What if a U.S. administration announced it was violating the
Constitution and no one cared? That seems to be what’s happening today
as President Clinton moves to amass what can only be described as
“imperial powers” without as much as a whimper of protest heard in the
In May, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13083, a frontal
assault on 10th Amendment-protected powers of the states and
individuals. No one noticed, or cared.
Congress allowed it to become law by not lifting a finger. No
governors or state legislatures protested. The media didn’t even report
on the federal power grab.
Having gotten away with the cold-blooded, broad daylight murder of
one constitutional principle, President Clinton has decided to use his
enormous, new-found dictatorial authority more frequently in the final
two years of his term. He plans to issue more and more executive orders,
beginning as early as today.
The first order of business will likely be an executive order
promoting more federal control over the health-care needs of federal
employees. During that ceremony, Clinton plans to urge Congress to enact
his “Patients’ Bill of Rights” legislation setting national standards
for managed medical care.
As top White House aide Paul Begala arrogantly put it: “Stroke of the
pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool.”
Yeah, cool dude. Meet the hip, new face of fascism in America.
Whatever it takes to rule, so be it. The Constitution be damned. We’ve
got important public policy reforms to enact. If the Congress won’t
cooperate, then we’ll make the Congress irrelevant — go over their
heads. Mussolini would be proud — not to mention Jiang Zemin.
“He’s ready to work with Congress if they work with him,” Rahm
Emanuel, senior policy adviser to the president, explained. “But if they
choose partisanship, he will choose progress.” Translation: Unless
Congress gets on its knees a la Monica Lewinsky and gives the president
everything he wants, he will resort to governing by decree.
Is Clinton within his rights as president to use the power of the
executive order? There’s no question other presidents have abused the
practice. But none more than Clinton.
Executive orders were originally intended to give presidents
rule-making authority over the executive branch — to allow him to
preside as the chief executive officer of the White House and its vast
number of employees and departments. Clinton has reinvented the
executive order as a form of presidential law-making authority —
something in direct contradiction with the Constitution.
In fact, as recently as June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in its
line-item veto case, that the president of the United States cannot
initiate legislation. If followed to its natural conclusion, this ruling
would invalidate all executive orders — past and present.
The problem, of course, is that it takes some bold person in
Congress, or even at the state government level, to challenge this
grotesque usurpation and centralization of power. So far, they’re all
scurrying away from this issue like rats fleeing a burning Reichstag.
What’s at stake here? Well, just consider the fact that one of
Clinton’s executive orders empowers him to declare a national emergency
and set up the Federal Emergency Management Agency to direct federal,
state and local governments. This provision replicates the executive
powers laid down in the 1933 War Powers Act and would allow FEMA to
control all communication facilities (including, presumably,
WorldNetDaily), power supplies, food supplies, airports, transportation
of any kind, seaports, waterways and highways. Congress would not even
be able to debate the president’s declaration for the first six months
of totalitarian rule.
The president could implement this draconian plan under “any threat
to national security, perceived or real.” Do you trust Bill Clinton with
that kind of authority? Apparently, the Republican-controlled Congress
does. And so does the corporate media establishment. No one is speaking
out against the prospect of American fascism — not even the American
Civil Liberties Union.
I would just like to remind my “progressive” friends that it was a
similar arrangement under which Adolph Hitler suspended the German
constitution by presidential decree.
Do you really think it can’t happen here? Is it inconceivable that
America could ever lose its freedom? If the only thing that prevents
evil from triumphing is for good men to do nothing, it seems our nation
is well on its way down the road to destruction.