This Republican Senator’s incredible speech on bipartisan responsibility has already been viewed 10 million times.
“Holy smokes, Ben. This may be the greatest political speech of our day, in the most unlikely of places. Tell them like it is. Bear responsibility. Take power back. And restore our Republic.”
Understandably, most of the attention being paid to Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate has focused on allegations of sexual misconduct.
But before those stories made headlines, a far more inspiring moment took place during an otherwise routine day of questioning.
“It’s predictable that every confirmation hearing now is going to be an overblown, politicized circus and it’s because we’ve accepted a new theory about how our three branches of government should work, ” Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) said in his opening remarks.
He then unexpectedly took a step back from grilling Kavanaugh to lecture his fellow lawmakers about what he sees as the biggest reason Washington, DC is failing in so many people’s eyes: Congress continues to hand over its authority to the White House.
And not just this White House. Every White House.
Sasse explains the problem as he sees it in four points:
“Number One: In our system, the legislative branch is supposed to be the center of our politics.”
“Number Two: It’s not. Why not. Because for the last century, and increasing by the decade right now, more and more legislative authority is delegated to the executive branch every year. Both parties do it. The legislative is impotent. The legislature is weak. And most people here want their jobs more than they really want to do legislative work.”
“Third consequence is that this transference of power means that people yearn for a place where politics can actually be done and when we don’t do a lot of actual big political debating here, we transfer it to the Supreme Court and that’s why the Supreme Court is increasingly a substitute battleground in America. It is not healthy but it is something that happens and something that our Founders would not be able to make any sense of.”
“Fourth and finally, we badly need to restore the proper duties and the balance of power from our Constitutional system.”
Sasse went on to give a brilliant but easy to follow civics lecture on how outside groups and White House offices are increasingly dictating the laws that pass through Congress.
As he explains, the American government was intentionally founded in a way that gave most of the power to Congress to make laws and control budgets. The executive branch, i.e. the President, was intentionally held in check as a way to avoid dictatorships or monarchies -- the very thing America’s Founding Fathers had escaped from.
Instead, we now live in a society where most of the power derives from the White House and members of each political party either blindly do the bidding of their president or blindly oppose him. The result is increasingly political polarization and legislative stagnation. It’s all controversy and very little progress.
“People shouldn’t be protesting in front of the Supreme Court, they should be protesting in front of this body,” Sasse says. And he’s absolutely correct.
So, if you’re watching the Kavanaugh hearings and getting increasingly worked up either because you can’t believe this man is potentially about to take a seat on the nation’s highest court, or outraged because you think he’s been unfairly maligned, sit down and watch Sasse’s speech in full.
It’s not every day, or every year, that a long talk on policy goes viral to the tune of 10 million views. And that’s because it’s a message most Americans are desperate to hear.