Conservatives used to understand this. In the last eentury,rnall the great political philosophers—men like John Randolphrnand John Taylor and John C. Calhoun—did. In this century,rnthe right was born in reaction to the imperial presidency. Menrnlike Albert Jay Nock, Caret Carrett, John T. Flynn, and FelixrnMoriey called the FDR presidency what it was: an Americanrn’crsion of the dictatorships that arose in Russia and Germany,rnand a profound evil draining away the life of the nation.rnThey understood that FDR had brought both the Congressrnand the Supreme Court under his control, for purposes of power,rnnational socialism, and war. He shredded what was left ofrnthe Constitution, and set the stage for all the consolidation thatrnfollowed. Later Presidents were free to nationalize the publicrnschools, administer the economy according to the dictates ofrncrackpot Kevnesian economists, tell us who we must and whornwe must not associate with, nationalize the police function,rnand run an egalitarian regime that extols nondiscrimination asrnthe sole moral tenet, when it is clearly not a moral tenet at all.rnLater conservatives like James Burnham, Willmoore Kendall,rnand Robert Nisbet understood this point, too.rnYet whom do modern conservatives extol? Lincoln, Wilson,rnand FDR. Reagan spoke of them as gods and models, and sorndid Bush and Gingrich. In the 1980’s, we were told thatrnCongress was the imperial branch of government because TiprnO’Neill had a few questions about Reagan’s tax-and-spend militarvrnbuildup, and his strategy for fostering global warfare whilernmanaging wodd affairs through the CIA. All this was bolsteredrnb books by Harvev Mansfield, Terr Eastland, and dozens ofrnother neoconser’atiyes who pretended to proyide some justificationrnfor presidential suprcmac’ and its exercise of global rule.rnMore recently even Pat Buchanan repeated the “Ask not . . . “rnadmonition of John F. Kennedy, that we should live tornserve the central government and its organizing principle,rnthe presidency.rnWhat the neoconserx’ative logic comes down to is this. ThernUnited States has a moral responsibility to run the wodd. Butrnthe citizens are too stupid to understand this. That is wh’ werncannot use democratic institutions like Congress in this ambition.rnWe must use the executive power of the presidency. Itrnmust hae total control over foreign affairs, and never bow torncongressional carping.rnOnce this point is conceded, the game is over, l l i c demandsrnof a centralized and all-powerful presidency and its interx’cntionistrnforeign polic}’ are ideologically reinforcing. One needsrnthe other. If the presidcncv is supreme in global affairs, it willrnbe supreme in domestic affairs, if it is supreme at home, therernwill be no states’ rights, no absolute property rights, no true libert’rnfrom government oppression. The continued centralizationrnof goxernment in the presidenev represents the end ofrnAmerica and its civilization.rnAkey part of the theor of presidential supremacy in foreignrnaffairs is the idea that politics stops at the water’s edge. Ifrnyou believe that, von have given up cyerything. It means thatrnforeign affairs will continue to be the last refuge of an omnipotentrnscoundrel. If a President can count on the fact that hernwon’t be criticized so long as he is running a war, he will runrnmore of them. So long as he is running wars, government atrnhome cannot be cut. As Felix Moriey said, “Politics can stop atrnthe water’s edge only when policies stop at the water’s edge.”rnSadK, Congress, for die most part, cares nothing about foreignrnpolicy. In that, it reflects the attitude of the American oter.rnThe exception is the handful of congressmen who do speakrnabout foreign issues, usualK at the behest of the State Department,rnthe CIA, the Pentagon, and the increasingly global FBI.rnSuch men are mere adjuncts of presidential power.rnIn fact, it is the obligation of eery patriot not only to denouncerna President’s actions at home but to question, harass,rnand seek to rein in the presidency when it has sent troopsrnabroad. That is when the watchful eve of the citizenry is mostrnimportant. If we hold our tongues under some mistaken notionrnof patriotism, we surrender what remains of our freedoms. Yetrnduring the Gulf \;ir, even those who had courageously opposedrnthis interyention in advance mouthed the old clichesrnabout politics and the water’s edge and “supporting our troops”rnwhen the presidency started massacring Iraqis. Will the samernhappen when the troops are sent to China, a country without arnsingle aircraft carrier, in retaliation for some trumped-up incidentrnin the tradition of the Maine, the Lusitania, Pead Harbor,rnand the Gulf of Tonkin?rnIf there is ever a time to get behind a President, it is when hernwithdraws from the wodd, stops wars, and brings the troopsrnhome. If there is ever a time to trip him up, question his leadership,rnand denounce his usurpations, it is when he does thernopposite. A bipartisan foreign policy is a Napoleonic foreignrnpolicy, and the opposite of that prescribed by Washington in hisrnFarewell Address.rnIn the midst of America’s war against Britain in 1812, JohnrnRandolph wrote an open letter to his Virginia constituents,rnpleading with them not to support the war, and promisingrnthem he would not, for he knew where war led—to presidentialrndictatorship: “If you and your posterit}’ are to become hewers ofrnwood and drawers of water to the modern Pharaoh, it shall notrnbe for the want of m best exertions to rescue ou from cruelrnand abject bondage’rnSixty years ago all conseryatives would have agreed with him.rnBut the neoconserxative onslaught has purged conservatives ofrntheir instinctive suspicions of presidential power, and by therntime 1994 had come around, conservatives had been thoroughlyrnindoctrinated in the theory that Congress was out of controlrnand that the executive branch needed more power. The leadershiprnof the 104th Congress—dominated to a man by neoconservativesrnand presidential supremacists—bamboozled thernfreshmen into pushing for three executive-enhancing measures.rnIn one of Congress’s first actions, it made itself .subject to thernoppressive civil rights and labor laws that the executive enforcedrnagainst the rest of the nation. This was incredibly stupid. ThernCongress was exempted from these for a reason. It preventedrnthe executive from using its own regulator’ agencies to lord itrnover Congress. By making itself subject to these laws. Congressrnwillingl’ submitted itself to implicit and explicit domination byrnthe Department of Labor, the Department of Justice, and thernFEOC. It imposed quotas and political correctness on itself,rnwhile an dissenters from the presidential line suddenly facedrnthe threat of investigation and prosecution b- those the} werernattempting to rein in.rnThe imposition of tliese laws against Congress is a clear violationrnof the separation of powers. But it would not be the lastrntime that this Congress made this mistake. It also passed thernline item veto, another violation of the separation of powers.rnThe theory was that the President would strike out pork, porkrnbeing defined as property taken b taxation and redistributedrnto special interests. But since pork is the entirety of the federalrngovernment’s $1.7 trillion budget, this has given the PresidentrnOCTOBER 1997/31rnrnrn