President Barack Obama
If the Legislature shall fail to pass legislation that the President deems essential, the President shall have the authority to unilaterally pass such legislation via Executive Order. – US Constitution, Article II, Section 5, as envisioned by Barack Obama.
One would think that, having unanimously been rebuffed by the Supreme Court yet again for executive overreach, President Obama would be somewhat chastened. Of course the person who thinks that obviously doesn’t know Barack Obama.
President Barack Obama appeared equally annoyed and frustrated with House Republicans on Tuesday, dismissing their recent threat of a lawsuit and promising to continue with the executive actions that have so bothered the GOP.
“Middle-class families can’t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff,” Mr. Obama during a speech along the Georgetown waterfront. “So sue me. As long as they’re doing nothing, I’m not going to apologize for trying to do something.”
Since there is no imaginary codicil in the Constitution that permits the President to act unilaterally, even if “middle-class families” can’t wait, President Obama is technically quite wrong. Leaving aside the dubious analysis that middle-class families are anxiously awaiting some kind of immigration reform, the President’s self-congratulatory statement about trying to do “something” is constitutionally and politically noxious.
The constitutional problem is obvious. We still liver under a republican form of government, one that is largely built upon the foundation of checks and balances and separation of powers. To concentrate powers into one hand is to set a course for tyranny. As our constitutional scholar of a President has no doubt read:
But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.
Reading a little further down, Madison writes, “In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates.” Yes, the legislature is to be dominant, with the president afforded necessary checks to make sure that the legislature doesn’t get out of control. But that check on the legislatures comes in the form of a veto pen. The president’s power is essentially a negative one, ensuring that the Congress does not abuse its constitutional authority. Notice, however, that Madison does not prescribe an affirmative check to the presidency. He does not advocate - nor would almost any of the Framers – presidential ability to act outside of Congressional authority (save in times of rebellion) on his own initiative. The president’s job is to restrain Congress, not for him to get out hand himself when he doesn’t like legislative inaction.
The policy aspect of Obama’s arrogant message is that at least he is doing something. It doesn’t really matter what he is doing or whether what he’s doing actually works, but the main thing is he’s doing something. And that sums up the progressive movement in a nutshell. “Don’t just stand there, do something” has been the official motto of the progressive movement for the past century. The details are of niggling importance. That the proposal might, at best, be unhelpful and, at worst, deprive citizens of their liberty, is not given much consideration.
Of course Obama is merely treading in the same path as progressive presidents that have preceded him. Woodrow Wilson (aka the reason we shouldn’t allow Ph. Ds in the White House, says this Ph. D) wanted to radically re-orient the American polity towards a Prime Minister model. FDR threatened to expand the size of the Supreme Court until he got what he wanted. President Obama is simply acting out the aspirations of Wilson, FDR and their many progressive boosters. Congress? Bah, unhelpful. The Supreme Court? Bah, we’ll just ignore those old codgers.
Unfortunately the president’s arrogance is justified. After all, what is Congress going to do? Speaker Boehner’s going nowhere lawsuit is a futile and pathetic attempt to reign in Obama. Republicans may very well sweep the midterm elections, but we all know that this president is not going to be impeached, and assuredly will not be removed from office. No, President Obama will certainly still be in office until noon on January 20, 2017. So he can taunt Congress all he wants knowing full well that they can’t and won’t do anything to him, and that a large chunk of the public doesn’t even care that this is happening.
Please don’t take this as yet another criticism of those feckless Republicans. Admittedly their options are narrow, and they are narrow because of the reckless fecklessness of Congressional Democrats. There was a time in this country when it was thought that we had in essence four parties: Congressional Democrats and Republicans, and then the Presidential Democrat and Republican parties. All members of Congress jealously guarded their own powers and protected the institution, even when presidents of the same party were sitting in the Oval Office. Those days are gone. There is really nothing short of premeditated homicide caught on film that would spur Congressional Democrats to join in any impeachment proceedings, and even then it might only be a 50/50 vote in that caucus. This is a bipartisan problem to some extent, though the progressive left is even more invested in the idea of a single, centralized authority benevolently guiding us towards utopia.
That is why I think Jonah Goldberg’s criticism of Charles Murray’s piece, in which Murray tries to distinguish between the liberal left and the progressive left, hits the mark. Murray is somewhat right that there is a distinction to be made between “liberals” on the left who, while they agree with the favored policy choices of the progressive left, nonetheless deplore the tactics employed, especially as regards to the stifling of dissent. Yet these liberals don’t kick up too much of a fuss when those tactics achieve their preferred policy outcomes. I don’t see too many liberals complaining about executive overreach - well, not when the overreach is coming from the hands of Barack Obama.
And so here we are, with a president openly thumbing his nose at the republican form of government, and roughly half of the country is yawning at or cheering on this development.
Mr. Franklin’s sage wisdom echoes through the ages.
A poll by Quinnipiac finds Obama the number one choice for the title of worst president since World War II:
President Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II, 33 percent of American voters say in a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. Another 28 percent pick President George W. Bush.
Ronald Reagan is the best president since WWII, 35 percent of voters say, with 18 percent for Bill Clinton, 15 percent for John F. Kennedy and 8 percent for Obama, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Among Democrats, 34 percent say Clinton is the best president, with 18 percent each for Obama and Kennedy. Continue reading
At a recent event, President Obama was called the anti-Christ by a heckler. This is so unfair! Here are the top ten reasons why Obama is not the anti-Christ.
10. Obama can’t be the anti-Christ because he is a Christian…O.K., make that the top nine reasons why Obama isn’t the anti-Christ.
9. Obama fears that 666 is the number of daily calories that Michele will allow him on his next diet.
8. Satan has not taken possession of Obama, although some sort of lease arrangement is a possibility.
7. Elijah and Enoch haven’t been killed by drones. Yet.
6. The anti-Christ would never vote present.
5. Putin doesn’t fit into his Gog costume. Continue reading
President Barack Obama, National Prayer Breakfast, February 6, 2014
PopeWatch looks forward to the meeting between Pope Francis and President Obama in March. If PopeWatch may be so bold, PopeWatch suggests abortion as a topic of conversation. Yesterday the Pope tweeted:
President Obama observed the forty-first anniversary of Roe somewhat differently:
Today, as we reflect on the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, we recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health. We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom. And we resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children. Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams. Continue reading
I guess leftists were right – we truly lived under a tyranny during the presidency of George Bush. After all, just look at how contemptuously he treated the legislative branch of government. In his first cabinet meeting after the Democrats took control of the House, Bush told his top deputies that his “agenda will move forward whether Congress votes for it or not.” Then he added:
“One of the things I’ll be emphasizing in this meeting,” he said, “is the fact that we are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need.”
“I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” the president asserted, “and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.”
“And I’ve got a phone,” he continued, “that allows me to convene Americans from every walk of life — nonprofits, businesses, the private sector, universities — to try to bring more and more Americans together around what I think is a unifying theme, making sure that this is a country where if you work hard, you can make it.”
It was a common lament during the Bush presidency that we were living under something resembling an imperial presidency. We were told that Bush’s advocacy of a unitary executive, as well as his penchant for issuing signing statements that added his gloss to duly enacted legislation, as well as his mere existence on planet Earth all signaled the end of democracy as we know it. Never mind that the executive branch was specifically designed to be unitary in nature, the Framers having decided against all alternative arrangements. And never mind that the signing statements were nothing more than inocuous expressions of how the executive bureaucracy would carry out legislation passed by Congress. No, we were truly living in Stalin’s Russia.
Thankfully Americans came to their senses and elected the wise and beneficent Barack Obama. Truly he was the change we were looking for. He promised us all a return to a more open administration that didn’t keep secrets, would restore competency to the White House, would be completely honest, and most importantly, wouldn’t disregard the other branches of government.
Alas, if wishes were trees, the trees would be falling.
You see, the above of course was not spoken by George W. Bush, but rather by President Obama on Tuesday.
Checks? Balances? Looks like the constitutional scholar residing in the White House is unfamiliar with such terms.
Why am I not surprised?
President Obama said in an interview on Wednesday that he had been “hugely impressed” with Pope Francis, “not because of any particular issue” but because he seemed to be “thinking about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away.”
“He seems somebody who lives out the teachings of Christ. Incredible humility, incredible sense of empathy to the least of these, to the poor,” the president said in an interview on CNBC. “He’s also somebody who’s, I think, first and foremost, thinking about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away. How to find what’s good in them as opposed to condemn them.”
Pope Francis has given two interviews that were published in the last two weeks in which he has indicated that he wants to see a truce in the culture wars and that the church should put love and mercy above doctrine and judgment. On the issues of abortion, gay marriage and contraception, Pope Francis said, “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time,” adding, “We have to find a new balance.”
These words may offer a ray of hope to Mr. Obama, who has been locked in a standoff with Roman Catholic bishops in the United States. The bishops are suing the Obama administration over a mandate in the president’s health care law that requires Catholic colleges and hospitals to allow their employees access to free birth control, including morning-after pills that the bishops say are abortifacients. Declaring that President Obama is a threat to the church’s religious freedom, the bishops have mounted a major campaign to rally Catholics across the country to oppose the contraception mandate. Continue reading
The speech in the video is a section of Reagan’s Time For Choosing speech in 1964 that led to the beginning of his political career which culminated 16 years later in him being elected president. Reagan said of the Marines:
Some people work an entire lifetime and wonder if they ever made a difference to the world. But the Marines don’t have that problem.
This is what we are saddled with today:
Often times the worst thing that can happen to any President is winning a second term, since most presidential second terms in American history have tended to be dismal. Ann Althouse enumerates the ways in which Obama’s second term is off to a miserable start:
1. It’s been so bad that the media dropped their erstwhile foible of talking about everything that happens in terms of what it means for Obama. And here it is, the first lap of his new term, when there’s more reason than usual to talk about how things are working out for the President.
2. Obama made gun control his big issue leading into the new term. He tried so hard to deploy his speaking skills to channel the nation’s emotion after the Sandy Hook massacre, and in the end he couldn’t even wrangle all of the Democrats in the Senate, and he was reduced yesterday to surrounding himself with human vessels of tragedy and “a scowling Vice President Biden” and pronounce it “all in all… a pretty shameful day for Washington.” The media offered weak support by describing him as passionately angry, but I watched the video and found it surprising dull. I couldn’t motivate myself to go over to my computer to blog about it last night. Obama knew he was going to lose. The theater of sympathy and outrage had gone on far too long, the show was a flop, and the leading man was obliged to take his curtain call.
3. North Korea apparently has a nuclear weapon and the nerve to use it (or to pose as if it does), and the new Secretary of State, the exceedingly dreary John Kerry, is sojourning in the general area nattering about global warming — “the Foreign Minister and I agreed to raise the initiative above the level that it is today” — and meanwhile, back in the United States, it’s really cold.
4. Obama’s efforts to get some lightweight good press over basketball failed. His bracket was busted, and a cutesy photo-op produced an embarrassing video in which he went 2 for 22. That he could play basketball was an element of his legend, and now it’s that video that comes to mind when we think of Obama and basketball. Does he even have another sport? Golf? Golf, unlike basketball, never worked as an element of the Obama legend.
5. He shut off White House tours, presumably on the theory that it would spark outrage at the sequester (and those terrible Republicans), but that gesture clashed with his own fun in the White House. Ordinary kids had their field trips canceled, while Obama’s daughters got Justin Timberlake to come to the White
House and perform right in front of them. It was another of the many parties. Wasn’t Beyonce just there? And then she and Jay-Z went to Cuba, and, when criticized, Jay-Z put out a pissy rap tune that (I
think) insulted Obama. Continue reading
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away
From Leon Panetta’s testimony yesterday on Benghazi:
Under questioning from Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) Panetta says that President Obama knew “generally” what US military assets were deployed in the region, but did not ask for specifics. He left the strategy, according to Panetta, “up to us,” meaning himself and military leadership. Panetta says that after the initial briefing, which took place at about 5 pm Washington time, he had no further communications at all with President Obama that night. The president never even called to ask how the attack was progressing. No one from the White House ever called later that night, according to Panetta, to inquire about the attack. President Obama went to bed that night not even knowing whether the Americans under assault had survived the attack. Continue reading
Forty years ago today the Supreme Court rendered its Roe v. Wade decision. Those who believe in the sanctity of human life and long to see America embrace a culture in which innocent life is honored and protected continue to look for a day when humanity is again deemed valuable, where we cherish even those who would be born in “less than ideal circumstances.” Children are our most precious resource and remain the greatest symbol of hope God has given us. This is just one reason why the annual March for Life has been such a powerful aspect of the pro-life movement. This year’s event is Friday, January 25th, and once again a multitude of Americans will gather in Washington, D.C. to show their support for precious little ones.
Our Founding Fathers declared: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” However, since 1973, millions of children have been denied the basic right upon which all the others hinge: the right to life.
Lately, President Obama has taken to boldly highlighting children in his speeches. Using kids as the backdrop for his gun control speech, the President claimed his commitment to young ones. “If there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try,” he said. He then outlined why gutting our Second Amendment is the means by which he believes we accomplish this. Every law-abiding citizen’s heart is broken when children are the target of men hell-bent on committing acts of evil, and we agree that the safety and protection of innocent life is paramount. Continue reading
The Las Vegas Review Journal, the largest paper in Nevada, in its endorsement of Mitt Romney for President minces no words:
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in a well-planned military assault on their diplomatic mission in Benghazi seven weeks ago, the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. So why are details surfacing, piecemeal, only now?
The Obama administration sat by doing nothing for seven hours that night, ignoring calls to dispatch help from our bases in Italy, less than two hours away. It has spent the past seven weeks stretching the story out, engaging in misdirection and deception involving supposed indigenous outrage over an obscure anti-Muslim video, confident that with the aid of a docile press corps this infamous climax to four years of misguided foreign policy can be swept under the rug, at least until after Tuesday’s election.
Charles Woods, father of former Navy SEAL and Henderson resident Tyrone Woods, 41, says his son died slumped over his machine gun after he and fellow ex-SEAL Glen Doherty – not the two locals who were the only bodyguards Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration would authorize – held off the enemy for seven hours. Continue reading
Some 20 years ago as I was finishing graduate school, I worked for a polling company. It was longer than I wanted to but it gave me some valuable insights on that business before I moved into the line of work that I wanted. I got to know the man who ran the company; he ran polls for national and international companies and occasionally dabbled into political polling. He was meticulous and it became very clear that this job was his life. Now I don’t know his politics but I would guess that he was left of center, at least on social issues. However, he was nearly fanatical about being impartial and getting the true response. Some twenty years later, all of this helps me to understand how political polling works, and believe me it is very difficult. In other words, if political polling isn’t done exactly right it becomes a terrible slanted mess.
Here’s how live polling works. Automated computer dialers call randomly generated phone numbers, which are often are disconnected, faxes and or not in service. In a four hour shift you would be lucky to get 8-10 complete surveys per poll taker in a hotly contested political race. Now mind you that was 20 years before cell phones, my understanding is that now because of cell phones and caller id many polling agencies are using brief computer automated voices to ask questions. Most polling agencies have given up on live survey results on such things as your favorite bar of soup, breakfast cereal, shoe company etc. Believe me there were nights that we would put in a four hour shift and call over 150 people and get one or two complete surveys concerning your favorite shampoo.
When it comes to political polling my old boss (who is a Ph.D and widely respected across the country) would fret about the way we ask each question, our tone and our attitude. He would drill into us that he needed unbiased surveys for his clients. He would remind us, and this is very important in today’s world, that conservative oriented people don’t like polling as much as liberals because liberals believe in proselytizing their views while conservatives feel their views are a reflection of their values, as well as their cultural and religious upbringing. This is why liberals tend to be oversampled in polling. By and large they don’t hang up on pollsters and surveys because they view it as their duty and mission to get the word out. Again, my boss was not a conservative and he could see this 20 years ago. Continue reading
I have to give the Republican National Committee credit this year when it comes to being quick off the dime in producing web videos. The above was put out immediately in the aftermath of the debate contrasting the calm demeanor of Romney from the somewhat frenetic and combative stance of Obama. This clip was typical of the entire debate: