`` Relic : How Our Constitution Undermines Effective Government And Why We Need A More Powerful Presidency

`` Relic : How Our Constitution Undermines Effective Government And Why We Need A More Powerful Presidency

Length: 2098 words (6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In their piece, Relic: How Our Constitution Undermines Effective Government and Why We Need a More Powerful Presidency, William Howell and Terry Moe discuss the drawbacks of the Constitution in a modern-day society and advocate for an increased role of the president in formulating legislation. The authors divide the book into four parts encapsulating the Constitution and its history, issues with Congress, the prospect of presidential change, and lastly a plan for moving towards a more effective government. After examining the failures of our Constitution in bringing about effective government, the authors present a foundation for change that they believe will fix our flawed system. For Howell and Moe, the separation of powers articulated in the Constitution serves a central role in governmental chaos, but a strengthened president can allegedly fix our woes.
To understand the crux of Howell and Moe’s argument, one must first understand the definition applied to effective and ineffective governments. For the authors, effective government is one that has the “capacity to take coherent action in response to pressing social problems that need to be addressed and resolved… To act, governments must pass laws” (16). An ineffective government, therefore, acts in an opposite way; it cannot take appropriate action to resolve issues and does not result in the passage of new laws. Cleverly, Howell and Moe mention this definition of efficacy and inefficiency before discussing the problems with our Constitution, and one ought to keep it in mind while discussing such problems.
At its core, the Constitution lays out a legislative framework that contradicts the working definition of effective government. The document intended to pass laws actual...


... middle of paper ...


...using to cooperate with the opposition. Fast-track authority might be a possible way to circumvent the separation of powers, but it fails to address larger institutional problems such as big money and polarization. When crafting the Constitution, the Framers hoped that the separation of powers would result in discourse and prevent tyranny. So far, that hope has held true. Howell and Moe look into more importantly than anything else the stasis in our Constitution. Possibly, the Constitution’s antiquity and specific wording is not merely the issue, but rather it is the inability for the American political system to adapt and amend a document solely due to its regard as ‘sacred.’ Howell and Moe’s book delves into a significant obstacle in American politics, but when considered holistically provides a small glimpse and debatable solution to the issues plaguing our nation.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »