LOS ANGELES, February 25, 2014 — During a daytime stroll with an ideological soul mate, President Obama gave Americans keen insight into his thinking. Video captured a sound byte in which Obama told French President Francois Hollande that one of the great things about being the American president is, ”I can do whatever I want.”
He said that to be charming and engaging, but does he really believe it?
Conservatives were outraged, but their anger is pointless. Obama is absolutely right. That is, he is wrong in theory but completely right in practice. To understand Obama, look at his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
While Obama certainly has not taken the arbitrary exercise of power to the level that Putin has, both are leaders of countries with constitutions. Both have strengthened their executive powers despite those constitutions.
Article 81, Section 3 of the Russian constitution states that, “One person may not hold the position of Russian president for more than two terms in a row.” Putin is now in his third term, through the stratagem of trading jobs with his prime minister after his second term, then trading them back again. He managed to remain within the narrow requirements of the constitution while completely ignoring the intent. Constitution Article 81 be damned.
On the world stage, Putin is the bully who treats Obama with disdain. Putin imprisons whomever he pleases, supports bloodthirsty dictators like Syria’s Bashar Assad, and declares laws to be whatever he decides on any given day.
He acts with impunity because he can. There are no checks on his power.
He had a film-maker imprisoned for committing the sin of jeopardizing Obama’s reelection chances. The film-maker disproved Obama’s Benghazi narrative as a successful terror warrior, and was jailed for it. Another conservative film-maker, Dinesh D’Souza, was recently indicted for making a movie criticizing Obama.
Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder get to decide which laws to enforce and which ones to ignore, even though both have sworn an oath to faithfully uphold all laws. Obama and Holder have unilaterally decided not to enforce laws they consider unjust – including drug laws and bans on gay marriage.
The Affordable Care Act has been altered thirty times by unilateral executive action.
Obama does all of this because he can.
Stalwart Obama allies in the mainstream media, Hollywood, and the ACLU have remained mute because the ordinary citizens whose First Amendment rights have been crushed are political conservatives. Obama knows that liberals will blithely accept threats to civil liberties for the greater good of advancing liberalism.
Republicans say nothing for fear as being accused of racism, misogyny, or anti-immigrant bias. When Mitt Romney tried to bring up Benghazi in 2012, he was bullied and intimidated. He caved, and that played a key role in costing him the White House.
The Supreme Court is supposed to referee disputes between the Legislative and Executive branches, but the current court is terrified of being seen as activist. Republican legislators have tried to bring lawsuits through the courts to curb Obama’s power, but the reality they face is a court that kicks that responsibility back to Congress.
The only real remedy to stop Obama is impeachment, and that is completely off the table. Republicans know it would be political suicide to go this route, and Obama knows it as well.
Without a credible way to contain him, Obama can and does run wild. His supporters prefer victory at all costs to accepting constitutional limits. His critics do not have the stomach to stop him and are unable to market themselves as a quality alternative.
The many apolitical people in this country just want everybody to get along, and their attempt to stay out of politics is the same as giving Obama a blank check.
The only thing separating Obama from becoming Putin is longevity. Putin is well into the third of what could be many terms. His rivals are likely to find themselves charged with corruption or theft, thus made ineligible to challenge him.
If Obama tried to seek a third term, Hillary Clinton’s medicine cabinet would make for an interesting inspection.
Until January 20, 2017, Obama will wield absolute power. He can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.