America got a full dose of the presidency last week when the past five heads of state met at the White House for a celebratory meeting exalting the power of the Executive Branch. Presidents Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, current President George W. Bush, and President-Elect Barack Obama met and held a press conference, posing for photo-ops and further giving the media and the nation a sense of the faulty but real power the President holds over the other two branches of government.
The United States Constitution provides for a somewhat weak present. It grants legislative action to the U.S. Congress and judicial oversight to the Judicial Branch. However, these presidents are a strong testament to the President's growing power and the subservience of the other two branches.
It is supposed that this media-created event is a further step in preparing the American people for more consolidation of power in the executive branch. During the present Bush's career, the Executive has increased enormously in power. The President now makes many important legislative proposals to Congress and presides over torture and unlawful imprisonment without any judicial oversight.
And when Barack Obama calls for "extraordinary" measures to deal with "extraordinary circumstances", it is strikingly evident that his term in office may become the greatest usurpation of power in the hands of the President seen yet.