Republican Primary Debate #4 is done.
This time, I watched them (i.e., the “undercard” and the “main event”) when they aired… but, I missed a few minutes here & there. And, since I didn’t feel like watching ALL of it on Youtube, I can’t really give a comprehensive, firsthand review. (Here are a couple decent opinion pieces on the main event, though: “Cruz And Rubio Win Debate And Foreshadow A Coming Clash” and Allen West’s “Here’s my candidate ranking for last night’s debate (and one BIG missing thing)”.) However, I will say that I was impressed with the professionalism of the moderators and the questions stayed on-point. Largely substantive policy discussions ensued.
Still, I wanted to post something relevant. I actually put this together following a previous debate and was going to post it on Facebook. As you can see, I opted to (finally) post it here, instead. Nothing profound. Just a friendly reminder, as we listen to the various contenders explain all the wonderful things they’re going to do once sworn in as President….
Let’s be clear. No matter what the presidential candidates say or promise they will do, the President’s authority is limited. As long as one is following the Constitution, the President cannot (and should not try to) legislate from the Oval Office. Sure, there is a certain amount that can be done via executive orders and the like, mostly in terms of how the government departments & agencies that fall under executive purview operate and what their priorities are. Beyond that, the President can put anything s/he wants to on the presidential agenda of issues they want to address during their administration. But, any reforms of healthcare, taxes, corporate regulation, government funding (at least, at the higher levels), etc., must make it through Congress first.
For example, if a candidate says, “I will cut personal and corporate taxes to a flat 15%,” what this really means to the taxpayer is that, as President, this candidate would encourage Congress to pass such a plan — perhaps even introducing it to the House him/herself — and would sign the bill, should it be approved by both chambers. So, assuming such a promise is not empty, it is *great* to know said candidate wants to do that, but we need to remember that — despite attempts to prove otherwise by the current administration — the Presidency is not a kingship or dictatorship, and the resident of the Oval Office cannot do whatever s/he would like.
<<replaces mic, steps off stage>>