Barack Obama has been accused of being "the worst president ever" by more than a few Americans.
Dick Cheney recently said he is the worst president of his lifetime.
A new Quinnipiac University survey found U.S. voters rate him the worst president since World War II.
Interviews with inner-city black residents in Chicago, where Obama made a name for himself as a community organizer, showed some characterizing Obama as the worst president in U.S. history.
But I think these assessments miss the point. In fact, I think they badly understate the threat posed by Obama.
If Obama is measured against his predecessors, by almost any standard he will be judged harshly. However, Obama is different from any of his predecessors.
There have been good presidents and bad presidents. There have been effective presidents and ineffective presidents. But there has never been anyone like Obama in the White House.
That's because he the first Anti-President.
What do I mean by that term?
I mean he is the opposite of a president as we have previously thought about that office in America.
Men have sought the presidency over the last 225 years of American history for a variety of reasons. They had different ideas about how to use the office to improve the country, to expand its opportunities, to defend it from enemies, to preserve or expand freedom, perhaps even to pad their resumes and their legacies.
Yet, as a student of history, I can't think of any previous U.S. president who ran for office and won with the express purpose of diminishing the power and influence of the country and subverting the founding principles that made America exceptional.
That's why Obama is the Anti-President.
If you think about this idea, it explains much about what he is doing and why.
You have to start at the beginning of what the Constitution says about the office of the presidency to understand this concept.
Obama stretched the boundaries of the law of the land simply by running for office. It was a controversy from the start. Is he and was he a "natural born Citizen," as the Constitution requires? Understand that Article II of the Constitution distinguishes this mysterious requirement from mere citizenship. There's much debate about what it means. A recent poll shows the country still divided over whether Obama is constitutionally eligible to hold the office.
Isn't that what you would expect from the first Anti-President?
The president is also required to take the following oath upon entering office: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Anecdotally, do you recall how Obama did not actually say these words publicly? Chief Justice John Roberts administered the oath, but the words were obviously and admittedly botched up. Supposedly, the story goes, the oath was re-administered privately to fulfill the constitutional requirement.
Let's accept that actually happened. One has to wonder which constitution Obama actually had in mind. Was he thinking about the actual words written in the Constitution about the limited scope and powers of the federal government? Or was he thinking about a different constitution – one he has explained is a "living document," that means different things at different times in American history and can be re-interpreted and rewritten in the minds of men and women, disregarding the original, historic intent of the guiding document of American government?
And what are the duties of the president in this Constitution?
- to be commander in chief of the U.S. military;
- to make treaties with the advice and consent of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate;
- to fill make appointments during the recess of the Senate that will expire at the end of the next session of Congress;
- provide State of the Union addresses to the Congress;
- receive ambassadors and other public officials;
- and, most importantly, it would seem, "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."
That's pretty much all the Constitution says about the limited duties of the president.
How has Obama fared on that scorecard?
It's not that Obama failed. It's that he did the opposite of what he was supposed to do as president. And that's what makes him the Anti-President. Obama hasn't failed, like many unpopular presidents of the past. He has, in fact, succeeded. He set out not to be the president as defined in the Constitution, but to be the Anti-President who defied the Constitution, who turned it on its head, who undermined it from the inside.
Like he stretched the eligibility requirements of office, so has he stretched beyond recognition the authority of the presidency – deliberately failing to enforce the laws of the land in matters of immigration and border control, for instance, but enforcing his own unaccountable will on a hapless American people in the same matters and many others.
Obama, therefore, has not only exceeded his own constitutional authority; he has expanded the scope and authority of the federal government itself in dramatic ways.
He sees no meaningful limits on the power of the federal government – the most distinguishing and unique feature of the U.S. Constitution.
Far from believing in limited government, he seems to believe in unlimited government – a concept foreign to American constitutional principles.
That's what happens when a country empowers someone to high office who seems to detest everything for which that nation stands.
Had Obama not sought election to the presidency, his ideas could rightly be characterized as un-American. In fact, they were by many opponents in 2008 and 2012.
There were many presidents in American history who exceeded their constitutional authority.
There were many presidents in American history who hurt the country through their actions.
There were many presidents in American history who caused pain and sorrow for their constituents.
But has there ever before been an American president who intentionally took office to subvert and undermine the Constitution for the express purpose of imposing his own will on the people without a thought or care to constitutional limits?
That would be Barack Obama.
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