On the heels of such paeans to vigilante governance as this and this, and various cris de coeur that democracy is standing in the way of what was indeed sold, in the closing days of the 2008 campaign, as “fundamental transformation” of said democracy, I was struck by a passage while reading a book last night otherwise unrelated in any way to current politics. But it led to a very disturbing conclusion.
The book is Tobruk by Peter Fitzsimons. Explaining the rise of fascism, Fitzsimons wrote, “there was a growing belief that ordinary democracy could not work any more — because no one could achieve a majority of popular support.” This was startling. It sounded so…familiar.
From Thomas Friedman and Barack Obama we hear the same thing: those other people voted into office in an historic sweep, on a campaign promising to obstruct our plans, why, they’re obstructing our plans! We can’t get a majority for anything (…that we want and the majority don’t). Time to tinker with the system, test its limits, legislate through rules and bully citizens and of course judges deciding cases where people are calling us on it all dared sue.
Recall this nugget, rearranging the order of battle set forth by our Founders; the academic offering it cheered the current fashion on more than a year ago just after the legislative tsunami rushed out, revealing the political wreckage of Obama’s mandate and showing that the people “resist action”: “‘When Congress resists action on pressing environmental issues, regulation provides a way forward,’ said Thomas E. Lovejoy, University Professor in Science and Public Policy at George Mason University.”
Try this on for size: when Congress enacts authority, regulation provides a path forward.
Then just now driving I heard discussion on Glenn Beck’s show of what surely smacks of prosecutorial recklessness in Florida. This is relevant for it portends division and strife which, it deeply pains me to say, President Obama and his Attorney General have aggressively fostered for political advantage, including on racial grounds.
Beck discussed a plausible political “win-win” that this prosecutorial overreach presents the president; maybe, but I acknowledge Alan Dershowitz’s argument that this is scripting chaos in ignorance of the plain language of what the law calls for. I won’t leap to conclude that desires for social change or political gain lie beneath this but, why, in Heaven’s name, is the rule of law so carelessly disrespected with such frequency these days? Including in the White House (read on).
I see that which is being scripted, and hear the already common calls to take matters into hands enraged by a grievance industry struggling to deal with progress having left their business model behind. And with the increasing fruits of their rage-mongering being all too familiar.
Unlike far too many it seems, I appreciate the destructive nature of playing with, even seeking to instigate a replay of history, of “vigilante justice.” Per Wiki, “Vigilante justice” is rationalized by the idea that adequate legal mechanisms for criminal punishment are either nonexistent or insufficient. This rings of Obama’s and Friedman’s complaints.
I have come to the terrible realization, that we have a vigilante president in the White House, surrounded and supported by a cast of vigilantes.
Barack Obama openly decries the system once it stops working his way, and insists he will find ways to work around it for that very reason. But he is not a surrogate, he’s not a sympathetic left-wing columnist. He is not “Occupy.” He is President of the United States.
Existing laws can feasibly be used as legitimate means to achieve ends that revisions of the law, or a new law, aimed to obtain. Other times they are simply vehicles that will do, thanks to the extreme deference that courts grant regulatory agencies: challengers have an extraordinary burden of proof in seeking to have rules overturned by the courts. But some of President Obama’s moves have been plainly unlawful, and others too gray on that count to be responsibly pushed by someone sworn to uphold the Constitution.
He is using laws for purposes never intended for them, in order to push through an agenda which the elected representatives rejected (the FCC’s activism and EPA’s “global warming” agenda, for example); he subverts the rule of law to the benefit of cronies, from Solyndra to Chrysler (and gets away with it, while also playing the thug); he ignores the Constitution and precedent (making “recess appointments” when Congress is in session, the very same “pro forma” session in which they rammed through ObamaCare on a partisan vote); and he decides not to enforce laws he is sworn to uphold (New Black Panther case, DOMA).
And, when justices advance legitimate questions about the constitutionality of one of these follies he orchestrates a campaign of public intimidation, calling any effort to exercise their traditional function of determining a law’s consistency with the Constitution would be “judicial activism.”
He routinely seeks to divide. Not merely ideologically, but socially and toward aggravating social tensions. I would bet that he is farther from what he claimed to be than even his most ardent opponents, who felt they saw through him, imagined.
Our system is no longer working for him and his plans to impose on Americans what they have said they do not want. And so he seeks to go around that system. By whatever means necessary. He is not constrained by our system. He is a vigilante.
Barack Obama is a vigilante president. With a hat tip to Jonah Goldberg, he epitomizes the Liberal Fascist.