Case in point. Just this week the GOP-led House of Representatives voted to "Condemn" Obama for exchanging Guantanamo prisoners for the release of the American solider being held by the Taliban. While voting for the purely symbolic "condemnation" the Republicans in the House have done exactly what they complain about - overreach. According to Article II of the Constitution, the President of the United States as Commander-In-Chief has the authority to use the military without direct Congressional interference - except when it comes to funding such measures. In the event Congress disapproves actions undertaken by the Commander-In-Chief, they have collective oversight over the Executive because they control the "purse strings." In other words, the Commander-In-Chief may act as much as he/she wants until Congress decides to strip away funding for such measures. But to condemn the Commander-In-Chief for actions undertaken within his/her authorized role is nothing more than political gamesmanship. Think about it. When Obama agreed with Congress' Bill limiting his ability to trade prisoners for soldiers held in captivity, he also executed a Signing Statement outlining exceptions to the requirement he notify Congress in advance of such prisoner exchanges. Obama, using his authority under Custom and Usage followed the terms of the Signing Statement to a "T" - which members of the opposition party cynically played up as "Overreach" and hence, a vote to "condemn" his actions as somehow being "Unconstitutional." Ironically, the GOP members of the House KNOW this is untrue, yet promote it to their uneducated base so that it continues to convince them that Obama is some sort of criminal. Just this week, social media commentary called for Obama's impeachment because of his use of Executive Orders and demanded that Congress outlaw such Orders - Except Congress has no such authority under Article I to curtail Article II powers. Gee, can you say "Overreach?" (See H Res. 644, passed 249-163, a non-binding resolution that has no chance of passage in the Senate).
And now we see efforts by the Democrats in the Senate to pass legislation to curtail the expanded use of unlimited anonymous political campaign fundraising. In Senate Bill SJ Res. 19, the Democratic led-Senate proposed a Constitutional Amendment that would restore broad Congressional and state control to regulate and control campaign contributions (which have flowed through the floodgates opened through the SCOTUS Citizens United v. FEC ruling (See http://www2.bloomberglaw.com/public/desktop/document/Citizens_United_v_Federal_Election_Commission_130_S_Ct_876_175_L_). According to the Associated Press, the measure would "negate...the decision which equated political spending with free speech." Now most Americans appreciate that unlimited campaign contributions leads to a corruptible Congress with the wealthy exerting influence over legislation that average Americans can not afford, yet when the measure went to a vote, the GOP rolled out a very cynical narrative now repeated throughout right-wing media and its supporters. Senate Minority Leader and major opposition leader Mitch McConnell proclaimed; "I have to say it's a little disconcerting to see the Democrat-led Senate focusing on things like reducing free speech protections for the American People...This is what they chose to make their top legislative priority this week? Taking an eraser to the First Amendment?" (See http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/217449-senate-republicans-block-constitutional-amendment-on-campaign). So under the brave leadership of Mitch McConnell, the proposed resolution did not even make it to a vote. McConnell and his minions voted to block the measure from getting to a vote (see cloture rules). And this is a positive thing for America? Allowing a 5-4 split Supreme Court decision to rise to First Amendment status like Freedom of Speech, Assembly, Petition, Press and Religion? The right to influence elections with unlimited campaign and lobbying spending by the privileged and wealthy when no such option is available to average Americans simply expecting political leaders to engage in what is best for the nation, not just the wealthy? The Supreme Court 's Citizens United decision is an abomination and an clearly an "activist" manipulation of what the First Amendment was intended to protect, yet those supporting the GOP now believe money IS political free speech because 5 justices on the Supreme Court said do. And folks are caught up with Obama and alleged "overreach?"
Wouldn't it be nice for all Americans to demand any one running for office agree to place limits on the outrageous sums spent by the wealthy few to influence elections and legislation? As President Andrew Jackson once said; "It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their own selfish purposes." Selfish purposes indeed! Have a great week!