The Trouble With the Executive Branch

Article II of the Constitution—which sets the bounds of executive power—is notoriously short; the document imbues remarkably scant powers to the executive, and to the president in particular. Much of the text outlines procedural mechanisms, to do with the time, place and manner of elections, and behavioral limitations: duties the president is either compelled to…

Rand Paul’s Intransigence Is Exactly What Politics Needs

To read the derogatory charges being brought against Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) by his party colleagues, the libertarian-leaning legislator’s last-ditch effort to inject some measure of fiscal sanity into the hastily-cobbled together stopgap spending bill was tantamount to some sort of putsch. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) called Paul’s actions “grossly irresponsible”, while Sen. John Thune…

The Missing Element of Political Reform Debates

Political reform, whether it favors sweeping institutional overhauls or looks to fixes tailored towards more narrow problems, operates under the assumption that government dysfunction ultimately stems from some flaw within government. This statement might seem blatantly tautological, but in fact it reflects a deeper problem with American politics: a fundamental misunderstanding of the complex role…

Is National Security Replacing the Commerce Clause as the Basis for Sweeping Federal Power?

The falling away of federalistic principles from government is often linked to the increasingly nationalistic scope of politics. Under the auspices of the commerce clause and the “necessary and proper” clause, federal government officials have been able to rationalize their claim to final regulatory authority over an increasingly wide swathe of issues. The commerce clause…

Congress Is Inept Because It Was Never Meant to Be the Primary Political Problem Solver

There is a strain of modern political thought that equates specialized knowledge and topical expertise with elitism, itself rooted in anti-populism. Such thinking contributes to high levels of political inefficacy as the operational premise of representational government is that legislators, who dedicate their time to informing themselves on issues that affect their constituents, will use…

The Shutdown Highlights Oligarchic Attitudes in Government

There is perhaps nothing so indicative of an increasingly oligarchic trend in government as language from politicians signaling their actions are oriented around what is most convenient to others of their ranks. By way of example, a recent story in Roll Call detailed how, in the waning hours before the government shutdown took effect, Sen.…

Re-establishing federalism starts with divorcing national politics from elections

If one believes that many of the shortcomings of today’s politics can ultimately be traced to the abandonment of federalist principles—as tends to typify certain strains of right-wing thought—then the trend in national elections, which primarily subjects candidates running for federal office to scrutiny by other elected officials rather than to the judgment of their…

Equal Protection of Rights Needs to Ground Tax Policy Debate

The necessity for citizens to be equal before the law is a concept most often emphasized within the framework of the criminal justice system: Americans clamor, and rightly so, with particular vigor for the ability of each individual to receive a fair and impartial trial, to be judged by the same standard as all others…

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