I believe I have noticed a problem with President Obama’s declaring that he can blow up Americans with drone strikes without due process.
Stick with me here; this is a bit of an esoteric argument. Now, like most people, I celebrate every time Obama obtains more power. Now he can do whatever he feels needs to be done for the country and not be burdened with getting the approval of his lessers first. So the more powerful the presidency, the better for us all. But I had a terrible thought: What if one day we get a bad president?
For instance, take this power to kill Americans with drones. No one worries that Obama will abuse such a power — I mean, we’re talking about a man who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just for existing. It’s not like he’s ever going to use that power to blow us up (though, according to his lawyers, he legally could… and if he did, we’d just have to assume he had really, really good reasons). But just imagine if that power wound up in the hands of a president like George W. Bush. He’d probably blow up people with the drone all day, thinking he was playing a video game (“I’m gettin’ me a high score!”). Or worse yet, think of handing Dick Cheney that power. He’d most likely declare a unilateral war on kittens and puppies, blowing them up from the sky and then collecting the tears of children for some evil Halliburton project.
And the power to incinerate people isn’t the only power I fear could fall into the wrong hands. Like, what about the new authority the government has under President Obama to force people to buy things? That’s great for Obama to have, because he can force people to buy things they really do need to buy, like health care (and maybe in the future other things we all should really have, like hybrids or his memoirs). But think of what could happen if a president not as enlightened as Obama wielded such a power, backed by a Congress full of Republican troglodytes? They could make us all buy AR-15s or Big Gulps or Bibles or other dangerous, awful things.
Furthermore, there is Obama’s position on compromise. Now, we all agree that it’s absolutely ridiculous that Obama has to yield at all to those mindless Republican thugs who somehow hold a majority in Congress. Obama is a brilliant man, so why should he compromise to the ideals of those so far beneath him? That’s why he doesn’t ever yield and agree to spending cuts and just asks for more taxes on the rich. And if somehow taxing the rich more and more doesn’t make the math add up, then we’ll ignore the stupid math. I mean, that’s why we haven’t had a federal budget for years: Why in the world should what Obama can do be limited by some arbitrary squiggles called “numbers”? So Obama will absolutely not compromise with crazed right-wingers or math.
But think of what would happen if a bad president took such an attitude? He’d spend all his time making speeches, listing out promises that would never be fulfilled, while Congress would be locked in constant gridlock. What a pointless, worthless presidency that would be.
Also, the latitude we give Obama might become a problem if bad presidents come to expect it. Normally, if the unemployment rate hovered around 8% for a president’s entire term (and was only that low because millions of people had given up even looking for work) while at the same time we were burdened with high gas prices and economic growth ground to a halt, we would say that president was a complete and utter failure. Basically the worst president imaginable. We’d not only want that worthless wretch kicked out of office before he could do any more damage to our economy, we’d want him forced to wander the streets while citizens pelted him with rotten fruit and shouted obscenities at him.