tv [untitled] CSPAN June 8, 2009 10:30pm-11:00pm EDT
back? i guess you have set me up for this in terms of this being a struggle. i do think the constitution of ranges for the kind of struggle you described, and it is a struggle, contention if you will that involves the third branch as well, we shouldn't leave that out, and an understanding of the nature of the struggle to recall some of the details behind what goes, what went into the constitution, it is more or less a textbook point to say the constitution separates power as we know. each time the constitution power since the nature of the power is best in legislated executive or judicial. each power has an institution which is to say departmental home as we know, the bicameral congress, presidency and judiciary respectfully. what's important to understand
about the institutions of government is they represent different things so to speak. the congress and the judiciary represent the will fall after all that is where our representatives make their choices as to how we should be governed, and hamilton, alexander hamilton, we heard from him and bill a moment ago called rules for the regulation of society. the judiciary tends to vindicate those rules in the cases of controversies which interested again in the law. the executive though is where it gets interesting. the executive is much different in this respect. article 2 begins by saying something called the executive power shall be vested in president of the united states of america. sections two and three it spells out various duties and powers the president has. hamilton called these particular cases of executive power. these are all familiar.
they knew that man by nature is recalcitrant and things happen so to speak and so necessities' arise. necessity comes to us in crisis and that is its address, its ordinary jessica said. hamid times doing here is president whether president bush or president obama use the word crisis. so every government does not have the energy to respond that might not last for long was the concern of the framers. the writers of the federalists knowing quite well the objection to what they're doing, this kind of energy bill aside in a minute ago. they actually do something interesting in the federalist paper which is the introduce energy in government without ever mentioning the executive
until late in the federalist papers. madison on the other side of that founding debates that bill mentioned a moment ago and the federalist 37 says energy and government is essential two that security against an external and internal and that prompt and salvatore execution of the laws which enter into the very definition of good government. of course, it is about 40 essays that the writers of the federalist papers tell us at this energy is to be in in the executive. and that is where we find the statement that the bill quoted, that energy in the executive is a visiting character but which they meant characteristic of good government. again i should emphasize the good in the formulation. a government can be republican, it can salute to the rule of law and still not be good because i might not be able to last.
a good republican government has to have i should end and still today has to have the requisite energy and so that is how the framers concede of the executive and the structure of the office so that you would have the necessary energy -- i won't go through all of it, you can read it in constitution and article two, but unity in the executive was it an essential ingredient and actually use that word come ingredient of energy. one person not a plurality, flip side, of course, of having energy is you can hold one person more account to be -- accountable in a committee context. congress is a plurality by contrast and the duration of office was four years, long enough for a president to undertake what hamilton called the expense of an arduous printer price for the benefit of the people to judge the efficacy of these programs.
and so we see that this office is set up and structured a certain way and has these various powers and duties given to eds and even the veto power which was as originally conceived as a means of defending the executive against the haitians by the congress of what hamilton called the president's constitutional rights. in hamilton used to the following nouns to describe behavioral aspects of the executive decision come activity, the secrecy, dispatch, a figure come expedition. he formulated a new understanding and firmness. and so on the presentation of the oath of office is taking enough that tries to basically reflect this understanding of the office. it is the only oaf spelled out in the constitution and encompasses more than a duty to faithfully execute the law if we were simply to be purely republican about this we would
say that is all the president should do, force the laws written. but that is not what they.com the constitution spells out this oath in this piece to the duty to a fully executed watch -- the office and preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the united states. some are presidency was unique in its creation, nothing really like it, in fact, ever in a presidency that can be strong to use that word and can also be weak and we can talk about that later. it is designed to do essentially what the people would want done if they knew the circumstances if you knew the circumstances. the president is to read it responsible for what ever arises 24/7 we could say in the only institution of government open for seven there and by the strong presidency moves be on an urgent necessities such as what happened on 9/11. to necessity and other senses of the word such as being active at the job being a good
administrator may might say getting stuff done as it should be done, that even encompasses as harvey mansfield a hurry scholar has written, greatness. i can think of undertaking an extensive and arduous enterprise of the people's benefits. some people do aim to be on not rush mark, don't they? they might be united with it interests of the country as runways or may not. probably true that only a strong president can be a great president. we have regarded this great not only those who excelling as wartime presidents such as lincoln nor fdr probably most notably those to but also those who undertook the largest sense of enterprises domestically that left enduring legacies as well. our history shows that when urgent necessity hits the president may choose to do things than the other two departments of government object to. they also object to an executive's shall we say greatness project, those that would reshape our politics and
the objections into here carefully the objections are typically made in terms of the rule of law. that which is represented in the other two branches, and these how they are expressed. i would say that other parents and our political history i am coming to an end hoping not to take too much of my allotted time but as with other parents in our history our history since 9/11 may be written in terms of this contention between if you will energy our discussion, on the one hand, and the rule of law on the other. this history is found in the court cases filed in adjudicated and hearings of legislation of congress and the reaction of voters to the arguments back and forth as well in elections in 06 and this past fall a couple of points about this history quote sound. for each of the two presidents we are going to talk about sure today, regarding president bush summoned his supporters, indeed, some who have worked for him
have criticized his presidency as preoccupied with the expansion of executive power and preoccupation that might be the eyes president's what he brought to this administration and that this preoccupation was imprudent because it led to the beginning ironically their adverse decisions from the courts weakening of the power itself. also weakening politically of the president. i think of jack goldsmith, some of you may have read his book, the terror presidency, that is another story. shackles with is a graduate of wnl and he served her almost a year as office of legal counsel which has had more publicity in recent weeks than at any time of its history. he wrote a book in which he made some of these criticisms as did some others and there is merit i would say much of what he says in his book. goldsmith would say that is
better not to talk so much about executive power, not to talk out loud about in any way, but nonetheless hold a robust view of it at the same time. and that it is better when having to resort to extraordinary uses seven senator power under the press of urgent necessity to do so with and this is his language, a grudging public place with expressions of regret for public values and with explanations about why the steps or an unfortunate but necessary means to barter national security in the and in essence of the point is to republicanize missionary use the power to pay respect to civil liberties in the rule of law. i will skip over an example of how bush might have done this differently that goes -- goldsmith gives an exchange we might do that. about obama, we are now learning a thing with him that the ideas of potential conflict i have discussed, the rule of law, on the one hand, and energy or discretion on the other, these are not the property of all the
conservatives or liberals or only democrats or republicans feared that liberals not complain that on a range of national security issues that president obama is george bush essentially. the latest being his refusal to release the photographs of prisoner reduce, if you read the papers in the last two days. those photographs he had earlier promised to release he changed his mind on national-security grounds. liberals may yet have more to the brain about and this president and a question of whether he has inherent powers to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. the president has said no supreme court decision has ever said that. now that is different from saying what he thinks an issue, it's a very careful response. in reserves or another day his own pronouncement perhaps in which you will a firm in the that authority. by the way there is a very obscure federal court that is called the pfizer review court,
the foreign intelligence surveillance act come in reviews court that has won case review the entire history that goes back 21978 and it was during the bush administration. this particular court held that there were these inherent presidential authority is and that price the could not encroach on the power of the president so we will see what president obama sometime a say on this issue. and finally i would just say and his press conference just recently april 29, the president was essentially asked a question by chip reid colleague concerning, we know the ticking time bomb scenario means whether in that kind of extreme case whether he might be willing to consider some technique that might be known as torture and it was quite interesting to me in the answer to this question, a
multi-party question for my two questions adding together in this was the second of its you and i have a transcript we can pull out later, to get the exact wording, but what was striking to me was he said that at no time so far in his presidency has he seen a need to go in that direction. now, what if he had been there in the fall of 2001 with those circumstances have been different? thank you. >> thank-you. i am going to share with you some observations that i have picked up from covering president obama as a candidate for almost two years and then covering congress and all of the incredible chaos of the last four or five months, what it might add up to appear and i think that's in assessing this new president and this new congress and the political
moment that we're in, it is especially challenging for all of us because it is a unique environment. some of the things that make it unique are obvious. we have a president who doesn't look like any other president we have ever had in brings that moment foreign in a lot of ways that are intangible but also create a sense of good will that i have never seen a company and president to office before. and that would -- you can see it across the political spectrum. and so there is a desire i think widespread desire among all lawmakers to see this presidency's exceeded strictly on the basis because people see it as a positive step for the country. in that context however there are enormous challenges that we
also haven't seen for many years , that have defined the landscape. i mean, you think about a year ago when people were talking about on the campaign trail, it is hard to even think of three our four of the most pressing issues because it has been totally put aside by this economic crisis and the country is, all the problems we didn't know existed with the banking sector and what not. so you have a democratic party, we talk a lot about single party rule, but i don't think we have reflected as much of what the democratic party right now and actually consists of a and it is a much more broad base party than it was 20 years ago or so. the state of virginia is a good example. the party is expanding greatly throughout the mid-atlantic and parts of the south and all the west and midwest and has
completely basically wiped republicans of the new england landscape so that is the created different things emmet -- dynamic within the party and it makes it easier for president obama to play to the middle and disappointed liberals as he has already and will continue to i am sure on some of the, you know, both issues and national security issues but important domestic issues like climate change legislation moving toward now. certainly the last 45 months have been enormously is a but also a very successful months for congress and the president. and they have worked together on some enormous bills that have come to, that have passed in a very short amount of time.
this is a congress that has done very little over the last four or five years and was a lot of pent-up desire for action on different fronts so you saw a lot of bills just go right to the process was they had in the use -- a president willing to sign them. it and the stimulus was obviously the largest of those, but there were some other significant bills that passed without a lot of attention. princeton's an expansion of the children's health insurance program which included coverage for children of illegal immigrants which was the sort of issue that would be an enormous blast point in just a few years ago and have a sort of thing that has been digested it relatively easily again i think suggesting how much the landscape has shifted and how much bigger the problems have become, but the budget that past few weeks ago was a really
significant achievement for democrats because of the basic priorities of the administration made it possible, set up this from our to make things like health care reform and they get a initiatives and education changes possible that are again, it is hard to fully absorb the enormity of some of the changes that are under way right now. i think one of the best examples i can think of is arnie duncan, the education secretary, a lot of us in that our troubled business are not paying a lot of attention to and at the moment. there is a story of a few days ago of how they were going to spend the i think about $5 billion in stimulus money to take over for a 5,000 troubled schools around the country. if you think about that is the federal government interacting
with local schools on a scale that would have been sort of politically defining just a few years ago, is now something that kind of slumped by almost unnoticed but with enormous implications down the road for education and many other things as well. the -- really the key to all of this is the culture of chaos and the question of how long it will last is i think in a poor and one in determining the dynamic between and the president and the congress and of the success of the initiatives that have come to fruition yet, namely health care reform. as signs of the economy seeming to stabilize, you can already see the power of distraction
taking hold in for instance nancy pelosi story this way and her revisiting this entire question very heated debate for both sides over the use of terrorist -- interrogation techniques against terrorist suspects so that is the less chaos the lessons of emergency, the more an easier those stories take a break and threaten to derail initiatives that are important to the president and the majority party. health-care reform obviously will be the big challenge going forward and addressing some of these big issues like the illegal immigration issue for instance, a big portion of the uninsured population are illegal immigrants, among the most expensive people who are off the books. how is congress, and they are going to address health-care problems, how are we going to
address that problem? a lot of of the things that were easy to kind of pushed through just a few months ago i think will stop people in their tracks, and how the president is able -- i mean, this president is not a hands-on president. he does not show up on the hill on a regular basis interacting with these lawmakers the way that president clinton often.com pushing through a very detailed legislation. he doesn't fall in love with his own ideas. however, he has an agenda and cares very deeply about the main issues on that agenda and is a very powerful and successful so far salesmen. so congress's willingness to see the so much of of the authority to him and grant him so much of his own terms i think has worked
for them so far and work for everybody so far. when we slow down here at the months to come as some of these flash points start to come into sharper focus could be over a supreme court nomination and over important piece of legislation. i think we will start to see the relationship, sharper edges develop and the real dynamic will start to become more clear. it just hasn't been the clear so far, there has been enormous amount of unanimity. >> thank you. >> i want to say, first of all, it was really refreshing getting ready for this. i did a little bit of reading, big picture rating, and i actually thought there was a time i thought i was never going to leave the academic environment and it and leave
until i was 27 and thought about during the fourth degree. my mother and father said get out there and get a real job which is sometimes forget having done. [laughter] anyway, it is finding out i have worked in the tv business where everything is a today and on cable which i did for 11 years it was hour by hour and, of course, now twittered it is minute by minute and, in fact, i will be going to the restroom soon and will be twittering back. [laughter] but it was rushing to take the big picture here because in all the months i have been covering president obama i have not once thought of the question will mr. obama adds up to the imperial style of the previous administration are willing to accept congress as an equal partner at the negotiating table? the big picture questions have an even occurred to me -- is really day to day. so to get started and i decided to go down into my basement and dig through some boxes and i found my very last paper that i wrote as a student and said the
ship's last paper ever. [laughter] in graduate school, called the executive legislative balance in foreign policy making or chips last paper ever. and i got an a minus but if anybody has a black and i like to change into a plus. [laughter] i was so much smarter as a student that i am now, it is astounding. [laughter] i'm going to read the whole thing out if that is ok. [laughter] but there are a couple of great close in. the kind of highlight what a president is. what a taste to be a president -- terry mentioned one of them want to be on all mount rushmore. they all want to be including when barack obama was asked when he was out man fresh market use yourself up there, he didn't say no, he said on osher there is enough rauf to vent my ears. that is yet -- that is, yes, as far as i am concerned. presidential scholars and unless the president wants to maximize his power he is not good for the
office. teddy roosevelt said that i think it should be a very powerful office and i think the president should be a very strong man, didn't consider the word person back then, who uses without hesitation every power that the position yields but because of this fact i believe he should be sharply watch by the people and held to a strict accountability by them. but having looked at that and figured out that as all presidents want to be on mount rushmore and they want as much power as possible i looked at the question of whether this president was to be an imperial president and i came to the conclusion that, yes, he does. this is early and as we get it changed my mind but for the sake of argument i will say he does and he wants to be a stealth imperial president and is doing a darn good job of it. i'm going to outline a million reasons but i will touch on five good reasons why i believe conditions are set right now for him to do that. number one and one of the things i've discussed in this paper is in many people discussed the president's power always
increases at a time of crisis. in the 30's isolationism congress had a lot of power in world war ii comes along and roosevelt becomes the imperial president. the same thing with johnson in vietnam, everything changed with nixon in watergate and the end of the and on and then reagan came in and things started to swing back toward the executive. there has been a series of swings and i believe there is a big swing going on out us started on the day of 9/11 that obama is now continuing so first of all, you have war, when prices, and the first two panelists noted this president although he sounded like a raging liberal during the campaign sometimes has really stuck to a lot of the bush positions and national security issues with the military tribunals in the papers today, with the indefinite detention in afghanistan, with invoking state secrets and least three times, withholding the torture photos, he has found a middle ground on a lot of things but let's face it -- he has really disappointed
the liberal aclu types who are just if you read their blogs are enraged and not even liberal ron on constitutional scholar has accused the president of exercising this are like powers of national security. reason number two is in the economy. we all know how many hundreds of billions in even trillions of dollars have been basically put out there to help us in the economy without even a says out by congress at this point so you have a crisis, the president gets more power. number three is people love obama, in the teddy roosevelt quote as he said the president should be a very powerful man push to be sharply washed by the people and help to a string to accountability by them. i'm not sure he is right now because i think congress has capitulated and again and again. and i think lively the republicans don't want to but they don't have the power to do anything about it at this point.
and it is in the nature of the president the kind of person who runs for president to seek more power and the people love him and right now he is grown to continue to do it. fourth is really when i talk about -- actually i combine to reasons -- accountability isn't there and the democrats in congress control both houses, and then the fourth reason is is the nature of people who run for president to want that kind of power and once they get there i think a change. i think the torture photos is a great example. it was easy for him to argue during the campaign that everything needs to be out there, but as president by the defense department came to him and said that people could die, u.s. troops and you have spoken so lovingly about so many times could actually die if you sign on the dotted line and say release those photos. as president his judgment has changed simply because of where he is sitting. and with reason i belie t
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