- With impeachment as the backdrop, Bill Clinton crowed
about the conduct of the White House during his unprecedented period of
turmoil. He proudly proclaimed, "We saved the Constitution."
- Leave it to the president to declare that a heap of manure
is really a storehouse of jewels. A certain segment of the population
and nearly all of the mainstream media will believe, or pretend to believe,
that is exactly what they see.
- The utter tragedy is that, when the sun finally sets
on this presidency, subsequent presidents, legislators, judges, and other
leaders of the nation will have their work cut out for them in trying to
restore the basic integrity of the Constitution.
- Obscured by the sheer number of scandals that have sprung
up like weeds during Clinton's tenure lies a misapplication of the very
office of the presidency. It is the blatant misuse of executive orders
that may end up leaving the deepest scar.
- Through an improper application of the Antiquities Act
of 1906, President Clinton changed over 4,000,000 acres of Western lands
into federal monuments. Bill Clinton also gave himself the power to seize
ten rivers each year, along with adjacent lands of indeterminate size,
and to appoint so-called river czars to be paid roughly $100,000 a year.
- Consistent with his colossal view of presidential authority,
Clinton has used executive orders in an attempt to bypass the constitutional
requirement that all treaties must be ratified by a 2/3 vote of the Senate
prior to implementation. And in one of his most audacious acts, Clinton
tried to erase the 10th Amendment of the Constitution with a stroke of
- One of Bill Clinton's latest executive orders simply
removes English as the official language of the country. Executive Order
13166 mandates that all federal agencies accommodate non-English speaking
- Obviously, in a nation with over 300 languages, this
executive order is destined to create enormous problems when it comes to
administration and implementation. It will also, most likely, undermine
the assimilation of new citizens into the American culture while it promotes
a convoluted version of multiculturalism. The cost of this "meaningful
access" is massive. However, the administration has conveniently timed
the signing of this directive so that payment will be deferred until after
Mr. Clinton leaves office. The public has to wonder, what is he going to
do for an encore?
- These incidents serve to highlight an extremely important
issue. On numerous occasions, Bill Clinton has told the public that he
fully intends to use the extent of his power until the very last day and
the very last hour that he is in office. White House staffers, such as
John Podesta, have repeatedly indicated that the president intends to make
use of his executive order power to bypass Congress.
- This is called legislation without representation. It
is called government by decree. It is the substance of monarchies. It is
not the American way.
- The rhetoric, along with analysis of prior practice,
should be taken as a vigorous warning by the American people and their
representatives. There is a clear and present danger that a flurry of executive
orders might be unleashed after the election, particularly if Al Gore fails
to win. Political and legal experts agree that Clinton's incentive to issue
executive orders and directives to cement his much sought after legacy
would be very strong under this scenario.
- One major point of contention between Al Gore and George
W. Bush involves the proposed exploration for oil in Alaska. Oil industry
officials have speculated that Clinton might add to his executive orders
record by declaring the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a national monument.
- But there are other arenas in which he could encroach.
He might impress his signature and will upon health care, second amendment
rights, personal privacy, the electoral process, military readiness, international
obligations, or a whole host of other pivotal issues. Then again, he may
utilize what has been labeled a Presidential Decision Directive under his
administration; that is, an executive order that is kept secret from the
people, press, and even the Congress because it is ostensibly classified
for national security.
- Generally, Al Gore remained silent regarding these instances
of usurpation of power. Gore has expressed admiration for Clinton's accomplishments
in office and recently indicated a desire to use executive order power
to expedite policy himself, if given the opportunity. Vice-presidential
nominee Dick Cheney, on the other hand, has suggested that a Bush administration
might consider correcting some of the violations that have transpired through
- Proper use of executive authority is a crucial element
that Americans must consider when entering the polling booth. Candidates
should be questioned specifically about their perspectives on executive
orders. The abuse we have witnessed over the last eight years constitutes
nothing less than a destructive force against our nation's doctrine of
separation of powers. We cannot allow this menacing habit to be prolonged
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