Thursday 11 May 2023

executive branch (10. 734)

On this day in 1973, US president Richard abandoned his plans to reorganise government with the creation of a “super cabinet” consisting of three appointed secretaries who would over the the running of federal departments and agencies, having met staunch resistance from Congress and the broadening of presidential purview through delegated powers and the creation of an imperial post by dint of past failed attempts. Fresh from roundly defeating George McGovern to secure re-election, Nixon announced on 5 January, the inauguration, an “administrative” cabinet shuttle proposed during his first term (not without precedent as Harding, Taft, FDR and Truman had tried subject to legislative veto) to create a council to overstep consciousness bureaucracy. Although corrected by the press to the American spelling convention, Nixon’s orders and communiques named counsellors, senior advisors, equivalent to a minister without portfolio in the British system, a sinecure posting that had plentipotent, encompassing responsibilities and therefore none as a special conduit to the chief executive and so a triumvirate beholden to none. The Watergate scandal having brought this reshuffling to an ignominious end when exalted staff tendered their resignations but had this experiment continued one wonders what now might be considered executive overreach and regard for competent authorities.