Unexamined Premises

With Two Years Left, the Inflection Point of the Obama Presidency

The Revenge President

The Revenge President

The men behind Obama took a calculated gamble in 2008 that the nation was ready for the first post-American president, a man with no meaningful cultural roots in the nation he would profess to lead.  They relied on the intrinsic good-heartedness of the electorate to show their lack of prejudice in voting for a man with an exotic Arabic/Muslim name only seven years after the atrocity of Sept. 11. They counted on the innate good will of the American people, judged that the time was right for a black president, and then went out and found the only half-black candidate who had absolutely nothing to do with the black American experience and ran him as an avatar of black America.

And they won, twice, both times against half-hearted Republican candidates with no skin in the game, married to interchangeable blonde wives — one a half-crazy former prisoner of war/political accommodationist and the other a Mormon whose religious faith was guaranteed to lose him some much-needed votes. If they had tried to throw both elections, they could not have done a better job, both of them refusing to go after Obama head-on, and neither of them apparently realizing the danger he posed to the republic. Neither could fathom a new kind of Democrat candidate, one who observed the surface appearances of  a traditional candidacy, but who was brimming with new, extra-Constitutional ideas about how to effect his political program. 

Shortly before his first election, the president promised a “fundamental transformation” of the United States of America, and it is instructive to note the tone in which he made that pledge. Listen, please; it only takes a few seconds:

Note the finger-pointing. Check out the saturnine look on his face. America was warned, early on, that beneath the smiling facade of Barack Hussein Obama was a very angry man. The smile and the shoeshine got him elected but since that day he has waged unremitting war on the country as founded, pillorying the nation, putting it in the dock, and making us all atone for its sins. Obama’s is a presidency-as-payback, and the “transformation” is meant to ensure that it is permanently hobbled. The animus positively radiates from him.

“Why?” is a question best left to shrinks and historians. But for those of us dealing with the consequences, what matters most is, “What next?” Freed of the need to fool the public one more time, and having buried what’s left of the Democratic Party in the rubble of two off-year elections, Obama is hell-bent on, according to PoliticoOperation Revenge

We’ll take a look at it after the jump:

It doesn't take Sherlock to figure this out

It doesn’t take Sherlock to figure this out

Obama’s turnaround in recent weeks – he’s seized the offensive with a series of controversial executive actions and challenges to leaders in his own party on the budget — can be attributed to a fundamental change in his political mindset, according to current and former aides. He’s gone from thinking of himself as a sitting (lame) duck, they tell me, to a president diving headlong into what amounts to a final campaign – this one to preserve his legacy, add policy points to the scoreboard, and – last but definitely not least – to inflict the same kind of punishment on his newly empowered Republican enemies, who delighted in tormenting him when he was on top.

The pivot isn’t necessarily about embracing the Real Barack Obama (that’s always been a pretty elusive persona) or even about aspiring to the Clintonian ideal of a second-term president leveraging executive power into political muscle. It’s not a matter of superficially emulating a campaign, as he’s done fecklessly in the past, by hitting the road for another round of low-impact speeches or Steve Kroft sit-downs. It’s a campaign between Obama’s ears — a competitor rediscovering his love of competition, the refocusing of a sedentary, atrophied presidency through the lens of a dynamic campaign – and winning.

To call this delusional is an understatement. This is not about Obama suddenly grabbing ahold of himself and remembering to dance with what brung him: this has been the end game of the entire Obama presidency from the start. The re-election of 2012 was crucial, for without it the entire scheme would have collapsed. They — campaign guru David Axelrod and the others who foisted Obama on the body politic — had to get him to this point in order for the plan of rule-by-fiat to be fully operational. As I wrote in the New York Post back in 2011:

Having lost the House of Representatives in the last election, the Obama administration is now imposing “fundamental change” via executive order, regulatory fiat and political pressure. Talk about the unitary executive…

It all boils down to this: Are we to be a constitutional government with three distinct branches, or a single executive entity that makes policy, carries it out and decides for itself whether it’s constitutional or not? That’s what the next presidential race is really all about.

And indeed it was, except that nobody told Willard “Mitt” Romney, a decent man who was perhaps the wrongest possible GOP candidate at the wrongest possible time, ever. (If you don’t understand why, ask Jonathan Gruber.)

Now we are past both the presidential election and the ’14 midterms, and have arrived at the inflection point. Change will come thick and fast now, in a flurry of “presidential memoranda” and occasional executive orders, and no one in Congress or the courts to stop him. Obama has a taste for it now and he realizes that there is not a single person or entity inside or outside of government to frustrate him. At this point, the only way he could be neutralized would be for everyone to simply ignore his extra-Constitutional orders, as if he were the Emperor Norton.

But with the Congress in the hands of the opposition party (really, the GOP wing of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party), Obama will simply ignore them when he’s not using them as a collective whipping boy. Beholden to his hard-left supporters, the president is likely to increase the racial divide, use the (Congressionally ordained) agencies like the EPA and the IRS to further his punishing rule by bureaucracy, and continue to employ the Justice Department as an instrument of his policy preferences. Already we are reading (in Politico, the court stenographers of the Obama administration) that Republicans are “warming” to Loretta Lynch, Obama’s pick to replace Attorney General Eric Holder.

“I want to see what happens in the hearings,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said. “But certainly I’m supportive.” McCain and Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) all said in interviews they have met with Lynch privately and are inclined to vote in favor of her nomination.

Gotta love that “certainly.”

So this is where the curve turns, and it’s down we go, straight down, to realms never before charted in the American experiment. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. And remember this; as I like to say about the Left: they never stop, they never sleep, they never quit.

UPDATE: The Hill chimes in with more cheery news about the newly “liberated” Obama — liberated from any sense of fidelity to the Constitution or any sense of responsibility to anyone other than himself:

President Obama is responding to a drubbing in the midterm elections with action. So far, it’s paying off. Obama’s poll numbers — which had previously slid into the low 40’s — are up, and the president has enjoyed a streak of good headlines. Those factors, coupled with a rising economy, are making the White House optimistic about his final two years in office.

White House allies say the president feels an increased sense of liberation with the elections over. They predict that he will continue to be proactive in the face of the Republican Congress that will take power early next year. After a mostly lackluster 2014, Obama was able to score a series of wins in the last six weeks by going on the offensive with a string of executive actions, a hitherto-secret plan to normalize relations with Cuba and a satisfying compromise on the omnibus.

“He doesn’t feel constrained anymore,” said Steve Elmendorf, the prominent Democratic lobbyist and veteran of Capitol Hill. “I think he felt constrained before the election, a little too constrained, to protect vulnerable senators. Now he has a little more breathing room.”

And he has a Napoleonic streak as well:

“The most remarkable trait of Barack Obama is that he’s always had a confidence about him regardless of political wins or what pundits are saying,” [a] former official said. “Throughout his presidency, even in the lowest moments when everyone was piling on, he’s always had this sense that ultimately he’s going to be vindicated and I think these events certainly helped.”

Interesting times ahead.