Thinking about the upcoming election, I was trying to think about what the really important and powerful roles of the president actually are. I came up with my top three:
- Commander-in-Chief: Obviously, the power to command the United States troops is a significant role of the president, especially as we are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Appointments: Cabinet members, judges, ambassadors, etc. Who a president surrounds himself with is fairly significant. What might the “bailout” have looked like if Henry Paulson wasn’t Secretary of the Treasury? It could be significantly different. And of course, you have Supreme Court Justices as well.
- Veto: The threat of a presidential veto holds legislative power in moderating Congress’ wishes.
Here’s how I think about those three things and what I’m looking for in the next thirty days:
- Honestly, I don’t think Obama or McCain are really that much different on the big issues. The democrats grandstanded and won back the Legislature in 2006 based on their promise to get us out of Iraq, but once they were in power didn’t do a whole lot with that. Neither president will get out of Iraq so quickly as to leave a cesspool. And, both want to move out of Iraq and into Afghanistan. I honestly don’t expect strategy will differ in the next 24 months with either president. What might be different between the two is their response to new crises.
- We don’t know much about appointments of either candidates. We can kind of guess at the kinds of Supreme Court Justices they would appoint, but Cabinet members are pretty open right now. I would be interested in the kind of people they are thinking about, but we may never really know that.
- If you want the president to retain the power of the veto, then McCain is the only guy. It’s pretty obvious the democrats will still be in power when the next president takes office. If you like a split power between the executive and legislative branches (history indicates that Americans prefer such split power), obviously Obama doesn’t help there.
So, that’s my top three issues at this point. Did I leave something really important out?