It’s amazing how few people really seem to grasp the magnitude of Obama’s willful abuse of executive power. However unintentionally, this recent article in The Washington Post reveals a lot of the reason why.
President Obama’s expected action lifting the threat of deportation from millions of undocumented immigrants, which could come as early as this week, will expand the authority of the executive branch into murky, uncharted territory.
The path is built on the long-accepted principle, going at least as far back as the 1970s, that any administration should have wide discretion over how it deals with those who are in this country illegally. Obama, however, is poised to take that leeway significantly farther than before.
The move is certain to bring criticism that Obama has gone too far — ignoring the intent of Congress in passing the nation’s immigration statutes and violating the constitutional requirement that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”
But it is unclear whether the courts would be willing to intervene, given their traditional reluctance to get in the middle of disputes between the two other branches of government. [By Karen Tumulty and Katie Zezima, 11/17/14]
Then I got to the most interesting line:
There is no small paradox — or, as his critics say, hypocrisy — in the fact that this potential showdown is being engineered by a president with a background as a constitutional law scholar and former senator who frequently criticized the George W. Bush administration for what he said was an overreach of executive power.
That’s when I realized: It’s not hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is too kind and gentle a word for Obama and those who most fervently defend him.
Hypocrisy implies a denial of the inconsistency in which one is engaging. I believe that Obama knows he’s inconsistent. He was a constitutional law professor, and he doesn’t lack abstract intelligence. He simply doesn’t care. Why? Because he’s right. In his mind, at least.
Keep in mind that Obama rose to power on a rising tidal wave of the entitlement mentality. Entitlement does, in part, refer to freebies from the government (corporate as well as social insurance). But it’s deeper than that. Entitlement, on a more metaphysical and epistemological (i.e. philosophical) level implies, “I’m entitled to have reality the way I want it — and that’s that.” Obama is the philosophical manifestation of a trend that had manifested — less fundamentally — as political and ethical, until now.
According to the mindset of people with Obama’s political, ethical and social point-of-view, America as we know it has (from the outset) always been profoundly unjust. They point to the obvious inconsistency of slavery. Yet they evade the fact that a Civil War was fought and won — and slavery outlawed for good — on the very same premises (individual rights for all) that gave rise to the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution in the first place. Nevertheless, advocates of a more expansive (if not totalitarian) government than the Constitution ever envisioned have exploited guilt and shame over America’s slavery and racist past to pursue aims that have nothing whatsoever to do with those issues, and everything to do with the rise of a socialist-collectivist state in the United States.
For that reason, Obama feels he’s entitled to correct some of that injustice in any way he can. By disregarding existing immigration laws, and implementing new laws not because they have passed (or will pass), but merely because he wants them, is a way for him to put into practice what the most hardcore leftist type political people have been saying since at least the 1960s: Spread the wealth.
By ensuring that poor immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere can enjoy instant citizenship, he’s doing more than (he hopes) ensure future electoral victories for his party. He’s honoring the principle of wealth redistribution on the moral level. He’s saying that there are more important things than the law and the Constitution. One of those things is spreading the wealth. He’s going to give wealth — i.e., always expanding government benefits — to these new citizens because, in his view, they’re morally entitled to it. That, to him, transcends everything, including the U.S. Constitution.
He might not have the Constitution on his side, but he has morality (as he defines it) on his side; and that’s the end of it. Sure, he’d prefer to have Congressional validation for his policies. So would any dictator. But, as with any dictator, if Congress won’t give him what he wants, then he will simply do it himself. There has never been an American President with both an attitude or willingness to put into practice this attitude on such a scale.
Yet as even the sternly pro-Obama, pro-Democrat Washington Post is forced to acknowledge, Obama is stepping into brand new territory. Democratic presidents as recent as Bill Clinton have usually felt compelled to work within the confines of the law to accomplish their same ends of what they call “social justice. Not Obama.
When Bill Clinton tried to pass socialized medicine and the bill failed, he accepted the hard truth. Obama’s socialized medicine law passed, and the Supreme Court even narrowly upheld it. But even before the Supreme Court’s surprise decision came out, the Obama Administration had made it clear in words and actions that they were going to implement the law anyway. The law was upheld, but when Obama saw that there were some aspects of it he didn’t like, or that some of his most loyal supporters didn’t like, he issued selective exemptions or decided to delay the law after particular elections. What kind of law is that? “It’s the law of the land — except for whom and when I say so.”
This created the precedent that when a President manages to have a law passed that he likes, he’s therefore entitled to suspend its execution when it suits him, and then reinstate it when it suits him as well. Given this precedent, the now sweeping measures Obama is proposing both for immigration and effective control of the Internet by the government (as a federally owned public utility) are not the stretch they would have been even five or ten years ago.
With immigration — and undoubtedly other things yet to come in Obama’s term, including “net neutrality” — we can expect to see much more of this. There’s no way to restrain him, other than through impeachment proceedings and ultimately removing him from office. Even if the Senate didn’t remove him from office, perhaps it would buy the Constitution some time and keep Obama from doing even more damage to the country than he already has and possibly will. I recognize there’s virtually no chance that the milquetoasts running the Republican Congress leadership would ever go anywhere near such an option, despite the fact it would be good for the country, not damaging, to try and bring down such a blatantly anti-Constitutional president.
Presidents come and go — at least for now — but precedents matter. The precedent of the Obama administration — on health care and immigration alone — leaves the country with a devastating legacy going forward. If you don’t think a President Hillary Clinton (literally drooling for power as we speak), or a President Rick Santorum or equivalent (hell-bent on making fundamentalist hellfire and damnation the law of the land) won’t take advantage of Obama’s precedents, then you’re as foolish as Obama obviously thinks you are for letting him get away with all this.
It was supposed to be a nation of laws and not of men. These problems have been a long time building, for sure. But we were the generation that let it all go. How does that make you feel, America?
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