• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


    from Twitter


    Monday, January 30, 2006

    Balance of Powers

    I think I might write a novel called: Balance of Powers.  Here's a preview:  The year is 1950, and America's at war.  President Truman has a euphoric people at his back and an international crisis in front of him.

    General McArthur, architect of Japanese reconstruction, hero of the people, bucks at Truman's authority, saying the only way to win in Korea is to take the war to the Chinese -- bomb the heck out of the new People's Republic of China and help the nationalists on Formosa to retake their country.  This might call for the use of atomic bombs, many of them, but because America has the lead in the arms race, nobody will retaliate. 

    In response, Truman recalls McArthur to America, and relieves him of command.  McArthur sits in front of congress and details his actions, people hail him as a hero, throw impromptu parades in New York City when he visits, and support his nomination for president by over 80% of prospective voters.

    McArthur then takes the presidency in 1952.  Having successfully bucked the authority of the president as commander-in-chief, McArthur blocks the ratification of the 22nd amendment (presidential term limits) citing his actions and those of the beloved FDR.  Pres. McArthur proceeds to rule from 1952 to 1974, when he is forced to abdicate because of advancing bad health. 

    During that time, Korea was unified and democratic, Vietnam was unified and democratic, Germany fell under total control of USSR only to be won back through the short, 3 year WWIII (China and USSR against the USA, France, GB), and China becomes broken into three parts (southern and northern one-party democracies and Mongolia).

    Also during this time the President acquires the right to veto any legislation by congress without its ability to override.  Executive orders are extended to 18 months in duration.

    ****So this is a fictional story?  It wasn't until McArthur won the presidential election.  The crazy part is that if he had won, history very well could have ended up this way.  I'm currently reading Colossus: The rise and fall of the American empire, by Niall Ferguson, and he brings up the interesting comparison between Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon and McArthur returning home(which made me think of the book).  More importantly, he argues for the incredibly delicate balance of powers in our government that very well could have been overturned.

    Which brings me to the second, semi-related thought (boy I have long intros, don't I?).  Today, the blog Captain's Quarters had a post about the Democrats and their stupid filibuster of Alito.  What I like are Senator Obama's comments that the Democrats have "overreliance on procedural tactics and an inability to convince voters of the erosion of their 'values.'"  Sen. Obama is right on.  Democrats need to position themselves to win seats in the midterm elections and run for the presidency if they want to influence the court.  That is obvious.  Why they don't see it themselves, we may never know.

    However, he also states that

    "Obama doesn't connect the dots all the way. In truth, Alito represents a mainstream school of thought that argues the court has arrogated far too much power to itself over the last several decades, and the only solution for that requires the appointment of judges that will send policy questions back to Congress where they belong."

    True, but Captain Ed doesn't connect the dots all the way either.  The judiciary has collected a lot of power over the last twenty years, and appointing Alito might stem some of that.  But the caveat is that Alito will not necessarily shift the power back to Congress.  The Bush administration has gathered more and more power over the last six years, and a court with Alito could confer legality on many dubious practices by the current administration.

    I have supported the nomination of Alito, because of the political situation--the inability of the democrats to effectively mobilize support for another alternative.  However, recently, I have started having serious doubts about its effect.  Such legality given to the Bush administration's actions make the crossing of the Rubicon by the next Republican president much more of a possibility.

    No comments: