by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine
Photo via www.newrepublic.com
In 1902 Theodore Roosevelt intervened in a strike by Pennsylvania coal miners, exceeding his Constitutional authority as president. When this was pointed out to him by Republican House whip James E. Watson, Roosevelt allegedly yelled, “To hell with the Constitution when the people want coal!”
This outburst reflected the novel Progressive view of the Chief Executive. Instead of the Constitution’s limited powers focused on specific needs, such as national defense, beyond the capacity of the individual states or local governments to address, the President needed more expansive authority in order to serve the “people.” Over 100 years later, Barack Obama has governed on the same assumption, one that undermines the Constitution’s structure of balanced powers and limited government, and puts at risk our political freedom and autonomy.
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