A Letter To Mitt Romney

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Is Romney a Man of Courage?

Dear Senator Romney,

I am writing to ask you to use your unique heritage in a time of historic crisis. Whether or not President Trump is impeached,  I want you to support a Presidential Powers Reform Act. 

The Constitution left it to the Congress to make it clear that no President is above the law.  The Founders saw the President as head of state but never as a King.

Controversies over Presidential power are not new.  Previous Presidents, for better or worse, have exceeded the intent of the founders.  Jefferson used his unwritten powers to make the Louisiana Purchase without going to Congress.  Jackson sent Federal troops into the South, Polk made war in Mexico, Lincoln ran roughshod over the Constitution in his fight with the South.  FDR’s efforts to deal with the Depression were attacked as socialism.  Since Korea, the US has undertaken several wars, often under vague emergency powers granted by the Congress.  Even President Obama stretched the Presidential powers by his enactment of the Paris accords without getting approval from Congress.  And now we have Trump.  He has levied taxes, overridden states’ rights to regulate commerce within their own borders, threatened to make war and overturned treaties.  Worse, he claims regal immunity from oversight by the courts or by Congress. Courage profiles.jpg

Despite all this, the constitutional responsibility for defining the role of the President remains in the hands of Congress. The time has come for the Senate to use that power.  They should do so in the spirit of the eight senators described six decades ago, by another US Senator, John F. Kennedy.  His Profiles in Courage described eight Senators who defied their parties in efforts to deal with the crisis arising from slavery.  Their efforts ultimately failed, and we fought a civil war. Hopefully, we are not headed for anything as dreadful as that.

It seems to me that you are in a unique position to follow the path of those eight heroic Senators.  Your history as the first Mormon to run for President is reminiscent of President Kennedy as our first Catholic President. Your role as a Republican governor in Senator Kennedy’s home state also called for leadership above party politics.  Now as Senator from Utah, you are a man known for a profound religious faith.  As a former Republican candidate for President you have a reputation for morality that is rare in today’s politics.

So, I suggest you call on the GOP and on the candidates for the nomination by The Democratic Party,  to all agree to endorse a Presidential Powers Act.  The PPA should address the scope of unconstitutional powers whether exercised by Trump or any successor.  

I would like to see you support some version of what I call The Presidential Power Act. 

I  War Powers  We do have a war powers act but it needs to be rewritten so that it has actual consequences short of the need to impeach.  No US President should be able to make war without approval by both houses of Congress.

II  Treaty Powers  Treaties have no meaning if a President can unilaterally make and break promises to other countries.  Once confirmed by the Senate, a treaty should become US law and should only be overturned by a majority vote of both houses of Congress.

III.  Judicial Appointments  The fact that these are life long means we need a more onerous process for confirmation and that nomination needs itself to be more a prerogative of the Congress than the President.  The House should take the power of nomination, the Senate should require a 2/3 vote for confirmation with the President having the power to accept a nomination or refer it back to the Senate for a second vote.

IV.  Presidential Qualifications

1.  Anyone seeking the Presidency must make full disclosure of her or his IRS records and health records.
2.  The emoluments clause should be reinforced to require that no business owned by a President can be paid by a foreign government.

V  Presidential Appointments.

  1.  Presidential appointments should be restricted by laws that prohibit nepotism including business partners as well as family.
  2.  All presidential appointees should be required to do a full financial disclosure including  IRS records.

VI  The Vice President

  1.  All rules governing the President should also apply  to the Vice President
  2.  To strengthen the role of the Vice President, she or he should become the chair of the cabinet and act as Secretary of Management.

VII  The Cabinet.  The position of Cabinet Secretary should be redefined to assure that the Cabinet is an effective body comprised of people who can, along with the President and the Vice President, make policy.  To accomplish this, we need fewer cabinet posts.  Departments with primarily administrative functions .. eg. the Post Office, Veterans Affairs, Interior, Housing and Agriculture should be moved out of the cabinet while new positions are created for key advisory needs in the environment, economy, science, and management.  The Departments with management functions would be overseen by a very small office of management overseen by the Vice President who would also hold the title of  Secretary of Management.

VIII  Investigator General  Trump’s ability to obstruct justice illustrates the need to separate parts of the Department of Justice from the office of the Presidency.  Congress should create the position of the Investigator General.  The appointment of an IG would follow the same rules as those described above for justices. The Office of the IG (OIG) could initiate investigations on its own authority or at the request of any of the three branches of government.  The OIG would also have the ability to convene a grand jury and bring charges in a Federal Court.


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  1. Mark Adams #

    Should Senator Romney receive your e-mail it will be filed. (In a circular file.)

    All or nearly all your suggestions require a change to the Constitution and you would be better off asking state legislatures to call for a constitutional convention of the states. You could start that right here in Washington state by calling on various members of our legislature. While not likely to happen it has a hight likely hood than your letter to Mitt Romney. And you did not thank him for our governments health care solution?

  2. theaveeditor #

    Bull pucky. NONE of my suggestions require a constitutional amendment because these powers accreted to the presidency have either never been put into law (eg freedom from prosecution) or only became law as a result of congressional acts (eg the war powers act). You show me where I am wrong bubbelah!

    As for whether Romney reads it or not, that is not relevant. I am sending it to him to express my opinion and because IF he were to read it he is in a unique position to take action.