The PJ Tatler

Lindsey Graham Still Doesn't Get It

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) described President Barack Obama as “AWOL.”

Graham said “I said last week, America is the glue that holds the free world together. When you see us missing our AWOL, as President Obama’s been, you see fracturing on multiple fronts. Russia is more aggressive, not less. The sanctions clearly are not working. Hamas is demanding open borders. Show me a statement by Hamas leadership that recognizes the right for Israel to resist, then I would consider their request. These are stark contrast and we’re not responding. Passive responses to naked aggression all over the world is our foreign policy. Look what ISIS has been able to do in Syria and Iraq. Without American leadership, the world gets to be a very dangerous place and our allies, like Israel and Ukraine, suffer.”

How can Sen. Graham have spent the past six years dealing with Barack Obama and not know who the man really is? Graham still doesn’t understand the kind of man he is dealing with, and why the president does what he does.

Crises — serious, consequential crises — are building from the Texas-Mexico border, to Libya, to the Ebola outbreak in Africa, to Israel, to Iraq, to Ukraine and Russia. With these crises building, an American president ought to be reaching out to Congress and reaching across the aisle to build national unity. Instead, this president is stirring up anger, picking fights over contraception, and doing nothing useful to the nation.

President Obama’s response to the crises themselves is mostly to appear to ignore them, while he golfs, fundraises for the Democratic Party, and launches mischief domestically. And by mischief, I actually mean constitutional crises over the separation of powers.

President Obama is not only not truly interested in stemming the tide of illegal aliens at the border, to pick just one of the crises for detailing, he is about to go out of his way to make it worse. The LA Times reports that he is about to use executive authority to lawlessly grant legal status to about 5 million illegal aliens who are already here.

The president has every intention, according to his own advisers, of creating yet another crisis with this move. The president has shirked his role as commander in chief to become the provocateur in chief.

That move will come by the end of the summer, White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer told reporters Friday. Some officials had advocated waiting until after the November midterm election.

Any such move would prompt a major clash with congressional Republicans, and at least some White House officials appeared to relish the prospect that the GOP might overreach in its response and act in a politically self-destructive manner.

When the decision is announced, it will “increase the angry reactions from Republicans,” Pfeiffer said.

“I would not discount the possibility” that Republicans would seek to impeach Obama over his next immigration moves, he said, adding that House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) had “opened the door to impeachment” by his plans to sue Obama for allegedly exceeding his executive authority.

Not only does Obama not fear impeachment, he is actively courting it. The Democrats are fundraising off of impeachment. Obama has his advisers out stoking impeachment, an idea that the majority of Republicans in office have no interest in pursuing. Sen. Graham, for one, was a central figure in the impeachment of Bill Clinton and has no interest in launching another one against Obama, whether the president deserves it or not.

None of this is out of character or outside Barack Obama’s playbook. Obama began his presidency by appointing policy czar after policy czar in order to bypass Congress and create a cabinet within the cabinet that would answer to him alone and would be in power without having to submit to the Senate’s approval. That was when the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate with supermajorities. Now, with Republicans poised to control both the House and the Senate, Obama is gearing up to spend the final two years of his presidency doing everything he can possibly do to demonize Republicans, gather as much power to himself as he possibly can, and render Congress entirely irrelevant.

None of this is accidental. Barack Obama is not AWOL. He has not checked out of the responsibilities of his office. He intends to play down every overseas crisis as much as he possibly can, knowing full well that his low-information voter base doesn’t care about those crises and the rest of America does not vote on foreign policy, while he stokes domestic crises to maneuver Republicans and Congress into a kind of checkmate.

Barack Obama wants Republicans overreacting usefully to his provocations. He wants division and he wants to and will intentionally stoke rage. He wants Americans divided and hating each other, and he wants American power overseas diminished. He doesn’t view any of this as failure in any way. Because these crises are not failures, from his point of view. They are crises he does intend to allow to go to waste.

Even if the Democrats lose the Senate 99 days from now, as seems likely, Obama will still have two years to cause problems. He will use every second of that time as mischievously as he possibly can.