Executive Power

TimeWatch Editorial
December 20, 2016

According to the CATO Institute website, Gene Healy is a vice president at the Cato Institute. His research interests include executive power and the role of the presidency as well as federalism and over criminalization. He is the author of False Idol: Barack Obama and the Continuing Cult of the Presidency and The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power; and is editor of Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything. Continuing his Biography from the CATO Institute website, Healy has appeared on PBS’s Newshour with Jim Lehrer and NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and his work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Legal Times, and elsewhere. Healy holds a BA from Georgetown University and a JD from the University of Chicago Law School.

In his book The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power” Gene Healy begins his introduction with the following statement taken from the Meet The Press transcript for Jan. 28, 2007.

“On the morning of January 28, 2007, Mike Huckabee went on NBC’s Meet the Press to announce that he was running for president of the United States. It was a bold move for an undistinguished former governor of Arkansas, best known for losing 110 pounds in office and writing about it in a book called Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork. Bolder still was Huckabee’s rationale for seeking the nation’s highest office. He had decided to run, he told host Tim Russert, because ‘‘America needs positive, optimistic leadership to kind of turn this country around, to see a revival of our national soul.” Gene Healy, The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power,” page 1

Now of course, Mr. Healy begins to wonder about the apparent messianic reference used by Mike Huckabee as he describes the need to “revive our national soul.” Healy continues to look at the need for revival of the national soul.

“More importantly, what sort of office did Huckabee imagine he was running for? Is reviving the national soul in the job description? And if reviving the national soul is part of the president’s job, what isn’t? Huckabee wasn’t the only candidate to wax messianic about the president’s role. His fellow contestants in campaign 2008 also seemed to think they were applying for the job of national savior. Senator John McCain invoked Teddy Roosevelt as a role model, noting that TR “liberally interpreted the constitutional authority of the office,” and “nourished the soul of a great nation.” Gene Healy, The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power,” page 1

Gene Healy shows us that the messianic vision was not only expressed by Huckabee and John McCain. The belief that presidents are saviors slowly infiltrated the thinking of others who sought to fulfill the role.

“The man they hoped to succeed, George W. Bush, has made clear on any number of occasions just how broadly he views the president’s job. After a tornado ripped through central Kansas in May 2007, the president visited the hardest-hit town and told the assembled residents, ‘‘I bring the prayers and concerns of the people of this country to this town of Greensburg, Kansas.’’ He had arrived, he said, on a mission to ‘‘lift people’s spirits as best as I possibly can and to hopefully touch somebody’s soul by representing our country, and to let people know that while there was a dark day in the past, there’s brighter days ahead.’’ The president as described by George W. Bush was no mere constitutional officer charged with faithful execution of the laws—he was a soul-toucher, a hope-bringer—a luminary who carried with him the prayers and concerns of the American people—not to mention plenty of federal aid.”
Gene Healy, The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power,” page 2

The expressions used by these men, especially Huckabee and Bush might have appeared harmless enough, but a careful examination of their goals would reveal that their words fit exactly their perception of what America needed. The Religious Right Watch website under the topic “Exposing Huckabee's Dominionist sympathies” describes Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, as having ties to Dominionist and Reconstructionist leaders. Listen to Joe Conason's "Holy Constitution! " As quoted on the Religious Right Watch website.

Back in 1998, when he was still serving as governor, Huckabee helped write "Kids Who Kill," a short book purporting to analyze the outbreak of school shootings by teenagers. His coauthor was George Grant, a well-known militant Christian Reconstructionist author, activist and educator. That same year, the libertarian Reason magazine published an exposé of Reconstructionism titled "Invitation to a Stoning," which identified Grant and quoted him on the movement's ambition for "world conquest." Scorning the moderation of other conservative Christians, Grant explained, "It is dominion we are after. Not just a voice ... not just influence ... not just equal time. It is dominion we are after."
Joe Conason, "Holy Constitution!" The Religious Right Watch website

The Yurica Report
dated September 6, 2008, under the topic, “How to Trick Candidates into Giving Themselves a Religious Test” reported that,

On August 16, 2008, Rick Warren, the affable pastor of the 83,000 member Saddleback Church in Southern California made history by setting up a sequential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain at his church. Warren threw an hour of questions at each of the two presidential contenders, beginning first with Obama and in the second hour with McCain. The candidates fielded his questions before a live audience and the forum was televised and watched by over five million people. Obama appeared to be carefully thoughtful and analytical as he went through the process. John McCain in comparison seemed fast, lively, funny, sharp and prepared! He was so prepared that he seemed to run circles around his younger opponent, which led to speculation that McCain was prepped—that he knew what the questions were in advance. However, when one studies the transcripts of the two candidates—comparing only the stark words on paper—Obama’s answers clearly reveal a substance that was entirely missing from his opponent’s words.”
Katherine Yurica, “How to Trick Candidates into Giving Themselves a Religious Test,” September 6, 2008

It is clear then, that the gentle progression of the Dominionist agenda has started before the present time. Again, notice what George Grant says in the above paragraph regarding Dominionism. "It is dominion we are after. Not just a voice ... not just influence ... not just equal time. It is dominion we are after."

Executive power will surely then be an important element of Dominion control.

Be Vigilant.

Cameron A. Bowen

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