The 'Tom Thumb' Presidency
It seems impossible, but Barack Obama has taken the most powerful office on the planet and reduced it to the size of a patent clerk's sinecure. And while Einstein may have made his most important contributions to science while whiling away the drudgery in a tiny Swiss patent examination office, the president has made an art form of talking big and acting small -- so small that insignificance has become the new normal at the White House.
The president's "executive actions" on curbing gun violence are so vanilla and pedestrian that the reactions from Republicans -- impeachment, arrest for federal agents sent to enforce the regulations, even civil war -- smack of hysteria. One congressman, Representative Dan Benishek of Michigan, said in a Twitter message: “Let me be clear, I will fight any efforts to take our guns. Not on my watch.”
Very heroic but hardly relevant. No one has proposed taking anyone's guns. In fact, even the ban on "assault weapons" (if everyone could ever agree on what they are) doesn't propose any such dramatics. And even Harry Reid is dubious a ban could clear the Democrat-controlled Senate.
So what is all the hubbub about? Our liberties are threatened because of proposals like this?
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
They are already required to do so, but I guess you could stretch the point and make it an impeachable offense to issue a presidential memorandum.
And this is supposed to be the equivalent of firing on Fort Sumter?
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
Couldn't he just pick up the phone and call him? What does he need an executive order for? We know AG Holder is busy looking for racism in voter ID bills but we're pretty sure he might take five minutes or so to scan the "categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun."
Crazies? Check. Mental patients? Check. Felons? Check. Um...how about Republicans? Never mind. Back to finding racists hiding under the bed...
And I don't know about you, but if I were a federal agent and had to enforce this show-stopper of an executive order, I'd be steering clear of Texas:
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
In other words, enforce the damn law. If we haven't maximized our efforts to stop crime by now, there is something seriously amiss with our federal government.
If we're going to impeach the president, let's do it for something big, huge, consequential -- like maybe taking too many days off or playing too much golf. But this gaggle of white-bread executive orders isn't worth tearing the country apart.
Charles Krauthammer agrees:
The problem is he doesn't know what to do and no one knows what to do. The things he signed today, the executive orders, are useless. It's the appearance of motion. I think it's sincere, he wants to do a little at the edges; a little research here, a little encouragement here. But everybody understands it's not going to make any difference. So, he is saying that the three big items are the ban on assault weapons, on the big magazines and the idea of having the background checks. I think they are not going to pass. I think he will expend some capital, but the country simply isn't ready to do anything near that.