SEPARATION OF POWERS
April 4, 2007
“Courage overrides self-doubt, but does not end it.” --Mason Cooley
The three branches of government (Executive, Legislative and Judicial) are co-equal. Each branch has specific duties and responsibilities which, at various times throughout history, various individuals have seemed intent on ignoring. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the most recent and flagrant example of presumptive abuse of power, but she by no means is the ‘Lone Ranger’.
History, inertia and malfeasance have altered the government that brilliance and serendipity provided us with as the republic.
Various presidents (Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Clinton and Bush the elder and W) have presumed to assume more power and authority than ever intended.
Members of Congress have contributed to the overreach of the executive largely through malfeasance and diffidence in doing their prescribed jobs.
The judiciary (perhaps recognizing the testosterone deficiency of Congress) has presumed to not just ‘judge' but to legislate from the bench.
Congress has the authority (and responsibility) to declare war. However, the gutless wonders have not done so since Pearl Harbor despite having granted various presidents the authority to dispatch military adventures all over the globe over 150 times since World War II.
Much of the grand standing and petty partisan sniping could and should be eliminated if government just did the jobs they have. Presidents should not make laws and Congress should not meddle in foreign policy.
It has always seemed odd that Congress has eschewed their congressional responsibilities concerning declaring wars. Declarations of war carry responsibilities that Congress after Congress has demonstrated they don’t have the interest or courage for. Oh, they will grant a president the ‘authority’ to make the tough call, but always cling to sufficient ‘plausible deniability’ to cry for ‘do overs’ if or when things turn sour. Frankly, once they have proved malfeasant in their responsibility, they give up their right to righteous indignation and do overs.
I am again reminded of Teddy Roosevelt’s words in Paris, “It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done better…” The war critics are the ones picking at scabs and ripping the strong man as he stumbles.
Roosevelt observed, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause;”
That always reminds me of Dr. Robert Jarvick, inventor of the artificial heart, who said, “Leaders are visionaries, with a poorly developed sense of fear, and no concept of the odds against them…they make things happen.”
In other words, risk takers don’t always score. Babe Ruth held home run records AND strike out records. If you swing big, you miss big. Mel Gibson had a great line in ‘The Patriot’ when he was counseling his adolescent son before an ambush of British troops: “Aim small…miss small…” The collorary is also true.
When Roosevelt extolled the virtues of the doer of deeds, he said, “who, if he wins, know the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”
The growing gaggle of political wimps who yearn for the taste of victory without the risks and danger of making hard decisions are “cold and timid souls.”
I vividly recall a crusty old Army Master Sergeant at Fort Benning during a leadership reaction test telling us “…make a decision. If it is wrong, fix it. Better to fix a wrong decision than to stand around with your head in rectal defilade over analyzing everything and taking fire.”
Leaders lead. Usually, they are not remembered for their serial failures, but rather for their significant successes…which would never happen if they were “cold and timid souls.”
Once upon a time 56 extraordinary men pledge to each other their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. At the time the framers intended for the Constitution to serve as a bridging mechanism to fix some of the errors in the Articles of the Confederacy and to quiet some interstate commercial hassles. They got lucky, and we have been the beneficiaries of their courage, insights and luck.
House Speaker Pelosi, is leading a congressional delegation on a fact-finding tour of the Middle East. Bullfeathers! She said she would speak to the Syrians about Iraq, their role in the fight against terrorism, their support for militant groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas — that’s not her job. Her job is in Congress not providing photo opportunities and mixed messages on U.S. foreign policy.
© 2007 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
E-Mails are used strictly for NWVs alerts, not for sale
"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's
Congress has eschewed their congressional responsibilities concerning declaring wars. Declarations of war carry responsibilities that Congress after Congress has demonstrated they don’t have the interest or courage for.