In his still young presidency, Barack Obama already has revealed himself as a reveler in the exercise of a certain type of power. Not on the international stage, where his apology tour of Europe was just the latest example of the abasement of America that he sees as part of his mission in life. Nor in dealing with the threat of terrorism (or "overseas contingency operations" and "man-made disasters" as a way to define away the future of his office) or looming dangers from a nuclear Iran.
But he has demonstrated a desire to act forcefully in one particular way: vanquishing his domestic political opponents. Never mind his calls for bipartisanship, and regardless of safeguards meant to serve as checks and balance on the exercise of untrammeled presidential power, Barack Obama captured his own attitude in two syllables: "I won."
The mainstream media has been called the fourth branch of government because it has a duty to monitor the actions of our politicians. However, journalists have already abdicated this role -- as was clear during the campaign. We are seeing the rise on an imperial presidency, and the media, or what is left of it, snoozes.
Not content with sizable Democratic majorities in Congress to accomplish his goals, he seeks to mobilize grassroots goon squads to pressure to accede to his demands, including recalcitrant Congressmen who happen to be Democrats but who may have qualms regarding some of the President's policies. Many of these Congressmen are so-called Blue Dog Democrats whose districts may vote for them, but are tinged by Republican red. Just as community organizer Obama organized, trained, and transported Chicago demonstrators to political meetings, now his minions rustle up cyber-crowds.When those steps don't work, well, the President can just ignore how Presidents have traditionally behaved and can also choose to ignore the Constitution, as well.
I am not just talking about Presidential signing statements or executive orders, either. Nor am I just talking about the promotion of the Orwellian-named Fairness Doctrine which would weaken the principle of free speech in America. Or card check -- a proposal that ends the secret ballot in unionization elections.
I am referring to direct actions the President has taken, or reportedly may take, that not only ignores his duty to defend the Constitution but subvert the meaning and purpose of that hallowed document. Far more seriously, Barack Obama is demonstrating a willingness to ignore the Constitution and run roughshod over traditional safeguards and procedures for the expenditure of taxpayer dollars.
President Obama has seemingly magically just given away a huge amount of money to the International Monetary Fund, which is free to pass it along to whomever it pleases, including our adversaries. At least the Wall Street Journal noticed and also pointed out some problems with Obama's gift to the world.
The U.S. and Europe were widely expected to clash at the G-20 summit in London last month over how to address the global financial crisis. Voila, in just two days the problem was solved with a joint promise to increase International Monetary Fund resources by $750 billion to a total of $1 trillion.
The U.S. portion of this new commitment is more than $140 billion. Yet Congress has debated neither the amount nor the proposed use of the funds. Instead, President Obama and his fellow leaders simply waved their hands, like a Star Trek captain, and said make it so.
Now Mr. Obama has overruled Congress and blessed an [Special Drawing Right] SDR increase - not twice the existing number, but eight times. As Juergen Stark, a member of the European Central Bank Executive Board, told the German daily Handelsblatt, "It was never examined whether there indeed is a global need for additional liquidity," adding that "one used to take a lot of time to check something like
The upshot for U.S. taxpayers is that neither the $40 billion-plus in new SDRs nor the $100 billion for the NAB will get much democratic scrutiny. Yet they amount to a massive expansion in U.S. foreign aid.
Our friends in Europe have resolutely refused to increase their stimulus or monetary programs to help the world recover from its economic problems. They do not want to increase their inflation rates and debase their currencies. They realize America will bear this burden, because Barack Obama cares more about the world than he does about America. Why should American citizens assume this risk and assume this debt so we can help the rest of the world when they are not pulling their fair share? This is an especially problematic use of American taxpayer dollars because much of this aid will go towards overseas businesses that will export goods to America, hurting our manufacturers and our labor force.
What is most grating, though, is how President is spending our money with abandon and eschewing any need to get Congressional approval for this massive spending increase. Where indeed is the transparency, the bipartisanship, the consultation with Congress? Who needs checks and balances when you are Barack Obama?
It has been speculated that Team Obama may bypass Congress by using the budget reconciliation process to "pass" his health care reform bill. This reconciliation process merely requires a majority vote to pass a bill. This would prevent a filibuster by Senators opposed to his plans. It is also an end run around the Constitution that merited an objection from no less than the hyperpartisan Democratic Senator from West Virginia, Senator Robert Byrd -- who has long been considered the Senate's leading Constitutional scholar. He also respect tradition-having served on Capitol Hill for decades. . Since our President was acclaimed as a constitutional scholar -- the media harped on his Harvard Law pedigree and his teaching of constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School -- shouldn't he have an appreciation of the law and put a stop to such talk?
(Then again, he may not even know much about law.)
Obama's real learning evidently occurred not in law school but in the precincts of Chicago.
Barack Obama's political career began in Chicago -- a city that has labored under Democratic control for decades. Democrats have been able to push through just about anything they have ever wanted in Chicago. Hence our nation's leading sales tax rate, among other burdens.
Such bossism becomes a habit. Now Chicago has exported it to Washington in the person of our President.
Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.