The Imperial Presidency, 2014
February 3, 2014
In recent days, Barack Obama has re-issued his now-familiar threat to Congress, “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen…” He vowed to use that pen to sign executive orders, bypassing congressional opposition to his agenda. As a crafty politician, he’s learned to mask his arrogance with the cloak of compassion and nobility, and has convinced supporters that Congress is an impediment to the help that only he can provide.
But Obama’s abuses extend well beyond his unbridled use of executive orders. There are the scandals, from Solyndra to Fast and Furious, to Benghazi. There is the misuse of government agencies, particularly the IRS, to punish political opposition. There is his disregard for the laws he opposes, and arbitrary adjustments of those he favors. There are the unabashed, self-serving lies, most notably those about Benghazi and Obamacare. And there is so much more.
“The Imperial Presidency” was written about another President who abused his authority 40 years ago. He had many accomplishments, but he also had a distorted perspective on presidential power, which he later revealed in a candid interview: “When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.” Obama seems to share those sentiments of Richard Nixon, who was forced to resign under public pressure and the likelihood of impeachment,
Though he says the right words, Obama has never demonstrated compassion or nobility, but rather a thirst for power and control. Throughout his presidency, he has been protected by the Democratic majority in Congress, his tag team of political appointees, and a doting press. Consequently, he’s acquired a sense of political invincibility. As he brazenly and progressively violates his oath of office, we slip further away from the constitutional principles that made our country great.
For now, the opposition is virtually powerless to contain an administration it routinely condemns as lawless and unconstitutional. Republican hearings, like their public outcries, lead nowhere – stonewalled by Obama’s political appointees or derailed by his executive orders or Democratic lawmakers.
And where are the honest Democrats? In the wake of the health care debacle, that term has become an oxymoron. Using underhanded tactics and outright deception, they all united with the President to produce the Obamacare fiasco. But even in the face of an outraged electorate, they remain loyal to Obama and the party. In fact, by again invoking the process of reconciliation, they have made it easier to confirm Obama’s hand-picked appointees, fortifying his ring of defense.
As Obama settles in to his dictatorial role, the country’s patience is wearing thin. Influential citizens, including columnists, authors, legal experts, and lawmakers, are now hinting at impeachment. Obama’s fiercest critics are demanding nothing less. Late last year, in a 10 count indictment, the National Black Republican Association publicly called for his impeachment. While Democrats dismiss it as partisanship, the NBRA is not alone. Many public figures, including senior military veterans are making the same demands. Their outrage is especially understandable. They served their country faithfully, and took a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution - not some political machine run amok. Those congressional Democrats took the same oath, but seem to have those priorities reversed.
The disapproval of Obama’s presidency even crosses the generation gap. According to a recent Harvard poll, 52 percent of 18 to 24 year olds would support a “recall” of the President.
But the grassroots organizations may ultimately have the greatest impact. Like the Tea Party that formed in response to unchecked government spending, groups like Patriots for America are springing up across the country. Their numbers are small now, but they are growing, and their goal is the resignation or impeachment of Obama and his enablers, and a return to the checks and balances of our Constitutional Republic. Through organized events, like the one scheduled in Washington in May, they intend to exert the same kind of pressure that brought Nixon down.
Predictably, the press ignores them while the left nervously mocks them, or dismisses them as racist malcontents. But they are neither. They are a cross-section of America, motivated by patriotism. They have not undertaken their mission because they’re unhappy with the last two elections, but because Obama seems to view deception as a legitimate tool of government. They are not calling for his removal because of the color of his skin. They’re doing it because of his flagrant disregard for our Constitution. They cannot be mocked or criticized if they adhere to the principles of that document.
While the subject of impeachment is taboo in the media, that won’t make it go away. This movement is real. Where it will lead is anyone’s guess, but once before, the public was instrumental in unseating an incumbent President. To paraphrase Obama’s words, if Congress will not respond to an imperial President, the people will.
Peter Lemiska has spent more than 28 years in government service. He is a former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service and an Air Force veteran. His political commentaries have been widely published online and in print.