Former Attorney General Edwin Meese told CPAC 2013 attendees that the best approach for the country’s future is one that emphasizes returning to the original principles that built the United States, as opposed to the more powerful centralized government favored by President Barack Obama.
“It’s the responsibility of conservatives to go back to those principles and get away from the all-powerful state that the current administration wants,” Meese said.
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He also believes the nation would be better served by an administration that embraced the concept of shared power between Congress and the executive branch, something he believes the Obama administration doesn’t favor.
“The founders’ concept was the basic policies of country would be made by Congress and the president would carry them out,” he said. “I think we need to restore the idea of shared authority of power. The founders were concerned about concentration of power in any one branch.”
Speaking on the use of drones, Meese said as long as the president is not using them on U.S. soil, there probably isn’t a need for judicial review over their use. However, he believes Obama would be wise to more closely consult with Congress.
“The president as commander-in-chief has latitude, but I believe it’s unwise to do something that impacts the safety and national security of the U.S. I think he would want to have Congress in accord with him on how he approaches this matter,” Meese said. “I think having the support of people behind him and sharing that decision with Congress would be important.”
Meese also expressed surprise that Obama would talk tough to Iran and North Korea, but has thus far not backed up that talk with any concrete actions.
“I was surprised he would make a public statement of that nature and not be backing it up with any action or real plan. The concern I have is, why talk about something that would both appear to be not putting pressure on Iran and talk publicly,” he said. “I don’t know that this administration has a consistent and cohesive strategy to deal with threats to the U.S. and our allies, particularly in the Middle East.”
Meese, who not only served in Ronald Reagan’s cabinet but was a close friend of the former president, said Reagan would be gratified to see the growth and influence of CPAC over the years.
“Ronald Reagan spoke here many times and was interested in CPAC and the movement. He would be gratified by both the number of young people and the number of leaders that we have here today.”
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