Obama: A greater threat than the crack mayor

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Dis­graced. An em­bar­rass­ment. Ut­ter dis­re­gard for the law. Toronto’s crack mayor Rob Ford? No. Pres­i­dent Obama. This is a man who was granted the ex­tra­or­di­nary lux­ury of at­tend­ing one of the most pres­ti­gious uni­ver­si­ties in the world. He went to law school. He told us he was an ex­pert on con­sti­tu­tional law. He taught stu­dents about the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion.

He is now our pres­i­dent and fills a rather large role in ex­e­cut­ing that Con­sti­tu­tion.

And it is as if he has never read the ac­tual Con­sti­tu­tion. Or, as if he read it and found it all so con­fus­ing that he sim­ply could not com­pre­hend one of the most ba­sic tenets of it — that the leg­is­la­ture writes laws, which then go to the pres­i­dent for ei­ther his sig­na­ture or veto.

Pres­i­dents do not get to write laws. They do not get to ig­nore laws they do not like or make up new ones on a whim.

Pres­i­dents do not get to refuse to ne­go­ti­ate with Congress on fi­nan­cial mat­ters be­cause the pres­i­dent doesn’t like what Congress has been ur­gently in­structed to do by vot­ers. He doesn’t get to make end runs around Congress.

The pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tion felt so con­strained by this im­mutable pre­cept of the Con­sti­tu­tion that ad­min­is­tra­tion lawyers took ad­van­tage of con­fus­ing parts of laws passed by Congress and wrote their own un­der­stand­ing of what those gray ar­eas meant — ob­vi­ously tilted as much in their fa­vor as pos­si­ble.

Democrats in Congress and the left howled in horror at this reach out­side of the Con­sti­tu­tion for tiny lit­tle scraps of power — even though pres­i­dents ever since James Mon­roe have used this power.

Democrats held hear­ings about the unchecked abuse of power and warned of a sin­is­ter “uni­tary ex­ec­u­tive” se­cretly thwart­ing Congress and trash­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion.

What­ever you thought of Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush and Vice Pres­i­dent Dick Cheney’s “sign­ing state­ments,” you would have to agree that the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of them was, at the very least, de­bat­able. Their le­gal­ity was not a slam dunk ei­ther way.

But do you know what is not de­bat­able? What is not de­bat­able is whether Mr. Obama can take a prop­erly passed law such as the De­fense of Mar­riage Act, and sim­ply refuse to en­force it. He is not al­lowed to wave his hand and de­ter­mine that mil­lions of il­le­gal im­mi­grants now in the U.S. are sud­denly le­gal.

Nor is he al­lowed to sin­gle-hand­edly gut hard-fought wel­fare re­form laws that were con­sti­tu­tion­ally en­acted by a Repub­li­can-con­trolled Congress and a Demo­cratic pres­i­dent.

Mr. Obama has skirted, tram­pled and vi­o­lated the Con­sti­tu­tion so many times that it will be hard for any fu­ture pres­i­dent not to sim­ply agree that do­ing so has now be­come prece­dent.

He has al­ready rewrit­ten the health care law so many times that it has be­come com­mon­place. Is there no as­pect of that law — or any law — that he does not be­lieve a pres­i­dent can sim­ply re­write?

And it is com­pletely with­out shame that he has re­peat­edly vi­o­lated the Con­sti­tu­tion, even when the courts strike him down such as they did over his re­fusal to get Se­nate ap­proval for his nom­i­na­tions. It is as if he read the Con­sti­tu­tion, stud­ied it and even taught it. But, in the end, de­ter­mined that it only ap­plied to other pres­i­dents. Not him.

OK, so the drunken rages of Toronto’s Mr. Ford have been en­ter­tain­ing. Clearly, smok­ing crack should not be con­doned and it is cer­tainly il­le­gal. But what­ever dam­age he is do­ing to the may­oralty of Toronto will prob­a­bly pass on with him and the cir­cus will be over.

What Mr. Obama is do­ing is not funny and can­not be un­done. The mock­ery he is mak­ing of one of the great­est doc­u­ments for hu­man free­dom in his­tory can­not be erased.

If he moves on, all fu­ture pres­i­dents will be left with a new prece­dent and a map to unchecked tyranny. Charles Hurt can be reached at charleshurt@live.com, and on Twit­ter at @charleshurt.

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