as abusive

More to the point of this excellent op-ed, the only reason conservatives are complaining about Obama’s use of executive privilege is because they are opposed to anything and everything he does. If they could, they’d put a freeze on executive privilege until a Republican is in the White House, if that ever happens again. That’s how much THEY love the Constitution. Today’s conservatives are some of the least patriotic Americans we’ve seen since the South seceded from the Union. They want to prevent our President from governing; they have taken steps to make it more difficult for certain demographics to vote; they have adopted extreme uses of gerrymandering congressional districts that give Republicans more representation than they have people supporting them; they’ve gutted the Voting Rights Act and have given corporations unprecedented power over our government; they have shut down the government for partisan purposes and even came close to forcing our nation to default on our debt obligations. And it’s only going to get worse. They want control and they are willing to go to extremes to get it. Somehow, as unpleasant as it will be, they have to be stopped.

The good news is that there’s nothing they can do about our President’s use of executive privilege. Obama’s right is protected by the Constitution. More aptly put, the Constitution protects OUR right that allows OUR President to execute executive orders.

The right will continue trying to undermine our government and our nation and we will continue to pay a price for that obstruction until enough rational Americans come together and figure out a way to carry on while putting a stop the rightwing obstruction. That’s America’s choice. We either deal with the problem or continue to flounder.

Posted by carnivalchaos | Report as abusive

@carnivalchaos, what you say is true, but I think the democrats are happy to oblige the republicans and indeed have helped them. As we know, without gerrymandering the republican party would not hold a majority at the federal level, and probably loose a lot of states too. The democrats understand this and allow it so we can continue to have a two party system with opposition. Having a single party in absolute power is not a situation either parties wants. In fact we’ve seen senators switch parties to keep the balance of power.
Remember, both parties are paid from the same small groups. Opposition is measured to keep the appearance of democracy.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

@carnivalchaos. . . you’ve really got your panties in a twist over your partisan hypocrisy and continue to fail to address the ridiculous claim of Ms. Gorod’s “editorial” that the founders of our Constitution somehow expressly intended for a President unable to push his legislative agenda through Congress to govern by executive order. NO, there is NO such intent period. The duty of the executive to “enforce” the nation’s laws does not mean that the drafters of our Constitution intended for a President to CREATE NEW LAW BY EXECUTIVE FIAT or to decide to AMEND ALREADY PASSED LAW (Obamacare) without Congressional consent. You, like Ms. Gorod, are only interested in justifying governance by executive order when it is used by your Dear Leader Obama. It’s certain that both of you were screaming the opposite argument when Dear Leader Bush was in power. The simple truth, that you seem incapable of acknowledging, is that governing by executive order is authoritarian no matter who is doing it. Seriously, do you even think about how ridiculously hypocritical you sound when you write, “the only reason conservatives are complaining about Obama’s use of executive privilege is because they are opposed to anything and everything he does.” Substitute the words “liberals” and “Bush” in your sentence and you get the same stupid argument. Last, you really need to cut down on the KoolAid intake. Making a statement like, “the right will continue trying to undermine our government and our nation” is just pompous hyperbolic gibberish.

Posted by Riobrava | Report as abusive

This article strikes a level of abstraction that obscures several important issues.

Yes, the Founders contemplated that executives could issue directives to those under their supervision, but also empowered Congress to restrict whom he could supervise and how. All a president can do to someone who defies an order is to fire him, and he does not have the power to fire all those he may appoint. Some, once appointed and confirmed, are independent of his supervision, and must make their own decisions about which statutes are constitutional and which are not. The president has no authority to order civilians to do anything unless they are called up as militia, and there are limits on that as well.

There are limits to what any president can lawfully or practically do using executive orders. The subject needs to be discussed at the level of detail appropriate to each.

Posted by Jon_Roland | Report as abusive

What nearly every examination of this kind neglects to remember, is that all Statute is Municipal, bearing on the ‘Members of the Polity’.

In researching ‘The Whiskey Tax’, I discovered two fascinating elements … Washington requested and received permission from the Senate (only), to extend federal “district” jurisdictions over the States, and in the use of those jurisdictions, Hamilton, who was assigned by Washington to actually execute the statute, STILL couldn’t accomplish the task … without FIRST securing from the ‘Rebels’, their … Oath of Allegiance to the United States … under the false bravado of threatened prosecution, rather than FIRST filing charges. Why? Because the alleged ‘Rebels’, as State Citizens, were Lawfully outside the Polity of the federal division, existing under original, ordinary jurisdictions of their States and thus had to be tricked into Traverse under the unique, separate federal ‘district’ jurisdictions to become Properly Liable.

I too, hold that the Constitution (of 1787; distinct from its simile adopted by the foreign ‘Government of the District of Columbia in 1871) can only be the amended Articles. Nevertheless, both documents pertain only to administration of governance, not ‘rule and regulation’ over The Sovereign People (Agent can not command the Principal). ‘The Law’ is the Common Law conscribed by The Maxims … applicable to People and divisions of their institute of government, alike.

So, on point, Executive Orders are pertinent only under the federal division’s particular jurisdictions and even then, only upon ‘Persons’ under Oath (or Contract) to the United States and thus within it’s municipal Polity.

“People of a state are entitled to all rights which formerly belong to the King, by his prerogative.” (Lansing v. Smith (1829) 4 Wend. 9,20)

“A citizen of the United States is a citizen of the federal government …” (Kitchens v. Steele 112 F.Supp 383)

“The United States Government is a foreign (municipal) corporation with respect to a state.” Volume 20: Corpus Juris Secundum, (P 1785: NY re: Merriam 36 N.E. 505 1441 S.Ct. 1973, 41 L. Ed. 287)

Posted by PatFields | Report as abusive

carnivalchaos: “Next time you disagree with someone’s post, try refuting specific points that they make rather than just resorting to lobbing insults and saying they’re wrong”
OK Here goes.

carnivalchaos: “This is a democracy. (… It’s a type of democracy where we vote on people to represent us in a government that is bound by a Constitution.”
NEWS FLASH: A type of government where we vote on people to represent us in the government is called a R-E-P-U-B-L-I-C! Look it up.

carnivalchaos: “…the only reason conservatives are complaining about Obama’s use of executive privilege is because they are opposed to anything and everything he does.”
Guess what? That’s what opposition parties do. Every president (and governor) in history that has had a legislative branch controlled by the opposition party has managed to work WITH them to get things done. For some reason THIS president can’t seem to do it. Why is that? Maybe it’s because early on they were told “they can come along for the ride, but would have to sit in the back of the bus.” Obama style Bipartisan inclusion.

carnivalchaos: “they have shut down the government for partisan purposes”
You mean the “Shutdown” that occurred because the D-E-M-O-C-R-A-T controlled Senate refused to bring all those bills that the Republicans in the House passed to fund everything in the government EXCEPT OBAMAcare to the floor for debate, and consideration?
Is that the shutdown you’re talking about??????

tmc: “… I think the democrats are happy to oblige the republicans and indeed have helped them.”
They sure are. When the Republicans accept money from the Democrats to help to rid them of TEA party members (The only people in the Senate who are actually opposing them.) I, and many others are through with both major parties.

tmc: “As we know, without gerrymandering the republican party would not hold a majority at the federal level”
Get off your high horse. Democrats have, and no doubt will again use gerrymandering to gain seats wherever, and whenever possible.
The fact that they don’t have the opportunity at the moment is just a piece of good luck.

Riobrava: “The duty of the executive to “enforce” the nation’s laws …”
Most of us would be happy if he would just enforce the laws already on the books. Especially people living in southern border states.

Posted by FroboseTF | Report as abusive

@tmc, I don’t agree with you on the point that Democrats “allow” such things as gerrymandering – at least not at the state level, which is where it all begins. A Republican state gerrymanders in favor of their party, and there isn’t a lot the Democrats can do about it. Then that Republican goes to the House and the rest is history.

But yes, all politicians are guilty of being purchased, as is evidenced by the lack of Democrats pushing to institute some kind of campaign/lobbying reform.

@Riobrava, just because something isn’t expressly mentioned in the Constitution doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional. Can you imagine a Constitution that addressed every single possible eventuality of governing for the President AND Congress? I get what you’re saying, but you have to allow for the fact that the Framers understood they couldn’t cover EVERYTHING.

It’s accepted that Presidents have Executive Power and has been since, literally, George Washington. Now, take a look at Ms. Gorod’s qualifications, the facts of history, precedents, etc., and then tell us that your opinion is more than just that – opinion.

Posted by JL4 | Report as abusive

@JL4, thank you for note. Yes, you are correct that the Framers could not have “addressed every single possible eventuality.” However, they were extremely clear on not wanting to place too much power in the hands of any one branch of government. Our current and previous Presidents have used executive orders far too frequently. Regarding Ms. Gorod’s “qualifications”, having also been a appellate law clerk, I am not at all impressed with her editorial. She does not cite anything except a few quotations to justify her very expansive claim of a very large extension of executive power. That simply doesn’t cut it and she knows that. I use your words that Ms. Gorod’s is nothing more than her opinion.

Posted by Riobrava | Report as abusive

tmc: I seriously doubt that Democrats are fretting over the possibility of being in complete control of the country. I don’t know anyone who thinks that the entire country is swinging over to the Democratic camp, or even a sizable migration. Heck, Democrats can’t even pass universal background checks for gun purchases when 90% of the country supports doing it.

Nor have I heard of any Democratic politician who wants the Democrats to lose seats to the Republicans for fear of having too much political influence. The Democrats are culpable about a lot of things, but sanctioning the GOP’s democracy-killing gerrymandering is not one of them. For sure, they’re not strangers to gerrymandering themselves, but not to the extremes that the Republicans have recently.

Pols switch parties when they see that switching parties will improve their chances of staying in office. That’s the only reason. I just don’t think they’re doing it to make sure the opposition party doesn’t lose too many seats.

But I completely concur with you on the point regarding who both parties are receiving money from. You’re right, both parties eat from the same pig trough. Our system is corrupt and not longer works for the American people. Unfortunately, either not enough Americans are aware of it, or not enough Americans care.

Posted by carnivalchaos | Report as abusive

Well, if you both agree that politicians are purchased, then you must agree that it is very likely not their decision about gerrymandering and keeping the balance of power. Why would they allow some of those districts? It wouldn’t have been to hard to get public support to stop them. I believe deals were made so republicans could proceed with gerrymandering.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive

tmc: I don’t really understand where you’re getting this from. What are you basing your conclusion on? Right now the Republicans are doing everything they can to win back the majority in the Senate. And clearly the Republicans are doing everything they can to destroy Obama’s Presidency. There’s nothing they would like more than to have a majority in the House, the Senate, and to have a Republican in the White House. And if you have any doubts about that, please note that it wasn’t that long ago that they had just that with Bush. Consider the Clinton Presidency. During his 2nd term the Republicans controlled the House and the Senate, and then they impeached him over a blow job. Obviously they weren’t too concerned about balance of power, now were they?

tmc, you write a lot of good posts, but I think you’re off base on this issue. I’ve never heard anyone make that claim before. However, I will say this. Our government has been bought out by a loose organization of plutocrats, some very wealthy industry execs who DO want to maintain the illusion of a balance of power, provided that the Republicans dominate. They’ve pretty much gotten their way on that. Perhaps that’s where you’re coming from. I just don’t think the politicians themselves are willing to sacrifice seats held by their party simply to maintain a balance of power. To the contrary, I think the pols in both parties are doing everything they can to get as many of their guys into power.

Why would they allow some of those districts? Because they don’t have a choice. The gerrymandering takes place in state legislatures that are dominated by one party or the other. They’re not asking the opposition party for permission, because they sure wouldn’t get it. Besides, they don’t need the other party’s permission. If one party dominates a state legislature they can redistrict pretty much any way they want. They can redistrict once every 10 years. Once it’s set, it’s good for 10 years. It just wouldn’t make sense for the Democrats to make a deal with Republicans to allow them to gerrymander districts that give the Republicans a numbers advantage in Congress so that the Democratic President can’t get anything done. But as I said, the corporate folks who are really in power DO want Americans to remain appeased and docile, and maintaining the appearance of a balance of power and a functioning democracy is important to their game plan. They pretty much have things just the way they want them now, though they’d probably rather see a Republican in the White House because that would make it easier for them to get everything they want. As it is now, they probably get about 90% of what they want. It’s absurd and Americans had better wake up and do something about it.

Posted by carnivalchaos | Report as abusive

Thanks @carnivalchaos. Perhaps your right, but I’m still a bit leery about it. The national democratic party could have helped out with the states facing gerrymandering if they wanted to. I remember reading an article a few years ago on the topic that said deals were made. I don’t think corporate America cares much about who’s in power as they know they themselves are. I don’t believe there is a group, but as I’ve posted before its more like a very loose joint venture in controlling the government. Often there are corporate interest on both sides of an issue and they have to “fight it out” by seeing who can gain the most support. Democratic in some evil sense I guess.

Thanks for your discussion. This is why I troll Reuters.

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive