Expecting Different Results

Barack Obama claims that he was prevented from solving the economic crisis be the fact that he was opposed in Congress.

Congress was, of course, run by Democrats in the Senate, and Democrats in the House, for Obama’s first two years.  And yes, they did not vote to pass a budget — at one point, Obama’s offered budget proposal got exactly zero votes from Democrats.

Obama’s party used this single-party dominance to force through health care “reform” at the expense of his other campaign promises, asserting that this was the most critical: The touted premises had unfortunate results:

  • The situation, Obama said, was so urgent that it must be pushed through immediately. And yet it was so costly that most of its implementation was delayed for four years. What happened to the urgency, the thousands dying from the lack of these changes?
  • It was pushed hard based on tens of millions of people not covered by heath insurance, including illegal immigrants. But when fully implemented, it will leave tens of millions of people not covered, including illegal immigrants.

He now claims that he was blocked by Republicans — and that you should put him back on the job (presumably, this means off the golf course but we know better) because now he can get the job done. The House will still be Republican, at least.  It is foolish to think that Obama will get dramatically different results in Congress when even Democrats distrust him and distance themselves from his initiatives.

But there is one way that Obama has gotten “results” — and whether you like the results or not, the process should disturb you.

Threats to the Constitution

In 1798, Adams worked with his Congress to enact the Alien and Sedition Acts, putting his political opponents in jail. This essentially terminated freedom of speech, and the Bill of Rights had been in place less than a decade at this point. But he worked through Congress.

In 1861, Lincoln took office with Southern states seceding over slavery and the first shots of the war already fired.  This was not a “states’ rights” issue, in my opinion, as the various secession documents wanted to diminish states’ rights that were anti-slavery, and only support states’ rights for pro-slavery states. States’ rights depended upon their opinion; slavery was the only constant as the secession documents make clear.

In 1913, the media protected their academic candidate and got him elected — despite a history of statements attacking the Constitution. This is rather like our current situation, it seems to me.  And Wilson’s Congress put through a new round of sedition documents that made it a crime to say something “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the United States government, its flag, or its armed forces, much as Adams had done.  Most of these expired with his administration.

In the 1930s, FDR’s “Fireside Chats” were primarily to turn public opinion against the US Supreme Court, which was threatening to rule his Congress’s new laws unconstitutional.  They were that, but Roosevelt’s threat mostly succeeded. His first attempt failed: He was going to add Supreme Court justices until he had a minority. But he did manage to replace eight of the nine justices, and most of his laws were upheld.

They resulted in extending the Depression, and massively increasing the size and role of government.  It had been about 5% of national income before; it launched on a path to reach today’s nearly 25%.

Today’s key difference

But all of these people generally worked through Congress for this, though the steady stream of executive orders kept increasing.  (Perhaps the most notable is when FDR followed Canada’s lead and began interning Japanese, Germans and Italians during World War II.  Most people don’t know that Canada had already set up Japanese internment camps by this time.)

Obama is different — a break with the past in many respects. Legislation has failed to pass on a number of occasions, from Cap and Trade to the Dream Act to new EPA laws on carbon dioxide and energy to federal laws protecting our borders to welfare laws. In many cases, even Democrats would not support these changes in sufficient numbers.

Obama simply ignores the checks and balances of our Constitutional republic, and implements what he wants to do by fiat. He does not have the authority to do this; he is charged with upholding the law and is barred from circumventing it.

Remember years ago when people were outraged that Bush included signing statements on bills he signed into law? The complaints called this “unconstitutional” (despite being used by every president back to Washington) — and worried publicly that these writings might “influence” how the new laws would be interpreted.

Obama cares little about this — instead, he simply creates law from scratch, and ignores anything he does not like.  And this is during a time when he sought re-election. A new Obama term, when he is more “flexible,” is not likely to improve this unprecedented behavior.

If you haven’t voted yet, please do so. I am voting to preserve our Constitutional Republic.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle