February 28, 2011
The Entitled Party
President Obama and the left wing of the Democratic Party think they are entitled to win. From our narcissistic President to screaming union organizers, they are puffed up with self-righteous zeal. They must have health care to save the sick, they must shut down Louisiana oil rigs to save the planet, they must defend government unions to save the middle class.
Of course, each side thinks they are right. Being right is no excuse. You have to abide by the law, you have to abide by elections, you have to respect the courts and constitutional separation of power, or else we no longer live in a democratic country. In our democracy, no one is entitled to win. If you won't lose, you cannot have democracy.
What you have are the Wisconsin Democrat senators who are unwilling to abide by the election results that put them in a minority. What you have is Reid and Pelosi, ramming Obamacare through by breaking rules of procedure, in order to flout the 2010 election results. What you have is the Obama White House, blocking Congress's right to confirm appointees, and openly ignoring federal courts. What you have is the Justice Department announcing it will no longer defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act in court, as if Obama gets to decide which laws are constitutional. What you have is a Democratic Party run amok, undercutting our democracy in the service of their own power.
The complacency, nay, the vociferous support, from Democrat leaders and the legacy media for this disregard for the rule of law reminds me of the old joke about the psychiatrist. A man is sent by his family to see a shrink because he thinks he's a chicken. After months of treatment, he is still clucking. The family asks the psychiatrist if he's told his patient he is not a chicken. "No," the psychiatrist admits. "Why not!" "Because I like the eggs."
The Democrats like the eggs. They like imposing their will, whether it be ObamaCare, or the off-shore drilling moratorium, or the blockage of Wisconsin's elected government. Are they really this short-sighted? Don't they understand the damage to our democratic system by these anti-democratic precedents? Do they really want to change congressional rules so that the House and the Senate version of bills no longer have to be reconciled, as they did to jam ObamaCare through by the fiction it was a finance bill? Do they really want the Interior Department ignoring federal court orders? Do they really want state senators refusing to accept that when you lose an election, the other side gets to pass their agenda?
Obama appointed extremists for important administrative positions, controversial and even creepy people, like Van Jones, whom he knew would not get past Congressional confirmation. The checks and balances between executive and legislative branch were instituted by our founders for this exact purpose. The executive nominates but Congress must confirm -- bedrock principles of American democracy. Obama's answer: flout the law. Call his appointees 'czars' and bypass confirmation. This is not legal and it is not democracy. Do the liberal legacy media and Obama's fellow Democrats want presidents to have this unlimited power? Do they really want to give up the safeguards of congressional confirmation by calling appointees czars?
The White House is not only ignoring elections and subverting the power of Congress, it is also willing to disobey federal courts. When the health care bill was challenged in court and the administration lost, Obama ignored the ruling of Justice Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court in Florida. Judge Vinson declared the entire ObamaCare bill unconstitutional in a ruling that the judge stated was the equivalent of an injunction. The White House has not halted implementation. The White house has not followed normal rules to fast-track the appeal process so the Supreme Court can decide. Our White House seems entirely comfortable to show contempt of court.
In Louisiana, the administration didn't like a court ruling lifting the moratorium on off-shore drilling, so what did the Obama administration do? It ignored the court. In response, on February 2, the U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman held the Department of Interior in contempt. The Administration then adopted a go slow policy and did not issue a single permit. So on February 21, Judge Feldman ordered the Obama administration to act on five deep water drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico within 30 days, calling the delays in issuing new decisions "unreasonable, unacceptable, and unjustified." We have a White House that places its anti-energy policy above the rule of law. This is unacceptable in a democracy.
Democracy is a complex system based on cultural norms and principles as much as institutions. As we see governments topple in the context of resurgent jihadi movements in the Arab world, we are keenly aware that elections alone rarely lead to democracy. George Washington was an almost unique figure in the history of the world, in that he relinquished power. Our founding fathers were political geniuses who gave us a system of checks and balances to curb misuse of power by those who govern. As Americans, we are privileged to witness the recurring, orderly transfer of power from one administration to the next, through which voters get to determine the direction of their government and correct mistakes and imbalances.
We are seeing in both the Obama White House and the Wisconsin Senate that the Democratic Party is unwilling to lose. Over and over in the past two years, we have seen a Democrat administration willing to flout the courts, flout rules and regulations, and flout the voice of the people as expressed in elections.
Disregard for the democratic limits on power is as important as the administration's fiscal irresponsibility that threatens our prosperity, as important as the explosive growth of bureaucracy that threatens our liberties.
Our democracy cannot survive if only the Republican Party cares about it. It is time for centrist Democrats to throw off the power grab by the radical wing of their party and start defending the Constitution, as they have sworn to do.