This morning, political commentators are paying a great deal of attention to one of the Los Angeles Times’ stories about Barack Obama’s plans for a Republican takeover of Congress. Unfortunately, they are focusing on the wrong one. Most commentators spent the morning quoting the president’s remarks on a black radio program that a GOP-dominated Congress will result in “hand-to-hand combat.” The reality is most of the action will take place behind their backs and over their heads. All indications are, if Obama cannot get his legislative agenda enacted by Congress, he will impose it by decree.
The evidence comes buried elsewhere in today’s L.A. Times in a piece by Peter Nicholas and Christi Parsons under the hum-drum headline, “Obama Reshapes Administration for a Fresh Strategy.” The story makes clear the “fresh strategy” borders on government by executive fiat. It begins, “As President Obama remakes his senior staff, he is also shaping a new approach for the second half of his term: to advance his agenda through executive actions he can take on his own, rather than pushing plans through an increasingly hostile Congress.” This rule by divine right of kings is confirmed by no less an Obama insider than David Axelrod, who said, “It’s fair to say that the next phase is going to be less about legislative action than it is about managing the change that we’ve brought.” The Times states candidly:
Nicholas and Parsons note how the president has replaced the few appointees with ties to Capitol Hill in place of Chicago insiders. They specifically state the “the Environmental Protection Agency is determined to use its regulatory power…to begin lowering [carbon] emissions, in the absence of congressional action.” In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the EPA could regulate carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act, although the act did not have these “pollutants” in mind. Seizing on this ruling, an anonymous insider who “was not authorized to speak publicly” told the Times, “The ambition is to get a reasonable start” on implementing his extremist vision.
The plan fulfills a threat Obama made earlier this year. The Associated Press reported in June, “The Obama administration says it would prefer that Congress enact climate change legislation, but has used the threat of EPA regulations to goad lawmakers into action.” Within the last week, Congressional Republicans have called the regulations job-killers, and Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia has sponsored a two-year freeze on certain EPA regulations. Now it looks as though the president will run roughshod over Rockefeller, the Republicans, and the will of the American people.
More concerning than the aims to which Obama plans to use unfettered executive fiat power is the circumvention of Congress, and the Constitution, in the first place. William Galston of the Brookings Institution took the LAT Obama will employ this strategy even if Republicans do not take back either House of Congress. “Whether or not the Republicans take over majorities in one or both houses, the margins will be so much narrower that the strategy of putting together a Democratic bill and picking off a handful of Republicans to push it over the top won’t be viable anymore,” he said.
Rather than triangulate, repackage his radicalism, or take an electoral chastening, Obama plans to ram his agenda down the American people’s throats “by any means necessary.”
What will this agenda look like? In part, it is already in place. On illegal immigration, the president has already excluded Congress, several states, and the overwhelming majority of the American people to aggressively promote an Open Borders agenda. A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services draft memo that surfaced this summer contemplated ways to enact “meaningful immigration reform absent legislative action.” Shortly thereafter, an ICE draft memo appeared, instructing all law enforcement – including any “state, local, or tribal officer” – that no one “should not issue detainers against an alien charged only with a traffic-related misdemeanor.” Traffic stops have been one of the most fruitful ways of finding and deporting illegal aliens and make up the heart of Arizona’s S.B. 1070, allowing state and local law enforcement agencies to exercise their federally delegated power in arresting illegal immigrants.
When the Obama administration is not making law, it is busy ignoring it. The New York Times reported that the government simply stopped deporting young illegal aliens this summer – an exemption that applies to 726,000 people – because they may be eligible for the DREAM Act, which Congress has not yet passed (and probably never will). The administration began dismissing virtually all cases against illegals who had not committed any violent crime, letting a potential 17,000 illegals off-the-hook. Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security seems to have let a Congressionally mandated program to assure visa recipients leave the country slide – although overstays are the entry point for 40-45 percent of all illegal immigrants in the United States. That is how six of the 9/11 hijackers entered the country. Although Congress supports enforcement, the administration has simply shut down their requests.
Obama has unilaterally decided not to apply equal rights to disenfranchised white voters, dropping all such lawsuits targeting minority organizations. DoJ appointee Julie Fernandez said, “the Obama administration was only interested in bringing…cases that would provide political equality for racial and language minority voters.” Two former, high-ranking DoJ voting rights lawyers have testified the racist arrangement is an official government policy.
The Obama administration has already begun to entertain aspects of the Green Left’s agenda, a trend it will increase in the second half of its first (and, we hope, only) term. The EPA considered, then rejected, banning fishing gear and traditional bullets this summer. Obama has taken steps toward nationalizing millions of acres of land in the American West. In July, the president established the National Ocean Council, staffed with 27 members, by decree. Rep. Sam Farr boasted at the time, “We already have a Clean Air Act and a Clean Water Act. With today’s executive order, President Obama in effect creates a Clean Ocean Act.” Some have written this panel will implement the never-ratified UN Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST).
The danger is not merely that the president will enact legislation with the stroke of a pen, like Caesar. It appears likely he will accelerate his trend to pre-empt domestic political questions before the United Nations. I was the first reporter to discover that Obama hauled Arizona before the UN Human Rights Council this summer over the state’s aforementioned immigration law. Last week, the UN’s Global Migration Group issued a new report blasting opponents of Open Borders and welfare for illegal aliens as “xenophobes and racists.” Now, the Justice Department has solicited 11 Latin American nations to weigh in on its lawsuit stating the Arizona law violates the U.S. Constitution – as though any of the parties would know or care. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called the foreign intervention “incredibly offensive,” adding, “American sovereignty begins in the U.S. Constitution and at the border.”
The Obama administration has already rendered one of these moot and is now working to undermine the other. He has appointed two Supreme Court justices who believe in supplanting the U.S. Constitution with foreign law.
Obama used the same UN report to push a far-Left agenda (including card-check union organization, bilingual ballots, universal preschool, and gays in the military) under the guise of “human rights.” He likewise extended benefits to the same-sex “partners” of some federal employees in advance of a Congressional bill to do the same.
Where does the president derive these dictatorial powers? Simple: he claims them. Article II of the U.S. Constitution delegates to the president only the powers to act as commander-in-chief of the military, grant pardons, make treaties (which must be approved by the Senate), appoint ambassadors and Supreme Court justices, and give the State of the Union address.
And, if necessary, the “right” to be impeached.
If a system of unelected, sometimes unconfirmed czars does not violate the Constitution, the assumption of imperial powers by the executive branch should.
Barack Obama is dedicated to use whatever time he has in office forcing as much of his agenda on the United States – and so transforming the economic and electoral make-up of our nation – that his radical vision can be foisted upon Americans as a fait accompli.
Many Americans believed the velvet words of hope and change during the 2008 campaign. If the thuggishness of the past two years has not convinced them of his disregard for popular will, the U.S. Constitution, and the rule of law, two years of radical, royal decrees may.
If Congressional Republicans do their jobs in 2011, Obama may not fill out two more years in office.