Dec 19, 2015 0
from Karl Rove in the Wall Street Journal, Clinton is Already Vowing to Overreach:
This is no small matter. “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands,” James Madison warned in Federalist 47, “may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” Madison goes on to paraphrase Montesquieu: “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person.”
Or we might consult Thomas Jefferson, namesake of the Iowa Democratic dinner where Mrs. Clinton spoke. In his “Notes on the State of Virginia,” Jefferson writes that “the concentrating” of the legislative, executive and judicial powers “in the same hands, is precisely the definition of despotic government.”
Progressives long ago came to view the Constitution as a quaint document with no binding power. But until recently, they never were so baldly contemptuous of it. Now liberals consider running roughshod over our governing charter not only fashionable but mandatory. No constitutional niceties will stand in the way of their vision. Which explains why this election will decide whether America will remain, in the words of John Adams, “a government of laws, and not of men.”
When one condones such power being accessible to an elected official, they would be wise to pause and imagine that power in the hands of their worst nightmare from the opposition. How would she feel about the same power in the hands of a Donald Trump?
This is a good example of pragmatism as a political philosophy at its worst. Every problem is a crisis and something must be done, the constitution be damned.
The dominant political debate today, after you cut through pieties and the noise is constitutionalism vs progressivism. The progressives since Wilson have viewed the constitution as a dated document that inhibits needed government action, not as a document designed to restrain government power and protect individual natural rights. While there is clearly room for interpretation in the lights of two and half centuries of progress, the fundamental precepts of liberty and the problem with concentrations of government power remain and should be respected.