The Great Accommodator
Great presidents need great nicknames.
With his recent exercise in extra-constitutional magnanimity, allowing religious folk to enjoy the state-endowed religious liberty that he had recently taken away as matter of his principled noblesse oblige, our constitutional law adjunct lecturer-in-chief has finally achieved greatness.
Up until now, he might have entered history as "The Great Apologizer," or perhaps "The Great Appeaser," or maybe "Barry Big Spender." He might simple have gone down as "One Term Obama."
Barack Obama's "accommodation" with the Catholic church and other institutions of faith regarding the sovereign's, er, the President's mandate to force them to provide "reproductive services" that they might consider tantamount to murder is yet another example of the president's unparalleled grab, umm, grasp of fundamental rights, individual liberties, and Constitutional powers.
With a brilliantly nuanced moral argument, the president will no longer use the coercive force of government to require people and/or institutions of faith to engage in behavior they consider violations of conscience. Instead, he will use the coercive force of government to require any insurance company that people and/or institutions of faith do business with to engage in the aforementioned unconscionable behavior.
Catholic institutions can rest easy. The state will not force them to commit immoral acts. The state will force someone else to commit the immoral acts, and Catholic institutions will simply have to pay for them. It's just like we were always taught in Sunday school: Thou Shalt Not Kill, And If Killing Must Be Done For The Greater Good, Thou Must Hire A Hit Man To Keep Thine Own Hands Clean.
With his new decree recognizing religious freedom, Obama finally solidifies his place in history. And what's any respectable fourth best president ever to do, without an enduring nickname? George Washington has dibs on "The Father of His Country." John Adams has squatter's rights on "The Colossus of Independence." "The Sage of Chicago" doesn't have quite the same panache as Jefferson's "The Sage of Monticello." "His Little Majesty" is closer to the mark, but Obama is too tall, except when he's bowing, and besides it is already taken by James Madison.
The Republicans have "The Great Emancipator" (Lincoln), "The Great Communicator"(Reagan), "The Rough Rider"(Roosevelt), and "Unconditional Surrender"(Grant). The Democrats have "Slick Willie"(Clinton) and "The Peanut Farmer"(Carter).
Barack Obama doesn't have to settle for just "Barry" anymore. He doesn't have to feel bad that "The Sun King" has already been co-opted by, of all people, a Frenchman. And he is surely saving "The Constitution Buster" for his second term.
For now, "The Great Accommodator" will work just fine.
If only he could only get around to occasionally accommodating the Constitution.