THE PRESIDENT: … Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. (Applause.) And believe me, right now dealing with Congress –
AUDIENCE: Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can!
THE PRESIDENT: Believe me — believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. (Laughter.) I promise you. Not just on immigration reform. (Laughter.) But that’s not how — that’s not how our system works.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Change it!
THE PRESIDENT: That’s not how our democracy functions. That’s not how our Constitution is written. So let’s be honest. I need a dance partner here — and the floor is empty. (Laughter.)
I’m sure he does wish he could bypass Congress, on immigration “reform” so he could mint millions of new Democratic votes, and on the debt ceiling, so he could just keep on printing and spending more money. He actually does bypass Congress all the time when he thinks he can get away with it. The EPA and NLRB seem to be Obama’s preferred method of pushing policies Congress hasn’t approved, and the FCC runs right behind them.
But here’s the thing. I’m sure every president gets frustrated dealing with Congress. Bush 43 admitted as much once and got ripped by the media/left for quite a while; I doubt either says much about Obama’s remark. They’re with him in a way they were never with Bush.
And here’s the other thing: Congress was put there to keep presidents from becoming too powerful. And the president provides a similar check on Congress. They’re put in place to frustrate each other. The founding fathers saw the ambitious and power-hungry coming a mile away, and set them all up to compete against each other. That’s both the point and the genius of the system.
Different presidents deal with this frustration in different ways. Reagan went over the media’s head and defeated the left by talking directly to the American people. Clinton triangulated. This president’s way of dealing with Constitutional frustrations seems to be among the least effective we’ve seen in a very long time. He throws public fits like he did on Friday, fails to plan, keeps moving the goalposts around, and scuttles the hard work of everyone else around him. And all that adds to the frustration that was built into the system. If he were a leader instead of an agitator, he would be a lot more effective and a lot less frustrated. Personally, given this president’s ideology, frustration is preferable to effectiveness.
Here’s to hoping he remains frustrated until he is unemployed in January 2013.
Update: And now, Obama is going to give yet another speech, tonight. Prediction: He’ll say “I don’t want any more finger pointing” right before he blames the entire crisis on the Republicans. And he’ll dodge responsibility for his own craptacular leadership style. And he’ll threaten one more time to starve Granny if we don’t do exactly what he says.
Other than that, given the fact that so far there’s no deal, what’s the point of giving yet another speech? Does he think anyone really wants to hear him talk over primetime again?
I’ve been resisting using the Obama-as-Joker image as a thumbnail, though it’s been mighty tempting lately because of his behavior. I’m not sure how much longer I can hold out.