Obama sets off on scorched-earth ram­page

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY JOSEPH CURL

P“Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

— Al­fred talk­ing about the Joker in “The Dark Knight” res­i­dent Obama, fresh off a shel­lack­ing in the 2014 midterm elec­tions — in which he made him­self a cen­ter­piece, much to the cha­grin of em­bat­tled Democrats — is about to em­bark on a scorched-earth ram­page that will change the face of Amer­ica for­ever.

Although the Har­vard grad­u­ate and for­mer pro­fes­sor of­ten speaks of “teach­able mo­ments,” the pres­i­dent saw noth­ing worth learn­ing in the out­come of the Nov. 4 elec­tions, when vot­ers gave Repub­li­cans their largest majority in the House since World War II and drummed the Democrats out of con­trol of the Se­nate.

More, he doesn’t care that poll after poll shows a grow­ing dis­il­lu­sion­ment with his sig­na­ture pol­icy as pres­i­dent, Oba­macare, which now holds a record low ap­proval rat­ing of 37 per­cent. And his plan to use ex­ec­u­tive au­thor­ity to grant amnesty to mil­lions of il­le­gal aliens rates just about the same — just 38 per­cent of Americans ap­prove.

But Mr. Obama couldn’t care less. He doesn’t care that he has said at least 22 times in the past that he couldn’t sim­ply cre­ate his own im­mi­gra­tion law or ig­nore the stat­ues al­ready on the books. “Congress’s job is to pass leg­is­la­tion. The pres­i­dent can veto it or he can sign it. … I be­lieve in the Con­sti­tu­tion and I will obey the Con­sti­tu­tion of the United States,” he said in 2008.

And in 2010, he was more blunt: “I am pres­i­dent, I am not king. I can’t do th­ese things just by my­self.” That’s right, he can’t. The Founders, fear­ful of the power of a monarch, de­signed the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment so that the pres­i­dent is the least pow­er­ful of the tri­umvi­rate, giv­ing far more power to the leg­isla­tive branch and the ju­di­ciary.

All that talk was from be­fore the drub­bing the pres­i­dent took in the midterms. Now, Mr. Obama, with just two years left in of­fice, has jet­ti­soned his once-lofty rhetoric about the lim­its of pres­i­den­tial power.

After his party’s his­toric losses, he re­fused to even ac­knowl­edge the thrash­ing. In­stead, he said the real les­son from that day was that Americans want ev­ery­one in Wash­ing­ton to “work to­gether.”

Yet be­hind the scenes, the pres­i­dent was busy di­rect­ing his team of lawyers to find real or per­ceived loop­holes in the law — even the Con­sti­tu­tion — in or­der to wave his royal scepter and in­stan­ta­neously turn as many as 12 mil­lion il­le­gal aliens into Amer­ica cit­i­zens. Al­ready he had qui­etly or­dered the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to stop de­port­ing aliens and uni­lat­er­ally al­lowed some 60,000 “un­ac­com­pa­nied mi­nors” to en­ter the U.S.

So he never had any in­ten­tion of “work­ing to­gether” with Repub­li­cans, who in six weeks will con­trol both cham­bers of Congress. In­stead, he set off to cir­cum­vent Congress by grant­ing amnesty to mil­lions. Through­out, he knew that he would be, as GOP lead­ers said, “poi­son­ing the well” and “wav­ing a red flag in front of a bull.”

On Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, the pres­i­dent an­nounced — on Face­book — that he will be de­liv­er­ing a speech Thurs­day night de­tail­ing his in­tent to change U.S. law by ex­ec­u­tive fiat. The tim­ing is de­lib­er­ately de­signed to throw gaso­line on an al­ready blaz­ing fire.

With just weeks to go be­fore the end of the 113th Congress, and with fund­ing for Ebola, a con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion to keep the gov­ern­ment open that ex­pires Dec. 11, and a slew of oth­ers set to come up, the pres­i­dent has made uni­lat­eral ac­tion on im­mi­gra­tion his top pri­or­ity.

De­spite his vow to work with Repub­li­cans, he will shove his ex­ec­u­tive or­der down their throats, in­tent on bring­ing con­flict with the soon-to-be rul­ing party.

“That’s not the in­tent,” Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said Wed­nes­day be­fore blam­ing con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans for not pass­ing a bud­get. “This is not an ef­fort to pro­voke a stand­off here in fact, the fact that Repub­li­cans have re­fused to act on im­mi­gra­tion re­form is why we are where we are any­way.”

He said this with a straight face. But like the Joker, the pres­i­dent is in­tent on bring­ing chaos to Amer­ica. In that “Dark Knight” scene, Al­fred ex­plains the Joker’s true goal: “Be­cause some men aren’t look­ing for any­thing log­i­cal, like money. They can’t be bought, bul­lied, rea­soned, or ne­go­ti­ated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

Mr. Obama will say oth­er­wise in his ad­dress Thurs­day night, but this is who he re­ally is. And like the Joker, he is to be truly feared.

Joseph Curl cov­ered the White House and pol­i­tics for a decade for The Wash­ing­ton Times. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twit­ter @josephcurl.

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