The Power of Our President

Many of America’s school children are returning to school this week, having “celebrated” a week off that included Presidents Day.  Traditionalists will always call it Washington’s Birthday.  He was perhaps the last President that we had who deserved to be celebrated. Presidents Day should be a day where we question the power of the Presidency.

A recent commentary in The Week proclaimed Presidents Day to be the worst holiday.  I have to say that I agree.   “The American presidency is not something to be exalted. It is something that needs to be neutered”, said the author, Bonnie Kristian.  Every four years we spend a couple of billion dollars advertising hyperbolic lies over who should “lead” us.  It’s a process that few think works well and it elevates the office of President to something that it was never meant to be.

Kristian writes:

“President Trump can subpoena journalists’ phone records and call it “national security.” He can prosecute whistleblowers to discourage dissent. He can access mass amounts of warrantless surveillance on ordinary Americans, including triple the telephonic metadata the NSA was able to search before the so-called reforms passed as a result of Edward Snowden’s revelations. He can govern by executive fiat. He can unilaterally expand military intervention without congressional interference or any geographic boundaries. He can indefinitely detain people in Guantanamo Bay and other secret prisons. He can have a “kill list” of drone strike targets, that can include American citizens secretly assassinated without charge or trial. Some of them can even be teenagers neither suspected nor accused of any crime.

Trump can do all this and more — so, so much more — because the presidency he inherited from Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and their predecessors is, in the apt phrase of The Week’s Ryan Cooper, a turnkey tyranny.”

This is not a criticism of President Trump, but rather it is an indictment of the failure of Congress to maintain the balance of powers.

The President should be similar to a Town Manager: they should enforce laws, preserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and nothing else.  The office was meant to be an executive position.  Starting with Teddy Roosevelt, more than 110 years ago, the office has been consolidating power into one person where none should have existed.  What we are left with is power that is much too dangerous for any one person.

Writing at Fee.org last October, Barry Brownstein talked about Hillary Clinton’s “plan” as President.  Brownstein rightfully points out that no President should have a “plan”.  It is Congress that should be the source of legislation, not the Executive Branch.

“So limited were the powers of the president that Charles Pinckney, founding father and signer of the U.S. Constitution, argued against the impeachment clause in the Constitution on the grounds that the president’s powers “would be so circumcised” by the Constitution that presidential abuse would be impossible.

If the president is not to make plans for us, then what? … “Every day, ordinary citizens and entrepreneurs pursue opportunities. No one controls the myriad decentralized decisions and actions that, along the way, solve problems. We don’t need “problem solvers” to tell us the “winning plan.” We need planners and “problem solvers” to stay out of our way.”

Republicans are happy now that they are in power, but one day the fickleness of the voters will turn against them and they will put the Democrats back in power.  For at least the next four years, Republicans can take retribution by using the power of the Presidency to crush their “enemies”.  President Trump has promises to “drain the swamp”.  That involves much more than firing people though.  It means dismantling much of the Executive Branch’s power.

A truly transformational President would not consolidate power, but would demand that Congress take back the power that belongs to the people. Wouldn’t we all be much safer if our next President had no effect on our daily lives?  That is what our founders expected.  It is what we should expect.

In Liberty,
Ken Mandile
Senior Fellow
Worcester Tea Party

Dr. Punya Kishore: Addictions. Accusations, Recovery

February 2017 Free Education Event:

The Worcester Tea Party and The M&P Conservative Media Network have teamed up again to welcome the controversial Dr. Punya Kishore.  He spoke about his work on treating addiction and his incarceration for performing the work he loved so much. This was an educational and highly charged evening!

Part I

Part II

The rightful masters of both Congress and the courts

Eight years ago, the Tea Party movement began, supposedly sparked by a ranting CNBC reporter.  Unlike the protests that occurred this month around the inauguration of Donald Trump, those rallies began more than a month into President Obama’s term.  It took until September before the first large rally occupied Washington, D.C.

Times have changed though, and power has shifted.  For many, hopes are flying high.  For others, fear grips them.  I have a hard time understanding those who are frozen by fear of the Trump Presidency, but I do not doubt that their fear is real.  The marches against Trump were planned well before he held any power, yet organizers were able to mobilize millions of protesters across the country.  As a veteran of the Tea Party movement, I say “kudos” to them.  They are doing what Americans should do when they peaceably to assemble, and  petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I think that one thing that has created fear on the left is the decimation that they have suffered at the polls over the past eight years.  They thought that they would be the rightful masters of Congress and the courts indefinitely.  They are not.  The incredible shift from an electorate that elected the most leftist President in our history, to one who promises to undo that President’s legacy, is something for the history books.  The left does have reason to fear a Trump Presidency, not because he is an evil man, but because after 8 years of perverting the Constitution, things are going to change.

I have my doubts about President Trump’s concern for the Constitution.  He never mentions it.  Some of his ideas seem contrary to the limits of the Constitution.  Until the power of the Presidency is rightfully diminished, we’ll have to cling to the hope that he is serious about shrinking the power of Washington, D.C.  He’s gone outside the box in his cabinet appointments.  The coastal elites are apoplectic about some of these appointments, but their fossilized idea of government has been rejected by the American voters.  This is the biggest hope for the Trump Presidency, that it is a transformational era, where new ideas are allowed to flourish, while the stagnant failed model of the New Deal, Progressivism, and “wars” on everything are once and for all declared dead.

We will forever have leaders who seek to pervert the Constitution.  Regardless of who is living in the White House, vigilance is a virtue always required of the patriot.  The task of the Tea Party is no lighter than when Barack Obama was President.  When we started this movement, I said that this is a decades long task.  Our problem is not with the leaders who pervert the Constitution, but with the voters who elect them.  These are the minds that we must win over.  This is your task.  Instead of badmouthing the left, we should talk about the power of the model that our founders gifted to us.  By creating more lovers of the Constitution, we can ensure that the road to real liberty is always open.

In Liberty,

Ken Mandile

Senior Fellow

Worcester Tea Party

It is less about Resolutions, and more about being Resolute in 2017

Welcome to Harvard everybody!!After the election, I spoke with a person from the other side of the aisle who asked what I would be doing now that the Tea Party’s mission was over.  He was under the impression, probably gathered from fake news stories, that the Tea Party’s mission was just to oppose Barack Obama.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  

The Tea Party Movement is a grass roots response to the corruption, and incompetence, we have seen at every level of government.  The Worcester Tea Party is an incorporated non-profit dedicated to education focusing on economics and politics.  As an educational organization, those that accepted a leadership roles are given the title of Deans.  The treasurer of our organization is our Bursar.  Previous leaders of our organization that have retired from most active duties are Senior Fellows.  The guidance and counsel of our Senior Fellows is very important to our organization.  I have the honor of being the President of the Worcester Tea Party.  The President is the spokes person and evangelist for the group and I help out in any other way I can.

Our Deans are self starters with a commitment to our core principles of Individual Liberty, Limited Government and Fiscal Responsibility.  Deans pursue different projects with the understanding that the goals of our organization are fixed, but the methods that we attempt will change over time.  We have Deans focused on Twitter account, a Facebook page and we are pod-casting with Spreaker.  We also have a YouTube channel a Pinterest account and a WordPress website which are doing well but could be improved if volunteers were committed to them.  There are no limits to the opportunities for volunteers.  

The true strength of the Worcester Tea Party is our members.  It is our members that hold the signs at protests.  It is our members that ask questions of scurrilous politicians.  Our members provide t the donations that pay all the Worcester Tea Partys bills.  2016 has been a year where we have endured painful losses and enjoyed surprising victories.  Through 2016 many of our members have stepped into new roles and have advanced our organization.  It is our members that do all the hard work of citizenship that our group is famous for.  

With a new president in Washington, change is inevitable but our core mission will not change.  The core mission of the Worcester Tea Party is to educate voters about the importance of sound fiscal policy and limited government. This mission has not changed with the changing of an Administration in Washington.  Our faith in the principles of our nation’s founding and our commitment to the truth will not change.  2017 will surely present the Worcester Tea Party with new opportunities as well as new challenges.  I am confident that we will meet these challenges and take advantage of these opportunities as we’ve done for all the years that the Worcester Tea Party has existed in the beating red heart of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  May 2017 bless us with prosperity and peace and I hope to see you at our next Free Education Event

In Liberty,
Matt O’Brien
President
Worcester Tea Party

 

New President! New Hope?

Wow!  No matter how you feel about the 2016 Presidential campaign, there’s no doubt that it was historically one of the most interesting.  Donald Trump broke all of the “rules” that the pundits and consultants established.  He exposed the coastal elites as condescending frauds.  He delegitimized professional pollsters and the media that hyped their lies.  He created a campaign like no other.  Love him or hate him, he’s nothing if not interesting.

Where to next though?  Conservatives are all about small, incremental or evolutionary changes.  We’re about established etiquette, precedent, manners, honoring our forefathers, limiting change to very small steps.  Donald Trump doesn’t fit this conservative model.  No one knows where he’ll take us next.  We’re in unchartered territory.  Regardless, we know that the path that we were on was leading us to more trouble.

The liberal elites are completely blind to what just happened to them.  They blame their defeat on racism, sexism, homophobia, misogyny, and islamophobia.  This blindness dooms them to continued irrelevance.  There are a few voices from the left who seem to get it, but the ad hominem attacks on Trump supporters from most is evidence that they have not learned their lesson.

I didn’t support Donald Trump.  I still have a lot of doubts about his ability and about his plans.  As a manufacturer, I am particularly concerned about his anti-trade rhetoric.  I’m nervous about his ability to bring all parts of America together.  He has much to prove about his commitment to minorities and to religious freedom.  Yet, I understand why people voted for him.  They are good people who did what they needed to do for their families.  They are not the people that the left claims they are.

Walt Disney said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”.  Hillary Clinton’s path would have been a well-worn path to nowhere (or much worse), the path that we’ve been on for decades.  Donald Trump’s path? Perhaps he’ll take us off the path altogether and through the poison ivy or the thorny blackberry or perhaps it will be an easy and pleasant path.  We just don’t know.  What we do know is that it will be through something new, something to be curious about.

We’ll keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things.

That’s what Americans do

There is a Chinese curse that says, “May you live in an interesting age”.   Well, we certainly do live in an interesting age, but it is no curse!   We live a wondrous time.   We’ve been detoured off the path that we seemed to be stuck on for decades.  Not only will we survive, but we’ll have an adventure and our hearts will be “all of a patter and a pitter”.

Whether Donald Trump was your candidate or not, now is not the time to sit and wait though.  There is important work to do.  Join us, as we help forge the path forward.

In Liberty,
Ken Mandile
Senior Fellow

Worcester Tea Party

Just Voting is Not Enough

As a Cub Scout Den Leader and Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor I’ve taught young people that voting is a right and a duty.  Citizenship and age determine our right to vote.  This right differs from other rights though, in that it also demands duty.  Like jury duty, if enough people refuse to participate, the system fails.  It is a necessary component in the functioning of all democracies and, in particular,  our democratic republic.  We are taught from a young age that good citizens vote, but does voting make you a good citizen?

I can make a good case for not voting (“Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it.”), but there’s a larger message in Thoreau’s words, a call to action: “A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority.”  He is saying that voting alone is not enough.  It never has been, never will be, never can be.

“There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.”  Leaving to chance that your principles will be represented by any person other than yourself is an absurd notion.  Even if your candidate were guaranteed to win, you often don’t even have a candidate to choose from that represents your side on many issues.

It’s very likely that your ideas will lose, so why would you just vote and not take another positive action to defend your political beliefs for another four years?  No, voting is hardly even the minimum requirement for good citizenship.  A good citizen must get up on Wednesday, November 9 and continue to be involved in the politics of their community.

What does it mean to be a good citizen, to be involved in the politics of the community?  There’s no one universal answer for all people.  For some, it means educating young people, either their own or others.  It could mean participating in your neighborhood, your church, your school.  It could be getting up and running for office or serving on a local board.  It could mean being a great mom or dad.  It could mean getting involved with the Worcester Tea Party and our efforts to educate citizens.  We remain committed to promoting the ideals of the Tea Party movement, limited government, free markets, and fiscal responsibility. We can always use more help.

Are any of these alone enough to make you a “good citizen”?

Probably not. Thoreau called for civil disobedience, advocating that people must do what they feel is morally correct, even if it violates the law.  He went to jail because he would not pay taxes that supported the Mexican War.  Do any of us have the courage to go to jail for our beliefs?  There are a few who do, but most of us struggle to find other ways to be good citizens.  The point of his essay was that voting must not lead to complacency.  We need to act.

Many of us are probably fatigued from the stress and emotion of the Presidential campaign.  Perhaps you’ll want to rest on November 9th, but when you are ready, choose your weapon and your battle.  Get back out there and do the work of good citizens.

Vote, then act!
In Liberty,
Ken Mandile
Senior Fellow
Worcester Tea Party