July 29, 2014

ARE THE DEMS PUSHING AN IMPEACHMENT NARRATIVE NOW, so that when Obama does something really awful they can say it’s just politics, the Republicans were talking impeachment all along?

President Obama has long treated Congress with contempt, and has on many occasions taken executive actions that have bent or broken the limits of the executive’s discretion in our system. Perhaps above all, he has enforced Obamacare selectively — ignoring some clear requirements of law and conjuring up others that do not exist. These have been serious violations of his obligation to see that the laws are faithfully executed, and have caused serious problems for our system of government. They will leave the next president with a lot of damage to undo. But what the administration appears to be contemplating here is of a different scale and character. It is not selective enforcement of a new statute but rather just an action outside the law, in an arena in which the president himself has said unilateral action is beyond his authority and in which there is no case for extreme urgency.

White House officials clearly understand that such a move would invite a firestorm of opposition and criticism, and they appear to see that as an advantage. Maybe they’re right that such a step and its aftermath would work to their political benefit, and maybe they’re not. But surely it would all harm the country — dividing the public and debasing our system of government. It seems like just the sort of thing that a national leader would seek to avoid, rather than work to invite. Let’s hope the reports aren’t true.

They manifestly don’t care about the division and debasement, but rather see it as a feature — division and debasement of the political system make it easier to rule, if you don’t care much about the well-being of the country you’re ruling.

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