SAN JOSE, Calif., February 1, 2014 — President Obama’s State of the Union address included a threat to bypass Congress if Congress won’t pass bills he considers necessary to the country’s economic well-being.
This was one of the most controversial elements of his speech. It reiterates a point Obama has made before: His job is to be “the One” to get things done in Washington when Congress won’t. He may be bound by some constitutional niceties, but ultimately, in his estimation, L’État, c’est moi; he is the State.
There is much to admire about a strong leader who takes the initiative to break gridlock. Presidents have sometimes bashed congressional heads together to get Congress to act, and they have sometimes forced the congressional hand. There is a serious problem when the President of the United States tries to circumvent Congress, though: It runs counter to the Constitution.
Congress makes the laws; that’s its sole constitutional prerogative. As a constitutional scholar, Obama knows that. When he declares his intention to act unilaterally, he knows exactly what he is doing: He conditioning the American people to conclude that they need a strong leader who will bypass a squabbling, do-nothing Congress and move the country forward.
It is only if Congress retains its legislative prerogatives that America can remain a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people. It is becoming clear that Obama has a different definition of “the people.” This is dangerous.
Prior to the Sate of the Union, in the New Yorker magazine, Obama subtly compared himself to Abraham Lincoln. He described Lincoln’s absolutist moves through executive orders to eliminate the system of slavery that had become entrenched in America over centuries. The system was entrenched and sanctioned by a monarchy long before the United States became a nation.
Obama compared his current opponents to those who supported the white Southern landowners who were determined to hold on to slavery. He likened those who supported states’ rights then to those who support states’ rights now.
If we carried his logic further, we could conclude that the Party which supported states’ rights the most adamantly — the Democrats — has a similar mentality today. Yet it appears that the Democrats are trying to provide strong federal authority in response to a series of rebellious state governments in an attempt to do what’s best for the people.
This is an illusion. The Democrats are no longer the Party of state’s rights as they were during the growth of the Republic; they have now set their sights on absolute control of the entire nation.
The Democratic Party is no longer the political party of Harry Truman or John F. Kennedy. The rhetoric of “progressive Democrats,” what they do when they can legislate, and what Obama does via executive order have a very different character. The Party has embraced the kind of big, centralized, control-focused government that the Founding Fathers feared and pledged their lives and honor to defeat. Democrats today simply want to build and keep political power.
The primary tool of this is the growth of big government. The Party absorbs ever more power into the government in the name of the people: It protects us from our food, it protects us from our employers, it protects women from men, it protects blacks from whites, it protects gays from straights, it protects children from adults, it protects the environment from capitalists and the poor from greed. It convinces us that we are incapable of dealing with life on our own, that we are helpless in the face of vast and terrible forces that want nothing more than to devour and enslave us and warp the lives of our children.
We are being turned into children and treated like children.
This total dependency on government is slavery under another name. It isn’t the slavery of the gulag, but the slavery of the child wrapped in layers of clothing by a loving, tyrannical nanny – a child who can no longer move his arms enough to scratch his own nose.
Karl Marx was wrong — religion is not the opiate of the people; dependency upon big government is the opiate of the people. Do Democrats realize this? Of course – it is apparent through their actions in how they operate within the political arena and the realm of government once they obtain political power.
Obama compares himself to Lincoln. Obama’s Lincoln acted unilaterally for the good of America when powerful forces obstructed him.
Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was was a move to grant freedom to an entire race of people who had been denied it in America. His executive order freed slaves in the rebellious states that actively fought to withdraw from the Union. It was Lincoln’s effort reestablish the very cornerstone of the “Land of the Free.” The United States would either to be the “Land of the Free,” or it would not be; slavery was not freedom. Southern slave owners sought to continue to govern their states without federal infringement upon their sovereignty. This essentially translated into their “right” to own human beings.
During the Civil War, slave owners openly denounced the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. Confederate leaders denounced Jeffersonian ideals and the equality of “all men.” The premise of the Emancipation Proclamation was the great premise of the Declaration of Independence: “All men were created equal.”
Lincoln was only able to implement his proclamation through the war powers vested in the president by the Constitution as the Commander in Chief. Lincoln respected and defended the Constitution in the face of forces that would have destroyed it. The Emancipation Proclamation was an executive mandate, but it could only exist because the United States was engaged in civil war.
Lincoln understood and respected the limits placed on him by the law of the land. The Emancipation Proclamation could only go so far. With the Thirteenth Amendment, a white president and a white Republican Congress drew the proverbial line in the sand and refused to allow the existence of slavery in the “Land of the Free.”
The correct comparisons for Obama is not Abraham Lincoln, but Andrew Jackson. The Jackson administration pulled off one of the biggest peacetime land grabs in U.S. history. In defiance of the law and the Supreme Court, he dispossessed Indians of their lands and sent them on the “Trail of Tears,” one of the darkest episodes in American history. In the name of the people, the populist Jackson imposed his own will on institutions that defied him.
L’État, c’est moi.
Obama is Jacksonian, not Lincolnesque. He listens not to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, but to the popular wishes of the mob. In the tradition of modern Democrats, he has moved to expand the mob, then subjugate it to dependency.
While other American families would suffer in the aftermath of the economic downturn, Obama rewarded federal employees with raises. The Obama administration increased the size of the federal government by 10 percent since 2009, and the bureaucracy will grow even more under Obamacare.
Many Americans are okay with an increasing transfer of private earnings to the Federal government. Forty-seven percent of Americans do not pay income taxes; they want to be taken care of. As Andrew Jackson so forcibly demonstrated, they’re a more powerful army than the courts and the Congress command.
Obama has followed also in the footsteps of President Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal. The New Deal was a major step in the Democrats’ institutionalization of economic dependency. This was dependency via social welfare and public works projects during the Great Depression. These measures were supposed to be limited and temporary. Yet once planted, they grew like mustard seeds.
The New Deal was supposed to lift America from the depression. That isn’t what it did. Instead, it poured the foundations of the welfare state.
Truman’s “The buck stops here” has been turned on its head; it stops nowhere. Democrats take Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather ask what you can do for your country” both ways: Expect your country to meet your needs, and in return, do what you’re told.
Obama isn’t Lincoln. He’s the worst of FDR married to the raw power grabbed by Jackson. His intent to rule by executive order must not be allowed to stand.