The Modern Definition of Conservative Politics
Conservative politics has been defined in many different ways over the years, but in a general sense it is defined as a philosophy of the maintaining of the status quo, or even as a regression to the way things were.
In former times, conservatism was looked upon as behind the times, and in many situations this was the case, as a strict adherence to a conservative political philosophy would have constricted many modern advancements.
The context of conservatism in the political world of today in the United States is basically an adherence to the US Constitution and the application of its precepts in all things political. This is the basic reason that the Constitution was written in the first place, as the intent was to codify actions and laws passed that would affect the people.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case in recent years, where “laws of Presidential fiat” have become the order of the day. The United States Government was established on a triad of equal powers and responsibility, where the Presidency, the bicameral legislature (House and Senate), and the judicial branch would offset each other with checks and balances.
What has occurred with the United States Presidency is that there has been a gradual move of Presidents who have taken advantage of “Executive Privilege” which has come to mean that the President can literally do as he pleases, until Congress has the courage and wherewithal to stop him.
Executive privilege is a concept that comes from the inherent powers of the constitution, where it is “inferred” but not stated in the Constitution that these powers exist. In article II of the Constitution, there is language that refers to the Executive branch, which outlines what the President can and cannot do. Most of the language in this article refers to the impeachment of the President and his succession.
However, by using the concept of inherent powers, executive privilege has become prominent in the decisions of Presidents, and it has affected the United States in ways contrary to the constitution and the original intent of the Constitution.
For example, the recent passage of the Affordable Care Act was passed in Congress mainly because of Presidential fiat. There was little prior knowledge of what the act contained and there was not enough time given to digest it. Of course there was much pressure from members in Congress who supported the President.
In this case, conservative politics would be to follow the Constitution as far as allowing debate on the law and enough time to digest what the bill contained so honest and intelligent debate could occur, and of course this was not done.
Recently there has been a shift in definition by President Obama, as he has redefined “executive orders” to “executive memorandums” which when issued have the force of law and can be very far reaching. By reclassifying the definition, the President can say that he is in line with past presidents, when in fact he is literally double anyone else in this category.
Conservatives would say that this is way out of line and is not adhering to the constitutional powers allowed to the President.