My Fox Column…

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

…this week is a recommendation on how we can fix the way we elect presidents.

My answer: Make the presidency less important.

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19 Responses to “My Fox Column…”

  1. #1 |  MikeT | 

    Another thing that would help with reducing the power back into constitutional boundaries would be to attach criminal penalties to passing and signing laws that violate the Constitution. It is ridiculous that we trust the Supreme Court to rule on constitutionality, but don’t trust it to issue summary sanctions of members of Congress and the President for legislation that flagrantly violates the Constitution.

  2. #2 |  Brian Moore | 

    “This election will likely be decided not on the wisdom of the war in Iraq, the economy, or the merits of one candidate’s immigration plan over another. It will come down to something far less important. This is how we choose leaders in America.”

    The Onion agrees with you!

    And to MikeT: There are, technically, already are penalties for this, since in the oath of office the president swears to uphold the Constitution, and one would assume that violating your oath of office would be grounds for impeachment. Unfortunately, as you say, because the Supreme Court determines official constitutionality, it doesn’t seem likely that anyone will get called on it.

  3. #3 |  Scott | 

    Brilliant as usual, Radley. You write exactly what I’m thinking, only you say it more eloquently and succinctly than I ever could!

  4. #4 |  Burdell | 

    Radley, one factual thing:

    Lloyd Bentsen’s “no Jack Kennedy” line was in 1988, not 1992.

    Great column nonetheless.

  5. #5 |  Michael | 

    The problem I have is what happened to all those people, (70%?) that are against the Iraq occupation! Most candidtaes are saying the same thing. We will stay in Iraq until we win! It might be 100 years, (as McCain said) going by that! Why is the vote so lop-sided in favor of those who don’t want to get out, right now! Are the MSM polls responsible for an erroneous statement? Is it 70%, of the population, that are really against the war? Maybe they need to run new polls on this!

  6. #6 |  Zeb | 

    I think we ought to try four years without a president and see how that works out.

  7. #7 |  Frank N Stein | 

    I can only think of one presidential candidate serious about Constitutional limits on federal power. It’s too bad some people think a couple remarks made in a newsletter 20+ years ago are more important. Might be an example of fiddling while Rome burns.

  8. #8 |  Benjamin | 

    Zeb, I like your idea, but would only add that the only way a bill could pass into law is by a supermajority.

  9. #9 |  SuperMajority | 

    I command you thusly! Make it so, Zeb!

    Radley, great article. And I agree with Mike T, and the correction thereof.

  10. #10 |  The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack | 

    A presidential candidate serious about constitutional limits on federal power? Of whom do you speak? Do tell.

  11. #11 |  Matt Moore | 

    TJAOC – Ron Paul.

  12. #12 |  MikeT | 


    I don’t see why there is a problem with allowing the Supreme Court to issue fines to Congress and the President. I would also like to see the SCOTUS officially empowered to order the removal from office of any elected official who in the course of their term, signs their name to an unconstitutional piece of legislation.

    Yes, yes. Separation of powers. Times are getting desperate; we need to give the SCOTUS power to remove these people from office, since the impeachment process doesn’t work.

  13. #13 |  MikeT | 

    OK, so maybe if they sign their name to unconstitutional legislation 3 times during their term in office. that’s what I meant to say.

  14. #14 |  Jim | 

    One of the irrelevant moments mentioned is Al Gore’s sighing during the debate. I don’t think that’s in the same category of irrelevance as the other moments cited. Actions like that can give us a hint as to how he would deal with those having opposing viewpoints, whether the differences arise from ideology, priorities, usage of alternate statistics or mistaken logic. I won’t defend the coverage of it; I’m just saying that unlike in the other examples, I wouldn’t consider anyone to be shallow if the sighing lowered their opinion of Gore a bit.

  15. #15 |  Persona non grata | 

    Lets make the entire government less important.

  16. #16 |  Chris Farris | 

    Good Column. It explains the libertarian position in a non-wonkish manner.

    Question: why the term “civil society” vs “private sector”?

    I could see doing that if your were writing to an NPR audience where anything sounding like privitization is the same as saying racist or nazi, but FNC readers are a bit more open to the term privatization.

  17. #17 |  parse | 

    In civil society, underperforming companies go out of business; in political society, government agencies that don’t fulfill their missions get bigger budgets, and more employees. In civil society, underperforming employees lose their jobs; in political society, it’s nearly impossible to fire a federal employee, no matter how poorly they perform. In civil society, competition flourishes, markets constantly write and rewrite the rules, new ideas are tested, and innovators are rewarded; in political society, politicians write the rules, the same names get elected and re-elected, power becomes entrenched, and new ideas are dismissed as fringe and dangerous.

    I’d say your description of how civil society functions is an idealized picture of how it should function–in my company, with less than 25 employees, I can name two underperformers who don’t seem to be in any danger of losing their jobs, and CEOs of failing companies often get golden parachutes that seem to reward their poor performance. Meanwhile, you description of political society seems mild hyperbole, exagerrating (slightly) the failures of government.

  18. #18 |  Russ 2000 | 

    Excellent column, Radley. It’s nice to see someone properly define the schism in the culture without resorting to name-calling terms like right/left, red/blue, Democrat/Republican, freedom/socialism.

  19. #19 |  Jonathan Goff | 

    I have to agree with the others Radley, you really summed up the way I’ve been feeling on the matter much better than I ever could. I especially liked the part about civil society vs. political society–I think you did a great job of keeping that on a level easily understood by most Americans, and surprisingly non-partisan for how radical of an idea it has become.

    The founding fathers wanted a president who was little more than an glorified clerk. The kind of guy who was so unimportant, that you could just vote for local electors to pick the best guy for the job…