John Edwards vs. The Constitution

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xm6zze1pWyM]

There are many priorities to consider as we change the occupant of the White House. After experiencing the consequences of a president who was unprepared for the job in 2001, we don’t need a president who’s experience is limited to a single Senate term which was primarily used to run for the nomination. After a president who got us involved in the Iraq war and pushed through the Patriot Act we don’t need a president who was a big backer of both, regardless of his apologies. After a president who tried to ignore the Constitution and grab more power for the Executive Branch we don’t need a president who promises to do more of the same. With all the charges of “Bush-lite” which have floated around the past few years, the most Bush-like candidate of all is John Edwards.

Edwards has mentioned his idea denying health care to Congress if they do not pass his health care proposal in the past, but fortunately he is finally receiving criticism for this unconstitutional idea after the airing of this threat in the above ad. Besides violating Constitutional provisions regarding compensation for members of Congress, this is a disturbing violation of the concept of an independent legislature. A president already has tremendous advantages in pushing their agenda but ultimately decisions on legislation are in the hands of the Congress. A  president should not be able to place such pressure on members of Congress to infuence their votes. Is the next step to deny members of Congress their paychecks, or perhaps their liberty, if they refuse to go along with the dictates of the president?

The principle that legislation is determined by the Legislative Branch applies regardless of our opinion on the particular president in office or the programs supported. Part of living in a democracy is living under the fact that members of Congress, and not the President, determine what new programs are enacted.

Achieving health care reform is important, but preserving the Constitution is even more important, especially after all the damage it suffered under George Bush.

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    Brett says:

    I’m as distrustful towards John Edwards and his hypocrisy in numerous political matters, notwithstanding the Patriot Act and the government’s proper role in health care distribution, but I think you are overstating the case here. His campaign has conceded that this would be a piece of legislation that Edwards would promote as president and that it would have to be Congress itself that removes its own health care, all constitutional. I think the real controversy is the fact that Edwards seems to be implying that he will use his executive power to just take it away unilaterally, like a certain president’s theory about warrantless wiretaps. It’s very misleading, and, at the very least, a political stunt that would have no substantive effect.

    I believe that John Kerry introduced a similar “threat” against Congress, but one that would not take effect until 2011. So it is a legally acceptable procedure, but still, Edwards is once again misleading the American people.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Brett,

    If anything I understated the case against Edwards, not overstated it.

    I was responding to Edwards’ initial statements. The concession that this would be a piece of legislation didn’t come until after they were confronted with the fact that what Edwards was saying was unconstitutional.

    The initial case I raise against Edwards stands. In making this threat Edwards was either showing gross ignorance or was intentionally being deceptive. Not knowing his thoughts I can’t say which it was, but either is an additional problem beyond what I criticize him for here.

    I do not think that Kerry ever made a threat such as Edwards’. Saying that the American people should have the same coverage as Congress, as Kerry did, is not the same as making threats to take the coverage away from Congress.

  3. 3
    Brett says:

    Agreed, declaring that the president has the executive “power” to take away legislators’ health care without their approval is very damaging to the very principles of our country, and Edwards yet again is proving just how disingenuous he really is by channeling Bush and Cheney.

    While John Kerry did call for Americans to have access to the same plan as their congressional representatives in the campaign and afterward, he also has proposed something very similar to Edwards. Last April, Senator Kerry introduced the Countdown for Coverage Act of 2007, which would require Congress to provide universal health care insurance for Americans by the end of the 111th Congress. “If Congress fails to enact such a measure, Members will have to pay 100 percent of their health benefits, according to the bill.”

    http://www.johnkerry.com/2007/4/26/do-unto-others

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    I thought you were saying he made a threat like Edwards’ while running for president. This is a bill introduced by a Senator with regards to compensation for Senators and isn’t the same as a president taking such action against Congress.

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