Obama's presser goes Through the Looking Glass
In yesterday’s post-midterm presser, President Obama seemed to channel Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass:
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."
For President Obama, elections mean just what he chooses them to mean. Tuesday’s midterm, which saw Democrat senators, governors, and House members fall like bowling pins, was all about the two thirds of the registered voters who didn’t bother to show up. President Obama vows that:
… to everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.
What exactly the sound of silence means to him is left, well, silent, but I gather he thinks that it means that they support him. Otherwise, how could he vow to “get stuff done” and then see if Congress chooses to “supersede” his actions with legislation? This is a bizarre interpretation of how the Constitution works, especially from a guy the University of Chicago chose to teach con law. As David Harsanyi asked at The Federalist, “[w]ho knew it was Congress’s role to pass laws so that they could supersede the actions of the executive branch? Is that how this works?”
To Humpty Obama, the Constitution, like elections, means exactly what he chooses it to mean.
The president made it clear that he will take executive action, probably through the use of prosecutorial discretion, to allow some number of illegal aliens to remain in the United States. Although Mitch McConnell has vowed to use the power of the purse to fight amnesty-like moves, it is hard to see how prosecutorial discretion could be targeted.
The GOP will need to very carefully craft spending bills, and avoid an overall budget bill, which Obama would surely veto if it seeks to constrain him, triggering another “shutdown” that he and the media would blame on the GOP.
The one faint ray of hope to emerge from the press conference was that a number of questions from non-Fox News Channel reporters were probing. For instance, Jonathan Karl of ABC News asked him why he has met with Mitch McConnell only once or twice in the last six years. (Video here.) Obama’s answer was evasive, but it included an invitation:
You know, actually, I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell. I don’t know what his preferred drink is, but you know, my interactions with Mitch McConnell, he – you know, he has always been very straightforward with me.
But in the past, Obama has actually joked about how icky it would be to have a drink with McConnell (hat tip: Peter Suderman of Reason):
But the Queen in Through the Looking Glass knew that "[i]t's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards."
Like Humpty Dumpty, Obama is heading for a great fall, and nobody will ever be able to put Obama back together again.