Sabotaging Conservative Victory
There's something we need to get straight before the election campaign seriously kicks off (I can't believe I'm writing that line over a year before the actual election. Something is seriously distorted in American politics): the possibility of extralegal political action on the part of the Obama administration.
I've noticed quite a number of comments (I won't quote them directly since that would be taken as a personal attack, which is not how this is intended) claiming that Obama is certain to "call off" or "cancel" the elections. That he will carry out a "coup." Declare a state of "martial law" or a "national emergency." All in hopes of extending his decrepit, incompetent, and despised administration as long as humanly possible.
We've been hearing similar warnings every election since the turn of the century. George W. Bush (or just as often, Dick Cheney) was going to cancel the 2008 election and put everybody in the FEMA camps. Barack Obama was going to cancel the midterms and do pretty much the same thing. All these claims, needless to say, turned out to be nonsense, which has done nothing to diminish their reappearance in all their hysterical glory every election season. I doubt the lizard men would let people get away with this kind of thing.
I happen to believe that the world does not work this way. That certain things are possible, certain things are impossible, and that certain things are absurd on their face, and that it's not all that difficult to work out which is which. I believe that this applies just as strongly to Barack Obama and his clown entourage as anyone else, and I think that the record, as in the case of things like Operation Fast and Furious, clearly demonstrates this to be true. In fact, I think that Obama et al. are, if anything, more liable to mess up any effort requiring a level of competence greater than the ability to tie their shoes.
I don't think I'm in a minority with this opinion, though God help us all, such a thing is distinctly possible the way things have been going in the Republic lately. But it won't hurt anybody to look at this topic rationally. If someone truly wants to believe that Barack Obama is Blofeld, Aaron Burr, and Hasan the Assassin rolled into one, all well and good. But take a look at the evidence first.
We'll start out with canceling the elections. The following is the section of the Constitution dealing with the subject:
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.
This applies the same to presidents, with the addition of the rules for electors. We often forget that the Constitution is the rulebook along with everything else it embodies. The rules here speak clearly enough: the president has nothing to do with elections per se. He is not a British premier. He cannot call elections, nor can he cancel them. They are a state and local responsibility, the ultimate accountability lying with state governors at the top of a long chain reaching from secretaries of state down to county clerks.
Obama, or any other president, has no authority under the Constitution to say boo about the date, mechanics, or running of an election. If he were to arise and read "Boo!" off his Teleprompter, he would be answered immediately by fifty state governors, fifty lieutenant governors, fifty secretaries of state, forty-nine state senates and assemblies (Nebraska, of course, having a single bicameral legislature) all unanimously telling him to take a hike. (Possibly excepting Neil Abercrombie, friend of the family.) This claim is a nonstarter.
But Obama can issue an executive order forcing them to cancel the elections, you say? Sure he can. He can also issue an executive order forcing everyone to wear square hats. Would you wear one? Me neither.
Keep in mind this also covers the "national emergency" claim. The United States held presidential elections in 1864 at the height of the Civil War, 1944 at the height of WWII, 1952 in the midst of the Korean War, and in 1968 with the New Left deliberately attempting to shut the process down. (They merely handed the presidency to Richard Nixon.) No national emergency has ever affected an election. (As for "martial law," there is no contingency for this in the American legal system.)
No; Obama would have to act through coup de main -- he would have to overthrow the Constitution, which means taking personal control of the country. This is quite a challenge. What people seem to have in mind (as is suggested by the common misuse of the world "coup") is some kind of takeover of governmental functions in Washington followed by a declaration that Obama I was now in command and all must remove their shoes before bowing in his direction.
The problem again is that no one would obey. The United States is structured as a federal republic for a reason. France has had so many problems with coups, civil uprisings, men on white horses, and so forth due to the fact that it is a centralized state. If you control Paris, you control the country. On the other hand, if you control Washington, you control...D.C.
No, you'd have to bag the entire country at once. All 57 states. This could probably be done, but not easily. It would be one of the -- if not the -- most complex and difficult military operations conceivable. Occupying and controlling a country of 300 million people taking up a good part of a continent? The man who could bring this off would be a figure on the level of an Alexander or a Napoleon. Logistics and planning would be impossible to hide. There is no way such a thing could be kept secret. There is, furthermore, no way it could ever proceed once it was revealed.
The individuals making these claims simply haven't bothered to think it through. (I suspect they believe that Obama will simply say the magic word and the "sheeple" will immediately do whatever he says, which means that they're living in a different universe from the one I know.) This kind of free-ranging paranoia is something we can leave out of our thinking -- something we need to leave out.
The first point is that this is the style of hysteria we find on the left. Immaturity combined with serious misjudgment of reality leads to overreaction on their side of the fence -- tantrums, lurid nightmare scenarios, vows to move to Canada or France, and the like. This has undoubtedly cost them quite a bit of support from the more rational elements of the population -- who would want to associate with such a crew? It's not our problem, and we should stifle this tendency before it has a chance to take root. (The conservative failing is resignation, which is just as bad but not at all the same thing.)
The second point is that it fits the troglodyte image that the left likes to paint on the conservative billboard. Obama and his henchmen have very little to run on -- nothing, really. Which means they will turn the election into a referendum on the nature of the American right. We've already seen this in their treatment of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. This tactic has worked for them several times before, in the 50s with Joe McCarthy and the 60s with Barry Goldwater. Both played into the hands of the left by taking on the persona of the wild-eyed right-winger -- McCarthy by not shaving and dressing like Frank Nitti, and Goldwater by making remarks that could be easily twisted to mean something other than what he intended. We see this to a lesser extent with Michele B. these days. Fortunately, she can laugh it off. But we need to keep in mind: don't play their game.
The third point is that it's a distraction, which it is meant to be. Conservatives tend to be a little too trusting, a little too willing to give credence where skepticism is called for, and in this sense are easily manipulated. We saw this in 2000, where a release of an ancient drunk-driving record involving George W. Bush persuaded up to several million Republican voters -- many of them Evangelicals -- to skip voting, enabling Al Gore to claim the election had been stolen from him and causing all sorts of grief for the country at a particularly critical period. We need to become a little tougher-minded, and cease believing things simply because we saw them on the Net.
The left has this stuff scoped out. They know exactly what kind of effect they want, and exactly how to create it. We are well aware that a considerable amount of cash, time, and effort goes into monitoring our sites, including our comment boards. We know full well -- having dealt with them endlessly -- that there are individuals, very likely on the payroll of a certain gentleman from Hungary, who are always available to throw a wrench into things when called for. These people are out to create uncertainty, hopelessness, and paranoia by whatever means they can.
They will be doing this on the grand scale during the upcoming election. From here on in, we need to at least consider the possibility that the people promoting visions of chaos and disaster on conservative websites and elsewhere may well be out to push an agenda utterly opposed to our own. Our response must be to think hard and don't jump to conclusions. If something seems shaky or bizarre, it most likely is. Check twice, and then three times. Remember that each of us is the last link in the rumor chain. In the information age, the battle line is drawn straight down the middle of every individual mentality.
J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker, and author of Death by Liberalism.