Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Presidential Powers

On my drives to and from Louisiana I spent a lot of time thinking about three things: my D&D campaign, my game idea, and my presidential campaign in 2020. I won't be posting my D&D notes here since some of my players might read this blog, but I may write about the other two things so I can record my thoughts while they're still relatively fresh.

I'll start with the presidential stuff.

It's my habit now, when I listen to political conversations, to consider how the things I'm hearing will affect my approach to leadership. My political stance on many issues are not yet clearly defined, mostly because I simply haven't had the chance to define them yet. There's a lot to consider, and I'm making judgments or setting ideas aside for further consideration later as I become aware of them.

The general approach I've always had, though, was to make it clear that my presidential run and, in the astronomically unlikely chance that I get elected, my time in office would be an educational experience for both myself and everyone else. I want people to understand the entire process because I think a lot of the criticism people levy on the president comes from a misunderstanding of what being a president means.

For instance, here's what a president can actually do:
  • After Congress creates a bill and passes it, the president can sign the bill into law, veto it, or ignore it. If the bill is not signed by the president, then Congress can overturn the veto with a 2/3 vote.
  • The president is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.
  • The president is in charge of foreign policy, assigning and relieving diplomats and ambassadors if not acting as ambassador personally. Any agreements or treaties with other countries must be ratified by the Senate.
  • The president determines the way in which laws are executed. This is the most complex duty, which involves interpretation of the law. This is also where most of the president's power lies, since the power of a law rests entirely in how it's executed.
  • The president can nominate Supreme Court judges if a spot opens up, and he can pardon criminals.
A president can not create laws or propose bills to congress, create laws, create a national budget, create money, or give himself more power. The powers he has are limited to what has already been granted to him by Congress. Beyond that he's mostly a figurehead with only the power of suggestion and the threat of veto to make his will be done. A president's power is limited, and that's an awesome thing.

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