On Tuesday, Vice President Dick Cheney made a startling discovery with historic implications. While cleaning out some papers from an antique desk, the Vice President apparently discovered a new “Federalist Paper” hitherto lost to history.
The Federalist Papers were a series of eighty-five articles written under the pen name “Publius” by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay in late 18th century. Their purpose was to gain popular support for the proposed Constitution. It now appears that an eighty-sixth paper by these founding fathers was lost to history for over two centuries. Even more startling is that the essay appears to directly contradict many of the previous Federalist Papers. Constitutional experts believe that this discovery may result in significant reinterpretation of the doctrine of “separation of powers” as well as reconsideration of the relationship between the President and Congress.
The first hint of a change in tone from earlier Federalist Papers is the surprisingly strident title of the new paper: “Why Congress Should Go Fuck Itself.” The paper presents a less enthusiastic attitude toward the separation of powers doctrine than Federalist 51 which states: “the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other — that the private interest of every individual may be a sentinel over the public rights.” Regarding the relationship of the President and Congress, Federalist 51 states that “in republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates.” In contrast, the new paper addresses these issues by stating only that: “Congress should do what it’s told like a little bitch.”
The new paper also seems to take a broader view of the President’s war powers than was expressed in Federalist 69 which explains that the President’s powers as commander-in-chief “amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces” while all other powers “appertain to the legislature.” In contrast, the new paper states: “the President, as the physical embodiment of the American people, is the owner of the state, and may dispose of his property, including persons suspected of un-American activities, as he wishes.”
All of this would seem to be a notable departure from the tone of Federalist 70 which argued against concentrating too much power in the hands of one man particularly during times of war:
“Every man the least conversant in Roman story, knows how often that republic was obliged to take refuge in the absolute power of a single man, under the formidable title of Dictator, as well against the intrigues of ambitious individuals who aspired to the tyranny, and the seditions of whole classes of the community whose conduct threatened the existence of all government, as against the invasions of external enemies who menaced the conquest and destruction of Rome. […] Man, in public trust, will much oftener act in such a manner as to render him unworthy of being any longer trusted, than in such a manner as to make him obnoxious to legal punishment.”
Constitutional experts were unavailable to comment on this last passage as they had been taken into custody at an undisclosed location.Powered by Sidelines