James Risen, the First Amendment, Congress, and the Emperor Hussein
Enter the Emperor Hussein.
From the moment he invented the Office of the President-Elect, Obama signaled that his would be a different kind of presidency, one solely dedicated to him and his wishes. (Would we even have noticed if Mitt Romney had become president? He would have been the most invisible resident of the White House since Silent Cal.) America was at last to be "fundamentally transformed," delivered from its "charter of negative liberties" and brought into the sunny uplands of the Progressive vision of My Way or the Highway. For his vice-president, Obama chose the risible plagiarist Joe Biden, perhaps (only "perhaps" because the competition is so fierce) the stupidest man in the Senate, and very likely the only fellow member who had even less intellectual firepower and record of accomplishment than Obama did.
Defending his high-handed decision to unilaterally (and unconstitutionally) suspend the employer mandate piece of his widely unpopular Obamacare monstrosity, the president suggested that his critics simply naff off:
The Times asked Obama if he “consulted” with his lawyer when making the decision to suspend the employer mandate, which would require businesses with more than 50 employees to buy them health insurance, and which was supposed to take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
“[I]f you heard me on stage today, what I said was that I will seize any opportunity I can find to work with Congress to strengthen the middle class, improve their prospects, improve their security,” Obama said.
“But where Congress is unwilling to act, I will take whatever administrative steps that I can in order to do right by the American people,” he said.
“And if Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case,” Obama added. “But there’s not an action that I take that you don't have some folks in Congress who say that I'm usurping my authority. Some of those folks think I usurp my authority by having the gall to win the presidency. And I don't think that's a secret.”
“But, ultimately, I’m not concerned about their opinions--very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers,” the president said.
Take that, peons!
This is not the first time Obama has expressly told the country that when Congress won't act, he will. In effect, he's gradually arrogating and then seizing power in the vacuum left by the clowns, morons and buffoons that, with very few exceptions, inhabit the House and the Senate. Ostensibly a co-equal branch of the American government -- the primus inter pares, in fact, as it's established right there in Article One, the presidency in Article Two, and the lame federal judiciary (which itself has experienced the-blob-that-ate-Cleveland mission creep ever since Marbury v. Madison) in Article Three -- Congress, as it is presently constituted under the two-party system, is incapable of confronting a rogue president head-on. Had it a more vigorous speaker of the House than John Boehner, it could at least make an argument. But not this bunch -- our "representatives" on one side of the aisle see their jobs through an old-fashioned prism, as that of "legislators" sent to Congress to "work with the other side" in order to make "deals" and pass "legislation" that (since the New Deal) must address every problem, real or perceived, facing the country.
On the other side, of course, are the Democrats, who have entirely purged their party of its Scoop Jackson moderates to become the party of ever-bigger government, forever expanding the tentacles of the Leviathan State. Paradoxically, the GOP has become their biggest and most important ally, dutifully still playing by the old rules, until today it can truly be said that we have a Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Government, of which Hussein is the head. As I wrote about the Chris Christie-Rand Paul spat the other day over at the Corner on NRO:
In effect there are now two parties: the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party, embodied by Obama and McCain (and what does that tell you about the 2008 election?) and the Other America party, which still believes in old-fashioned things like the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as reactionary and unenlightened as those things may be.
The support for potential candidates like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz — and the rapid fading of support for people like Christie and Marco Rubio, who badly blotted his copybook with his inexplicable “comprehensive immigration reform” advocacy when that is just about the last thing on the minds of the American people — indicates a hunger for the fight. Conservatives understand that they have two opponents in the 2016 election: Hillary Clinton (or whoever comes out of left field to rob her of the nomination this time) and, far tougher, the McCain/Graham/Rove wing of the Republican party.
"Until that wing is soundly defeated and its accommodationist principles refuted and discredited," I added at the Corner, "conservatives have exactly zero chance of engaging with the Democrats the way the want to: unapologetically and unafraid."