Certainly, there have been presidents who have adhered more closely to the Constitution as ratified than others, and they should be commended for their defense of liberty and republican principles. Honoring them on this day would be appropriate, but we have to remember that the founding generation wanted to protect their posterity from the type of centralization and excessive government we are facing today. The executive has become the root of the problem and should be dealt with accordingly. With 2012 being an election year, the House of Representatives will not do the manly thing and impeach Obama. It should, because impeachment is the one safeguard the American people have against executive abuse, and the Constitution was sold in part because that mechanism existed (and was preferable to another war). Talk is cheap, and the Founders would certainly be supportive of such action. Obama, and many other presidents in the last 150 years, have violated the constitutional restraints the founding generation believed would curtail executive abuse.
Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that King George III had “erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.” Have Obama and many of our past presidents been any better? If we wish to remain true to our founding principles and the Constitution as ratified, we should rethink our laser-beam focus on the executive branch and our misguided hero worship of many American presidents and foster a greater interest in resisting executive usurpation of power no matter who is in office, Republican or Democrat. That would be the responsible course to take.
Brion McClanahan holds a Ph.D. in American history from the University of South Carolina. He is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers (Regnery, 2009) and The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution (Regnery History, 2012), as well as the forthcoming Forgotten Conservatives in American History with Clyde Wilson (Pelican, 2012). You can find his Facebook fan page here.