Step 1: Win the Presidency. Yeah, the first step is the hardest, but after that it's all gravy.
Step 2. In the Rousing Speech following the Oath, declare that one term is the goal; I will not seek my party's nomination for a second term, but I will accept it. If nominated, I will not run; however, if elected I will serve the second term. The point is to get things done and not waste half my time running again. If the people like what I'm doing, there is no better advertising or campaign slogan than "so vote him in again."
Step 3. Demonstrate the true power of the presidency of this nation. This comes in multiple parts:
Day 1: Take Oath of Office and deliver Rousing Speech. Party that night and enjoy being President. The world will likely NOT blow up that evening.
Day 2: Press Conference with party leaders of both sides present, including Speaker of the House and Senate Majority/Minority Leaders as well as whips and notable power players in both houses. Use flattery, intimidation, cash, and any other persuasive forms necessary to get all the news networks and channels to air it live. Also invite any and all political/legal bloggers and provide feeds/network connections/bandwidth. In this press conference, declare the following points:
- 1. The first bill to be signed into law will eliminate and criminalize the earmarking process; there will be no more sneaking of pork into bills -- every dollar accounted for at the time of delivery to the President is exactly what will be allocated. Also included will be lobbyist reform and Sunshine aspects to campaign funds, gifts and income of members of Congress, and a provision to increase likelihood of random IRS audits of members of Congress.
- 2. No other bills of any nature will be signed into law until this first one is passed and signed. Budget, national defense, etc will all wait until we clean up this first major problem of accountability on the part of elected officials. If the congress wishes to fight this attitude, then THEY can explain to the people why the federal budget and other important bills are being vetoed.
- 3. Once the Anti-Earmarking Bill is signed into law, National Defense and Budget bills will be allowed to be signed. Budgets in particular are encouraged to be streamlined in order to avoid their veto.
- 4. Similar to the attitude of the first bill, no further bills will be signed into law until Immigration Reform is settled. This includes Border Security First provisions, heavy sanctions for employers of illegals, approval of raids and deportations, and a shutdown of all non-emergency services to illegals. If the congress wishes to do a Comprehensive plan involving the normalization of illegals already here, the bill will be DOA. Normalize them in a separate bill after we have secured the border and encouraged many to leave of their own accord.
- 5. At this point, and only at this point, will any other bills be signed into law. There will be no "backlog" allowed -- any bill dated from before the signing of these other bills will be vetoed.
Presidents use their veto power far too rarely, especially in the recent years of a divided congress that has little to no chance of overriding that veto. Recent presidents have been too worried about "going along to get along" in order to get a morsel of what they want from congress. Why not use the power of the presidency, namely the veto, to say "this is what is acceptable, this is not" and stick to it? If one is truly interested in public service and getting one's policies put into effect, it would seem that settling for part of it while having to give up even more in other places would make little sense.
These actions have ripple effects -- it forces the elected members to either clean themselves up or answer to their constituents why things like Federal Financial Aid applications aren't getting processed or paid out, or why block funds to states for highways are sitting there without authorization. As the president I will take plenty of heat, but I don't care -- congress has been told what the plan is, and in not holding up their end the responsibility is theirs.
There is no way that the blockage would persist for more than a couple of months -- once the normal time of getting the budget passed has been exceeded, the phone calls to the members' offices would begin, and an avalanche would follow. They would have NO choice but to deliver the specified bills.
Some would say this is dictatorial -- what is to stop a bad president from using the same tactics?
But that is the system we already have -- and the evil president who does this for evil or selfish ends would most likely trip up and get herself (ahem) turned out at the first term or possibly impeached. It also would likely set up constitutional challenges which would determine just how bad those policies are. Besides, how many Evil policies have passed into law over the years? Jim Crow laws, Prohibition, BCRA, and many others are testament that the Regular process is quite capable of serving up bad law on its own -- no dicatator required.
At any rate, the people who CAN be president typically do not have the will to do this. Much like my article last year on how to make Condi the incumbent for 2008, it's all in looking at the rules we have in place, and using them in a way that others have not tried. They are not tried NOT because it is wrong or gaming the system, but because the political elite are too attracted to the power, wealth and prestige that comes from national public service.
If they only would stop, look at the rulebook again without the selfish streak, they would see that holding firm to a principle may get you turned out at the next election, but it may increase the likelihood of getting your policy enabled. Now, which aspect of "public service" do YOU think is more important?
Secondarily, this stance would feed down to the states and across to foreign nations. When the US has a president who is willing to take his own political life hostage, foreign leaders are going to buy into the Crazy. When confronted with the diplomatic version of Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon, they will quickly realize that messing with us and our interests is a good way to get noticed by a president who is willing to let the entire United States sit in limbo until he gets what he wants.