Dr. Gutzman Talks About Present Day War Hawks
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “I want to go back to the discussion at the end of the last hour about the letter from the 47 senators and about the U.S. Senate’s newfound love for the limitation of the executive branch and what it ought to do. What I’m amused by is just the inconsistency.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: I want to go back to the discussion at the end of the last hour about the letter from the 47 senators and about the U.S. Senate’s newfound love for the limitation of the executive branch and what it ought to do. What I’m amused by is just the inconsistency. It would be different if they erred on the side of caution and on the side of enumerated powers every time, but you and I both know that when the president was in cahoots with Secretary Gates (who should have been impeached), in cahoots with Secretary Clinton (who should have been impeached), when they were bombing Muammar Gaddafi back to Xerxes II and assisting NATO forces, Al Qaeda forces, etc., and tracking down and assassinating Gaddafi, McCain and company didn’t have any problem with it. Remember, Obama was leading from behind. He should have been leading the charge on this.
Of course, they wanted him to lead the charge to bomb Bashar al-Assad all the way back to St. Paul of Damascus and those days because Assad had gassed his own people. Secretary Kerry was up there saying, [mocking Kerry] “And if we don’t do something about Bashar al-Assad and his chemical weapons, we’ll face the day when chemical weapons will be a fact of warfare.” Of course, none of this was to the chagrin of McCain and Ayotte and Menendez and Corker and the rest of them. They didn’t say a peep other than you’re not doing it enough. There is at the least here – they’re very selective in when they want to kneecap the president. That’s unfortunate, isn’t it?
Kevin Gutzman: Actually, if you recall, McCain was complaining about Obama’s Libyan intervention, that there should be Marine boots on the ground in Libya. If he had had his way, we’d have an expeditionary force permanently bogged down in Libya.
Mike: We started this with a little discussion about James Madison. I read you from his commentary on confederacies ancient and modern. Then we go through the formative years of the Constitution being written and then being ratified. Of course, he has a major role in this. I don’t think, your book notwithstanding, besides his acts as president, Madison has a very prolific political career in between the Constitution being ratified and then him beating James Monroe out to be the successor to Thomas Jefferson, doesn’t he?
Gutzman: Sure. Actually, it’s not until 1808 that that question is ultimately decided. I think one point we want to be sure to notice here is the stark difference between what we expect of our presidents today, whether they’re Republicans like W or Democrats like Obama, and the example that was set by Madison. Madison, for example, famously, in 1812, went to Congress and describe British naval depredations against the United States, how the British navy was stopping American ships at sea, conscripting American sailors into the Royal Navy, bottling up American ships in American harbors and so on. Then his conclusion was the British are at war with us but we’re not at war with them. You may want to contemplate whether we should change that situation. But he didn’t even say we need to declare war. He didn’t think it was his prerogative as the chief executive to suggest that. This question, he thought, was entirely for the Congress. Now we’ve gone so far away from that model that we have presidents insisting that they should be able to make recess appointments when the Senate isn’t in recess, substantial agreements with foreign countries under the rubric of executive agreements, and essentially any other kind of policy decisions they like on the basis that they have phones and pens. Again, John Yoo arguing in front of the Senate that it didn’t matter that the statutes banned torture because, well, the president might decide he wanted to torture someone anyway.
Mike: And he did decide that.
Gutzman: Right. What I’m describing here is the difference between a constitutional system and our system. This is exactly what Buckley is getting at in his book The Once and Future King. America is less free than numerous other countries and moving down the list of rankings in regard to various kinds of freedom precisely because our constitution, says Buckley, created an independent executive, the people leading which have realized in the last few decades that they can essentially do whatever they want and really nobody can stop them. We have, for example, a gigantic body of regulations inflicted on us by the executive in the name of Dodd-Frank, in the name of Obamacare or whatever. There is absolutely – this is another point that Buckley stresses. There is absolutely no prospect that these will be repealed. Of course, now we have Jeb Bush out saying: What we need to do is repeal and replace Obamacare. You and I know that if Obamacare is 10,000 pages of regulation, that means we’ll have 9,990 pages of regulation and the Bush Republicans will say that’s a big victory and vote Republican.
This is what we get. We have ongoing and ridiculous laws. I’ve heard Buckley say in person that everybody knows that Dodd-Frank was destructive. In a place like Canada or the UK or Australia, they could come back later and repeal it. In fact, only a few years ago they actually reduced the percentage of the Canadian GDP that was spent by the central government substantially. This was under leftwing government in Canada. They cut back government spending substantially. You know that it doesn’t matter which party controls the federal government in the United States. We are not going to have spending cuts substantially.
Mike: And they pay their debt off, too. The Canadians pay most of their debt off.
Gutzman: They presently have a markedly lower proportion of their GDP in indebtedness, and a far less substantial annual deficit than we have when they don’t actually have a surplus. Canada is just one example. Actually, in his book he provides a lot of information about the English example, a lot of information about the Canadians. All of it makes a woeful contrast to the American situation.
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Mike: We’re not in a very good way right now constitutionally and as [r]epublicans certainly. It really is a shame because there are very sincere people that attempt to act accordingly to what they think a federal constitution, how that system ought to work. So they pass laws in their little towns, pass laws in their counties, ask their legislatures to pass laws, and ultimately wind up getting trampled and told to sit down and shut up by some member of the federal judiciary.
End Mike Church Show Transcript