Jan 202009

Today the Torch of TyrannyTM will be passed from George Bush to Barack Obama. There will be many parties, plenty of speeches and far too much pointless news coverage of both. There will also, most likely, be many questions asked.  But I have only one question: why do we need a President, anyway?

This question most typically arises after I’ve been told that “someone has to be President”.  Unfortunately, despite posing the question to dozens of people over decades I have yet to receive a decent answer.  The vast majority of the answers come down to: well, who would handle the duties of The Office if we did not have a President.  Of course, few of these people can actually list these duties.  So I’ve returned to the beginning: The United States Constitution.

Article Two of the Constitution covers the Executive Branch.  Sections one and four deal with putting people into the office and removing them from it, so all of the President’s duties are covered in sections two and three-

  • The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States…
    • In other words, the President is in charge of the military.  Since the United States military has not been used to actually defend the United States since the Mexican-American War ended in 1848, and there  are no countries that are both capable and interested in invading the United States, I don’t see why we need a military leader.
  • …he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices…
    • Since these “executive Departments” are not listed in the Constitution I don’t see why it’s vital that they all report to one person.  Why not simply let their current heads be the final word.  Besides, this clause doesn’t give him any real power over these Departments.  It only declares that they must submit a report to him whenever he so desires.
  • …and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States , except in Cases of Impeachment.
    • Why must the President be the final arbiter of pardons?  It seems the judges themselves could do this job just as easily, or some form of independent panel.  The power to pardon is, after all, widely judged to be the most abused power of the Executive branch.
  • He shall have Power, … to make Treaties, … and he shall nominate, and … shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for…
    • Considering each of the “powers” granted in this clause must be approved by Congress it certainly seems such things could be handled by an individual or committee chosen by Congress as well.
  • The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate
    • Modern communication has made this a pointless power.  Since such Vacancies would occur doing Recess there would be plenty of time for the states represented to fill these seats on their own.
  • He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient…
    • Refer above to the section on “executive Departments”. We can dissolve two “duties” with one action by having these department heads report directly to Congress.
  • …he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers;
    • So, he can call Congress into session and tell them when they can go home (assuming they can’t decide for themselves). Seems like a pretty pointless and largely ceremonial power to me.
    • And he’s the guy who “receives” foreign leaders. Ditto the ‘ceremonial power’ portion above.
  • he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
    • I’m not even sure what this means. Doesn’t the Judicial Branch decide if laws are “faithfully executed”?
    • And since the phrase “Officers of the United States” is not used in any other article of the Constitution it seems fairly meaningless as well.

So, there you have it.  The President of the United States has a grand total of 11 duties or job responsibilities, none of which actually seem very vital.  So would anyone care to defend this “highest of offices”?  What, exactly, makes the President of the United  States the “most powerful man in the world:?

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  23 Responses to “Why Do We Need A President, Anyway?”

  1. We need a President so that when the federal government amasses more powers, it has a Fearless Leader to abuse them.

  2. ::slaps forehead::

    That’s right! I forgot 🙂

  3. we need a president because he is the face of our nation and somebody has to run things!

  4. no doupbt he makes a good president but we r are own leaders we dont need the government running r lives and even running his.. i think people dont question this enough y do we run on money when were constantly in dept paying back money that dont exsist. i know the sneeky basterds keep all there shit in computers now a days its just made up money from were? 2% real 98% invisible

  5. Hello,

    Thanks for this post, it is really helpful.

    Good luck

  6. I think the reason why the President of the United States is the most powerful man of the world because of the Nation itself. United States is the powerful and most influential state in the world thus the leader should bear the powerful credibility of the state.

  7. We need president, so we have someone to be blame when the economy going bad 😮

  8. We need President in search of leader.

  9. Why have you stopped posting on your blog? Nothing more sad than a blog that’s gone quiet. 🙁

  10. If no one else will, who? You see civilization is a very complex structure we humans are complicated we need the word “politics”. Dirty or good, we need governance.

  11. We need a president to hear the problem of its people for whom he is responsible to God, And to manage the things for the nation.

  12. well we need president to give others a bad img of our country 🙂

  13. We do not need a president, but we have one because the constitution mandated it. That happened because all countries had a supreme ruler so it was considered as normal operating procedure (still is). In summary, we do not need a president, but we are stuck with one because we have always done it that way, and changing it now would be an insurmountable challenge largely because people would be more interested in American Idol, NFL, NBA, etc.

  14. I think the president is just like a speaker of the country, but I don’t think the president can change any current politics in the country.

  15. I personally think that if the president do some efforts, he will be able to bring a good change in the current political crisis of the country.

  16. Yap We need president, so we have someone to be blame when the economy going bad 😮

  17. We need a president like we need a hole in the head. The Presidents main purpose is to be a stumbling block between both House’s of Congress. The U.S. Congress should handle all matters pertaining to it’s citizens.

    When a situation arises that warrants America’s presence
    in a foreign land, the U.S. Congress shall designate a one time Ambassador to handle the situation.

    No one shall award monies to a Foreign Gov’t. The Congress shall vote with taxpayer approval on any giveaways to foreign governments.

    Without a President most our problems are solved.

  18. Ask the citizens of Somalia why we need one.

  19. or- the citizens of Kuwait

    will our military leaders rule the country to your satisfaction ?

  20. dumbdog1 » Your average Somalian is actually fairly happy with their lot in life and sees no need for anything like a President: http://www.philaahzophy.com/20.....a-pt-1-of/

  21. dumbdog1 » Well, according to the US State Department, 1/3 of Kuwaits population “enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world.” That is, until a neighboring despot (put into power by a former US President) decided to invade their territory, and then a non-neighboring bully (that’s the US in case you’re too dumb a dog to realize it) decided to occupy their country. Now, they’re not doing so hot, since so many of their resources go to supporting the occupiers.

  22. The president is there for his ideas, Congress is there for everything else, we just need a new president with new ideas, we need balance.