Obama’s power grab

Ex­ec­u­tive or­der ex­pands pres­i­den­tial pre­rog­a­tive

The Washington Times Daily - - Opinion - By Jef­frey T. Kuh­ner By Don­ald Lambro

hat’s next Mor­ris, are you go­ing to go af­ter Adopt-a-puppy or Save The Baby Seals?”

This was a ques­tion put to me by a con­stituent re­cently when my re­fusal to sign a res­o­lu­tion by the In­di­ana House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives cel­e­brat­ing the 100th an­niver­sary of the Girl Scouts of the United States of Amer­ica (GSUSA) be­came a front-page, in­ter­na­tional news sen­sa­tion.

With 50 mil­lion for­mer mem­bers, and good­will that comes from their fa­mous cook­ies, the Girl Scouts would seem like a strange or­ga­ni­za­tion for any­one to take ex­cep­tion with.

The re­al­ity is that I am far from the first so­cial con­ser­va­tive to have expressed dis­ap­proval with the cur­rent lead­er­ship of GSUSA.

Many Chris­tian lead­ers, such as James Dob­son, have al­ready adamantly de­nounced the left-wing agen­das of the Girl Scouts’ lead­er­ship, and re­cently St. Ti­mothy Catholic Church in Chan­tilly, Va., banned the or­ga­ni­za­tion from us­ing its fa­cil­i­ties be­cause of its pro-ho­mo­sex­ual and pro-abor­tion agenda.

Our con­cerns are not just the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Girl Scouts and abor­tion provider Planned Par­ent­hood (some­thing GSUSA CEO Kathy Kloninger pub­licly con­firmed), but also the left-wing in­for­ma­tion the or­ga­ni­za­tion pro­vides to young girls.

Af­ter the email I sent to my col­leagues and sup­port­ers crit­i­ciz­ing the Girl Scouts’ lead­er­ship for its provoca­tive doc­trine went vi­ral, I was not just the ob­ject of de­ri­sion from the likes of Moveon.org and the Huff­in­g­ton Post, but was at­tacked by ev­ery­one from co­me­di­ans Co­nan O’brien, Jimmy Fal­lon, and Stephen Col­bert, to the Washington Post, Los An­ge­les Times, Chicago Tri­bune, and many in­ter­na­tional out­lets.

I be­lieve much of the rea­son the me­dia at­tempted to use my com­ments as a line in the sand against crit­i­cism of the Girl Scouts or­ga­ni­za­tion is that aware­ness of its lib­eral ac­tivism is start­ing to be­come a real prob­lem for the or­ga­ni­za­tion it­self.

Mem­ber­ship in the Girl Scouts in the U.S. has plunged by more than 400,000 girls since 2005. Mean­while, fam­ily-friendly al­ter­na­tives have been gain­ing strength. The Amer­i­can Her­itage Girls mem­ber­ship has more than tripled just since 2006. As word gets out about the leftist agenda of the GSUSA, look for more con­ser­va­tive par­ents to do what my wife and I have done and pull their girls out of the Girl Scouts and put them into a tra­di­tional val­ues al­ter­na­tive.

My need to speak out on GSUSA’S lead­er­ship arises largely from the fact that 99.9 per­cent of lo­cal mem­bers and group lead­ers are won­der­ful peo­ple and it is vi­tal that they be­come in­formed about the di­rec­tion the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s lead­er­ship has taken.

As to the ques­tion of whether GSUSA lead­er­ship has a far-left agenda, a sim­ple re­view of hun­dreds of web­sites, me­dia sto­ries, and the Girl Scouts’ own web­site will con­firm this (the GSUSA’S own guide­lines had in­structed its im­pres­sion­able mem­bers to check ul­tra-lib­eral, Ge­orge Soros­funded Me­dia Mat­ters to ver­ify con­tro­ver­sial in­for­ma­tion).

What I found most in­ter­est­ing in my jour­ney from ob­scu­rity to world­wide news was the way the me­dia op­er­ates in mat­ters re­lated to the cul­ture war.

Uni­ver­si­ties have long ex­cluded Chris­tian groups that don’t al­low ho­mo­sex­ual mem­bers, but now Van­der­bilt Univer­sity has in­formed its Chris­tian groups they must al­low non-chris­tians to serve as lead­ers. To tell re­li­gious groups they must be led by peo­ple who re­gard their re­li­gion as a ridicu­lous myth is to cre­ate a new and ob­nox­ious fault line in the on­go­ing cul­ture wars, yet there has been ba­si­cally no me­dia cov­er­age on this.

Me­dia brouha­has in the cul­ture wars are ex­clu­sively used to vil­ify any­one who com­plains when left-wing cul­ture war­riors con­tinue to re­make the United States into some­thing un­rec­og­niz­able to most Amer­i­cans.

Dur­ing the gale force winds of me­dia at­tacks, I was re­minded of the words of C.S. Lewis, “Chris­tian­ity, if false, is of no im­por­tance, and if true, of in­fi­nite im­por­tance. The only thing it can­not be is mod­er­ately im­por­tant.”

By de­mand­ing that I sign a res­o­lu­tion that en­dorses a group that mocks and ridicules the val­ues of my faith, I was be­ing asked to find Chris­tian­ity of mod­er­ate im­por­tance, and all the me­dia at­tacks in the world can­not make me do that.

At the end of the day, what is clear is that so­cially con­ser­va­tive par­ents will in­creas­ingly join groups like Amer­i­can Her­itage Girls, while so­cially lib­eral par­ents will be more com­fort­able with the Girl Scouts.

As for the cul­ture wars, the left had just dis­pensed with the Su­san G. Komen for the Cure foun­da­tion when they turned their at­ten­tions to me. To­day, they are blud­geon­ing Rush Lim­baugh and to­mor­row they will find a fresh new tar­get. My ad­vice to that tar­get is to never back down.

So far, all of the vic­to­ries in the cul­ture war have gone to the pro­gres­sives. Nearly all of our most revered in­sti­tu­tions, such as uni­ver­si­ties and ma­jor char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions, have been in­fil­trated and trans­formed by agents of the left. It is hard to be­lieve that Har­vard, Yale, Prince­ton, and nearly all of the now re­li­ably lib­eral Ivy League uni­ver­si­ties, were founded as con­ser­va­tive Chris­tian sem­i­nar­ies, just as it is im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine what con­ser­va­tive in­dus­tri­al­ists, like Henry Ford, would think of the pol­i­tics of the board of di­rec­tors of the foun­da­tions that bear their names.

What­ever con­ces­sions we make will be fol­lowed up with an­gry de­mands that we aban­don even more of our core prin­ci­ples. If we ac­cept ho­mo­sex­ual mem­bers to­day they will de­mand that we have anti-chris­tian lead­er­ship of our Chris­tian groups to­mor­row, as is the case at Van­der­bilt Univer­sity. Each new ap­pease­ment is wel­comed by the left with their mov­ing the goal post yet again, and any­one who ob­jects, like my­self, may be sub­jected to the full force and fury of a mono­lithic cul­tural war­fare ma­chine.

Noth­ing short of the destruc­tion of our faith and val­ues would sat­isfy pro­gres­sives. We have been left with no choice but to refuse to cede even one more inch of ground in this bloody cul­ture war. The time for re­solve is now.

POres­i­dent Obama has given him­self the pow­ers to de­clare mar­tial law — es­pe­cially in the event of a war with Iran. It is a sweep­ing power grab that should worry ev­ery Amer­i­can.

On March 16, the White House re­leased an ex­ec­u­tive or­der, “Na­tional De­fense Re­sources Pre­pared­ness.” The doc­u­ment is stun­ning in its au­dac­ity and a fla­grant vi­o­la­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion. It states that, in case of a war or na­tional emer­gency, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has the au­thor­ity to take over al­most ev­ery as­pect of Amer­i­can so­ci­ety. Food, live­stock, farm­ing equip­ment, man­u­fac­tur­ing, in­dus­try, en­ergy, trans­porta­tion, hos­pi­tals, health care fa­cil­i­ties, water re­sources, de­fense and con­struc­tion — all of it could fall un­der the full con­trol of Mr. Obama. The or­der em­pow­ers the pres­i­dent to dis­pense these vast re­sources as he sees fit dur­ing a na­tional cri­sis.

“The United States must have an in­dus­trial and tech­no­log­i­cal base ca­pa­ble of meet­ing na­tional de­fense re­quire­ments and ca­pa­ble of con­tribut­ing to the tech­no­log­i­cal su­pe­ri­or­ity of its na­tional de­fense equip­ment in peace­time and in times of na­tional emer­gency,” the or­der says. “The do­mes­tic in­dus­trial and tech­no­log­i­cal base is the foun­da­tion for na­tional de­fense pre­pared­ness. The au­thor­i­ties pro­vided in the act shall be used to strengthen this base and to en­sure it is ca­pa­ble of re­spond­ing to the na­tional de­fense needs of the United States.”

In short, the or­der gives Mr. Obama the abil­ity to im­pose mar­tial law. He now pos­sesses the po­ten­tial pow­ers of a dic­ta­tor. The or­der is a di­rect as­sault on in­di­vid­ual lib­er­ties, pri­vate prop­erty rights and the rule of law. It is bla­tantly un­con­sti­tu­tional. The ex­ec­u­tive branch is ar­ro­gat­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties pre­cluded by the Con­sti­tu­tion with­out even ask­ing the per­mis­sion of Congress. The or­der gives Mr. Obama a blank check to erect a cen­tral­ized au­thor­i­tar­ian state. This is a law one would ex­pect to find in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela or Vladimir Putin’s Rus­sia.

The back­drop to the ex­ec­u­tive or­der is the loom­ing show­down with Iran. The ad­min­is­tra­tion says the “win­dow for di­plo­macy is clos­ing.” De­fense Sec­re­tary Leon E. Panetta warned Tehran’s mul­lahs that “all op­tions are on the ta­ble” — in­clud­ing mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion. Mr. Obama stresses that his pa­tience is ne gets the sense that vot­ers are grow­ing in­creas­ingly im­pa­tient with the GOP’S seem­ingly in­ter­minable pri­mary bat­tles to choose a nom­i­nee who can beat Pres­i­dent Obama in the fall.

Af­ter an ex­haust­ing pri­mary sea­son of bit­ter de­bates, un­end­ing TV cam­paign at­tack ads, an un­told num­ber of gaffes, em­bar­rass­ing mem­ory melt­downs, and even a wom­an­iz­ing scan­dal that drove an early front-run­ner from the race, the con­test still may have a long way to go.

It seems as if this race has been go­ing on for­ever, and re­porters are pick­ing up com­plaints that the con­test has run far too long and Repub­li­cans want to pick the nom­i­nee sooner rather than later. Pri­mary bat­tles cost a lot of money; they can de­plete the party’s war chest for the gen­eral elec­tion to come; and there’s the dan­ger the party will be so bit­terly di­vided and the nom­i­nee so blood­ied that the op­po­si­tion will be too weak to mount a cred­i­ble cam­paign.

I don’t buy any of that. I think our sys­tem of run­ning the prospec­tive can­di­dates through a long gaunt­let of cau­cuses and pri­maries is ex­actly what is re­quired to en­sure that we weed out the worst and weak­est among them, dig out the skele­tons in their clos­ets, and test their abil­ity to mount a well­fi­nanced na­tional cam­paign that can go the dis­tance.

One of the sin­gu­lar man­i­fes­ta­tions of the GOP’S search for a nom­i­nee in the 2011-12 elec­tion cy­cle has been the sur­pris­ingly large num­ber of early con­tenders who sped to the top of run­ning out. He vows that Iran will not ac­quire the bomb. Mr. Obama wants sev­eral more months for sanc­tions and in­ter­na­tional iso­la­tion to bring the ay­a­tol­lahs to heel. Yet the sig­nals are clear: Mr. Obama may be ready to launch dev­as­tat­ing airstrikes on Ira­nian nu­clear fa­cil­i­ties.

If that should hap­pen, Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ah­madine­jad has promised mas­sive re­tal­i­a­tion. Amer­i­can troops will be tar­geted by Ira­nian prox­ies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Amer­i­can em­bassies will be struck across the Mid­dle East and North Africa. Most omi­nously, Ira­nian-backed Hezbol­lah cells could launch dev­as­tat­ing ter­ror­ist at­tacks in ma­jor U.S. cities, killing nu­mer­ous cit­i­zens. The war may well come home, trig­ger­ing do­mes­tic chaos. These are the very real risks of a ma­jor con­flict with Iran. the polls, only to see their sup­port van­ish in the blink of an eye, forc­ing them from the race.

We had a for­mer pizza-chain ex­ec­u­tive who wanted to im­pose the first na­tional sales tax in Amer­i­can his­tory, on top of all the other sales taxes, and about whom rel­a­tively lit­tle was known. A sor­did wom­an­iz­ing scan­dal forced him to sus­pend his cam­paign.

Then there was the folksy, late-en­try Texas gov­er­nor who cut ahead of ev­ery­one in line sim­ply on the ba­sis of be­ing a chief ex­ec­u­tive of a big state that had cre­ated lots of jobs. It turned out he couldn’t ex­press him­self very well, of­ten went all but silent in the TV de­bates and couldn’t re­mem­ber the name of a huge fed­eral depart­ment he said he would abol­ish. He never re­cov­ered.

Then came a for­mer speaker of the House who had led his party to vic­tory in the mid-1990s af­ter 40 years in the mi­nor­ity. He shot ahead in the polls af­ter fiercely at­tack­ing the moder­a­tor in one of the early de­bates. He fell be­hind, only to make a sec­ond come­back, only to col­lapse when it was ap­par­ent that he clearly was not pres­i­den­tial ma­te­rial. He fin­ished in last place in Illi­nois Tues­day.

The party pri­mary sys­tem we have was de­vel­oped to vet can­di­dates like these and cool the pas­sions of the vot­ers who may get swept away by a slick, Elmer Gantry-sound­ing politico only to dis­cover the can­di­date lacked sub­stance, sta­bil­ity, fo­cus and a broad base of sup­port.

Which begs the ques­tion: Would that tempt Mr. Obama to claim a state of emer­gency and thereby im­ple­ment his ex­ec­u­tive or­der? No one knows the an­swer. And we shouldn’t have to find out. The pres­i­dent does not — and should not — have the au­thor­ity to sub­or­di­nate the en­tire pri­vate econ­omy to the gov­ern­ment, es­pe­cially with­out the con­sent of Congress and the Amer­i­can peo­ple. It is na­tional so­cial­ism mas­querad­ing as mil­i­tary se­cu­rity.

This is why con­ser­va­tives — those who are se­ri­ous about de­fend­ing our con­sti­tu­tional repub­lic — should de­mand that the ex­ec­u­tive or­der be re­pealed im­me­di­ately. Lib­er­als ar­gue that Pres­i­dent Clin­ton is­sued a nearly iden­ti­cal man­date. Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt signed the first na­tional de­fense re­sources pre­pared­ness or­der, which has been amended by suc­ces­sive pres­i­dents, in­clud­ing Ge­orge W. Bush. Hence, ac­cord­ing to the pro­gres­sive left, if it was good enough for FDR, Mr. Clin­ton and Mr. Bush, why not Mr. Obama?

The an­swer is sim­ple: Be­cause the Con­sti­tu­tion mat­ters — or at least it should. For more than 70 years, lib­eral Democrats and cor­po­ratist Repub­li­cans have been slowly dis­man­tling the old repub­lic, im­pos­ing a creep­ing so­cial democ­racy. The Found­ing Fa­thers’ vi­sion of limited gov­ern­ment and fed­er­al­ism has been re­placed by a new rul­ing class. FDR, Mr. Clin­ton, Mr. Bush — all of them were mil­i­tarists ex­pand­ing the size and scope of gov­ern­ment. They were Wil­so­nian glob­al­ists, and they shame­lessly vi­o­lated civil lib­er­ties. FDR was the worst, by forc­ing Ja­panese-amer­i­cans into in­tern­ment camps.

Mr. Obama’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der rep­re­sents the cul­mi­na­tion of the wel­fare-war­fare state. He is walk­ing in the foot­steps of his pre­de­ces­sors, those who en­abled the rise of the im­pe­rial pres­i­dency. And it leads to only one tragic end: the grad­ual de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of our democ­racy.

So here we are, hav­ing en­dured pri­mary con­tests in 34 states, with the field ef­fec­tively win­nowed down to just two can­di­dates, for­mer Mas­sachusetts Gov. Mitt Rom­ney and for­mer Sen. Rick San­to­rum of Penn­syl­va­nia.

Each has weak­nesses and strengths. But at this writ­ing, it ap­pears that Rom­ney is go­ing to be the nom­i­nee — the steady, fo­cused, long-dis­tance run­ner who knows that cross-coun­try races are won by marathon­ers with stamina, not by sprint­ers who fade in the home­stretch.

It hasn’t been an easy sell for the for­mer businessman who helped start count­less com­pa­nies that have be­come house­hold names and em­ploy tens of thou­sands of Amer­i­cans. But in the end, he stayed fo­cused on the No. 1 is­sue that will de­cide whether Barack Obama be­comes a oneterm pres­i­dent: a weak, slowgrowth, job­less econ­omy.

Mr. San­to­rum, how­ever, doesn’t see the econ­omy as the ma­jor, over­rid­ing is­sue of this elec­tion. In the past month, he has said the econ­omy “is not the only is­sue” and that there are “other is­sues be­sides the econ­omy,” seem­ingly dis­miss­ing its im­por­tance in the large scheme of things.

Re­porters who reg­u­larly cover his cam­paign say he rarely talks about the econ­omy and jobs, stick­ing to the re­li­gious and so­cial is­sues that he feels most com­fort­able talk­ing about to his so­cially con­ser­va­tive and evan­gel­i­cal base.

As if to re­in­force how he seeks to sep­a­rate him­self from Mr. Rom­ney’s laser-beam fo­cus on the Obama econ­omy, the for­mer se­na­tor told vot­ers this week, “I don’t care what the un­em­ploy­ment rate is go­ing to be. It doesn’t mat­ter to me.”

Af­ter Rom­ney jumped on the re­mark, say­ing his ri­val seemed to be dis­miss­ing the is­sue that most vot­ers say is their chief con­cern, Mr. San­to­rum re­sponded with this weak ex­pla­na­tion: “I’m say­ing my can­di­dacy doesn’t hinge on whether the un­em­ploy­ment rate goes up and down.”

Mr. San­to­rum’s cam­paign was so wor­ried this week about how his per­sonal op­po­si­tion to con­tra­cep­tives was play­ing among fe­male vot­ers that his wife, Karen, went on CNN to say, “Women have noth­ing to fear when it comes to con­tra­cep­tives. He will do noth­ing on that is­sue.”

Mean­time, Mr. San­to­rum’s cam­paign also suf­fers from his com­plete in­abil­ity to put to­gether and run a ma­jor na­tional cam­paign or­ga­ni­za­tion. This was em­bar­rass­ingly ev­i­dent in his fail­ure to meet the del­e­gate fil­ing re­quire­ments in many states. Not only did he lose badly in Illi­nois, but he was in­el­i­gi­ble for 10 of its del­e­gates be­cause his cam­paign had not filed the cor­rect pa­per­work.

Putting to­gether a well­fi­nanced na­tional cam­paign is a key pro­fes­sional pre­req­ui­site in the long pri­mary sea­son, and Mr. Rom­ney has done that from the ground up. Mr. San­to­rum has been hob­bled by a rel­a­tively small staff and no state-by-state na­tional cam­paign ap­pa­ra­tus to speak of.

As things stand now, Mr. Rom­ney has won half of the GOP del­e­gates he needs to clinch the nom­i­na­tion, and ahead of him is a long line of state pri­maries where he is fa­vored to do well and that will put him at or over the top.

The Gallup Poll re­ports that Mr. Rom­ney leads Mr. San­to­rum by 11 points in the head-to-head sur­veys and the pres­i­dent by 50 per­cent to 46 per­cent. The nom­i­na­tion bat­tle is all but over.


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