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November 20, 2014

Some Thoughts Upon This Last Day of the American Republic

Daniel Haenninger:

Who can forget the Obama acceptance speech in 2008 on a football field in Denver, the nominee standing amid Greek columns and scrolling through a long list of goals to 84,000 Democrats? That was the high. Six years later, the Democrats get the hangover. On Thursday, Mr. Obama will announce his presidency's only declaration of war--against the Republicans. After describing how he will redesign the U.S. immigration system on his own authority, he'll fly Friday to Las Vegas.


The remaining two years will be irregular warfare, with Mr. Obama deploying his weapon of choice, the executive order. This essentially turns the presidency into a cruise missile: The president tells the country what to do, and the country does it.

Before the U.S. political system goes to the mattresses, Iíd like to spend a moment discussing Jonathan Gruber, ObamaCare and the American people.


...

Jon Gruberís remarks matter not for what they say about the Democratic Party's modus operandi but because of the truths he revealed about the Democratic Party's reason for being. The Gruber threat to the Democrats isnít reputational; it's existential.


...

The problem is not one MIT economist's arrogance. The problem is that the technocracy itself has become a political problem for the Democratic Party.

For some 80 years, that technocracy has been the life force of the Democratic Party. Now it's a kind of noxious green sludge consuming the party.

...

The original Democratic idea was at least benign. In the hands of the Obama-Gruber coalition, it has finally degraded into something else. It has become malign, a politics that has to be faked or crammed down.

The best and brightest of the Democratic left will now fashion legal arguments defending national government by executive order. Too late. It looks like the stupid people are wising up.

Rich Lowry:

The last 400 years of Anglo-American political history can be read as a successful effort to establish and maintain a system tethering the executive to the law. What President Obama is contemplating will undermine that achievement, both through his own lawlessness and the precedent he will create for subsequent presidents to operate by extra-legal fiat.

...
No matter how much the presidentís defenders stretch for a legal justification and for a precedent, the conclusion is unavoidable that no one has done this before. President Obama is said to want to build his legacy, and he will--as a man who is shamefully careless of his oaths and constitutional obligations.

Cooke:

...

And yet, just one short year after he had told students that he was hamstrung by the rules, the president did precisely what he said he could not, refusing to "enforce and implement" those "very clear" laws and abdicating disgracefully his "appropriate role as president."

...

Evidently, the new approach suited the president. Soon thereafter, he began to make extra-legislative changes to Obamacare, without offering any earnest legal justifications whatsoever; he responded to Congressís refusal to raise the minimum wage by rewriting the Service Contract Act of 1965; and, as a matter of routine, he took to threatening, cajoling, and mocking Congress, and to informing the country's lawmakers that by declining to consent to his will they were refusing to do "their jobs." In Obama's post-2011 world, it seems, legislators are not free agents but parliamentary subordinates possessed of two choices: either they do what he wants, or they watch him do what he wants. Refusing assent seems to be regarded as an entirely illegitimate option. This, it should be perfectly obvious, is the attitude not of the statesman, but of the mugger. "Give me your wallet," the ruffian says, "or I will take it by force." That progressives who once championed the man for his calm and his virtue have taken to twisting themselves into knots in his defense should tell us all we need to know about their broader sincerity -- and his.

...

Today, the transformation of Barack Obama from wide-eyed idealist to bitter imperator will finally be completed. Amid the glitz and the artifice of Las Vegas, the last vestiges of the one we were waiting for will be swept ignominiously away, leaving only power, cynicism, and partisanship in their stead. There was a time when our 44th president claimed to stand for transparency, modesty, moderation, tolerance, humility, reason, and calm. Today, just feet from Caesars Palace, he will don the robes of the emperor and spin minor discretion into gargantuan usurpation, all norms and touchstones be damned. However convincing are the promises of the ambitious, Lord Acton always has the last laugh.


Update: The center cannot hold.


Open Thread for Obama's official declaration of assumption of the powers of Emperor.


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posted by Ace at 06:42 PM

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