In 2014, Barack Obama is threatening to go around the legislative branch of government through the use of executive orders, a tool never designed to turn the presidency into a legislative position.
In 2008, as a candidate for the presidency, he had a much dimmer view of such actions – accusing the incumbent president, George W. Bush, of doing what he is doing today.
It stands to reason. It should not be surprising. In fact, Obama’s entire five-year record in the White House has been marked by his obsession with blaming Bush for all the nation’s problems.
Today, Obama is doing something Bush never did – actually pledging to enact unilaterally his legislative agenda if Congress doesn’t.
“I taught constitutional law for ten years,” Obama said in 2008. “I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that were facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.”
But just this week Obama signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for federal workers – clearly a legislative move.
Not only that, Obama boasts this is the first of many actions like it he intends to take to use the “pen and phone” to circumvent Congress.
But the inclination to use executive orders this way is not really new for Obama.
Obamacare was a voluminous law passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress. Obama signed it just the way it was passed. But he has unilaterally made dozens of changes in the law knowing Congress would now never authorize them.
Legal? Probably not. There is no provision in the Constitution to allow a president to rewrite legislation passed by Congress. But Obama has done it time and time again.
Back in the day, Richard Nixon’s administration was labeled “the imperial presidency” by the press and Democrats. Oddly, I have not seen that term used about Obama.
But it is far more fitting for a president who has used the Internal Revenue Service to go after his enemies – something Nixon only dreamed about doing.
It is far more fitting for a president who is not even self-conscious enough to block his Justice Department from indicting a scholar and filmmaker, Dinesh D’Souza, one of Obama’s most visible and high-profile critics during the 2012 presidential election, on trumped-up, penny-ante campaign finance violations – something Nixon never even allowed or suggested.
The moniker “imperial president” is far more fitting for a man who boasts of being a “constitutional scholar” and subverts the Constitution at every turn.
But none places it on him – until now.
Obama is creating an imperial presidency – creating a legacy that could set a dangerous precedent for the future as well as the here and now.
He’s a demagogue as well – one who sees domestic critics as his No. 1 enemies.
Put all that together, along with believing there really are no constitutional limits to the power of the federal government, and you have an explosive combination.
Some people believe tyranny can never come to America.
It is precisely in that kind of climate that tyranny can and will come.
And it with leadership that sees the Constitution as an anachronism of another time and a less sophisticated view of the world that it inevitably will come – if it is not here already.
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