The Founding Fathers of the United States of America created three equal branches of the government (that’s government with a lowercase “g”) — the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
This system was designed to create checks and balances to avoid the tyranny of government experienced under the king of England and many other autocratic failed states. Over the past two centuries, this system has worked — for the most part. And it will continue to work if we continue to work it.
But in 2008 and again in 2012, we elected a president who openly declared that he would “fundamentally transform” America. Our country is currently experiencing the results of that basic strategy of transformation. Our president has fundamentally, and, on an ad-hoc basis, created a fourth branch of government that should be called “the president’s branch.”
This relatively new branch includes only the president with a few close-friend advisers. The charge of this “branch” is for the president to fly around the country and world almost daily, making eloquent, soaring rhetorical speeches designed to make people feel good and create the appearance of leadership and action.
But this branch actually has nothing to do with governing America.
Yes, the president’s branch does influence the executive and legislative branches behind closed doors, mostly about the president’s self-serving political-policy agenda, but the executive-branch departments apparently are operating autonomously, reporting to no one. Also, un-elected bureaucrats in the executive branch — i.e. Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Human Services — are writing many rules that seriously impact the rights of American citizens.
The president in this new role has no real responsibility for anything and appears to stay as disengaged and uninformed as possible from policy-issues mismanagement within the executive branch departments. He hears of things in the newspapers, then responds with pronouncements that this or that must stop and be fixed! “We will fix it,” the president says. Just words, no responsibility.
Just a few of the undeniable and disastrous results from this new structure of four branches of government:
• Massive, unsustainable increases in the national debt. No president’s branch involvement.
• “Fast and Furious” U.S.-approved gun running into Mexico, with the attorney general held in contempt by Congress for cover-up lies. No president’s branch involvement.
• The total botching of the Bengazi Consulate terrorist attack — before, during and after — and the lies and cover-ups. No president’s branch involvement.
• Judiciary unconstitutionally targeting AP and Fox News reporters phone records looking for government leaks. No president’s branch involvement.
• The unconstitutional IRS targeting of conservative and Jewish-Israel supports groups prior to the 2012 election. No president’s branch involvement.
• Huge government spending waste as evidenced by the IRS’ spendthrift and unnecessary conferences.
• Broad, sweeping National Security Agency procurement of 121 million-plus phone records, plus all interactions on major web-based social media and search engines, affecting the privacy of all Americans. We haven’t heard yet about the president’s branch involvement in this privacy-rights issue, but he probably just heard about it in the media.
All of this, not to mention the 2009 president’s branch recommendation to the Democratic-controlled Senate and House to pass the most-sweeping, big-government, most-costly program in history — the “Affordable” Care Act. This was a complete handoff to the legislative branch. No guidance, just do it.
It will be interesting to see how the president’s branch avoids responsibility for this when it collapses as well.
In every organization, everything starts at the top. We need to get back to the original three branches of government with leadership, responsibility and accountability at ALL levels. We need to trim the federal government back to a manageable level.
Let’s get back to the original intent to be a federalist republic, focused on states’ rights and most important, individual rights and responsibility.
Robert Gault lives on Longboat Key. With 42 years in the theme-park industry, Gault is the former president of Universal Orlando and Hollywood; executive vice president of Universal Japan; and CEO of SeaWorld San Diego, Orlando and Ohio.