To Shrink the Presidency
10-24-2007
Take a look across presidential history, particularly during wartime, and you will see that both Republican and Democratic presidents have a tendency to expand their institutional power at the expense of the other branches of government. This authority, once accrued by the president, is rarely, if ever, returned to the collective judgment of Congress at some later date.
 
President Bush has certainly been no exception to this rule, expanding the executive toolkit at his disposal for foreign policy and homeland security, while sometimes testing the limits of his constitutional authority in the process.
 
In a recent interview, however, Hillary Clinton suggested that she would be willing to relinquish some of this power as president, although she was not explicit about what exactly she has in mind, nor did she say whether such a move would be contingent upon Democratic control of Congress.  While this is an intriguing possibility, history also tells us that Clinton would not be the first candidate to find, once in office, that the institutional powers of the presidency actually feel...just about right.


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