The power of the purse

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"Every now and again I go back to my trusty copy of the Constitution and read up on Article One. Gosh, if we could only govern that way today!"

I am going to say something which is far from profound, as most of us have heard this many times before. The office of the President, as well as the Governor of a state, is far overrated. To those who have never heard that, this might sound like heresy or blasphemy. But I speak truth to power. In other words, using hip jargon, "That is a fact, Jack".
To use, and somewhat tort a quote from the Clinton years, "It is the House, stupid!" Yes, for those who are blaming Pawlenty for spending too much while he was Governor, is somewhat incorrect. I will not blame TPaw for the spending. I will however, blame him or any other Governor or President for this - signing the bill which put the spending into law.
I remember listening to an interesting discussion years ago on "powers reserved" for the Executive Branch. It may come as a shock to many, but the "powers reserved" are few and far between. And that is by the design of our Founders. We have a President, and not a Monarch. The real power lies in the House of Representatives. The "People's House". The governing body of REPRESENTATIVES (I am using caps for my Democrat friends who still think we live in a democracy), who are up for election once every two years. It really is a beautiful system as designed. A government by the people, and for the people.
One of the things Jeff Johnson and I talked about in depth four years ago, was how he would govern if elected. He had studied this deeply. He knew exactly the scope of his power to get things done with a Republican House - and then how much he could get done with a Democrat House. The bottom line is, if you are a Republican Governor with a Democratic Congress, your choices are somewhat limited. It is knowing where those limitations are and how to play the edges (Constitutionally) which separates a good or average Governor from a great one.
Every now and again I go back to my trusty copy of the Constitution and read up on Article One. Gosh, if we could only govern that way today! The power of the purse resides there, and that power in immense. If at the end of a term, the state runs a surplus or a deficit, the credit or blame lies squarely on the House for putting that much spending into a bill.
So where does a good or great Governor fit in, if the House is the center of all the action? If he or she does not have line item veto power, the Governor can veto the entire spending bill, or sign it into law. If the House and Senate then have enough votes to overrides a veto, the fault then lies with the citizens. Why? The citizens elected the morons who serve in the House and Senate.
Remember that when you vote in November. Your vote for Governor is very important. Your vote for State Representative is even more important. The choice is ours. We can have very good governance for a change, or more of what we have. I know which way I am going to vote.