Could it be that the United States of America is on the verge of a constitutional crisis? As reported by Politico, “President Barack Obama on Friday defended his plans to use executive power to bypass Congress, signaling that he’s determined to move on issues like immigration and climate change, especially when lawmakers have failed to act. “They have the ability to fix the system. What they don’t have is the ability to do is expect me to stand by with a broken system in perpetuity,” Obama said on immigration reform at a joint news conference here with Myanmar dissident leader Aung San Suu Kyi. “It’s way overdue. We’ve been talking about it for 10 years now and it’s been consistently stalled.”
So why didn’t President Barack Hussein Obama take up the issue of immigration reform in his first term — especially the first two years when he held a supermajority in House and Senate? After all, he did push through Obamacare and Dodd-Frank.
Obama stated, “I gave the House over a year to at least give a vote on the Senate bill. They failed to do so,” the president said. “I indicated to Speaker Boehner several months ago that if Congress failed to act, I would use all lawful authority that I possess … That’s going to happen. And that’s going to happen before the end of the year.”
It seems to me Obama is under the misconception that the legislative branch works for him. He fails to realize the U.S. House of Representatives is the “People’s House” and is elected by its constituents — not appointed by the president. As well, we have a Constitutional system of governance for this Republic based on the premise of coequal branches of government. It appears that Obama doesn’t grasp the concept of governing, but instead thinks only of ruling — dictating by edict and proclamation.
In the case of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly and will be taken up in the Senate next week, Obama has already stated he will veto unless Keystone XL meets his climate change criteria.
Obama clearly displayed his dismissal of Keystone XL stating, “I have to constantly push back against the idea that Keystone is either a massive jobs bill for the U.S. or is somehow lowering gas prices. Understand what the project is, it will provide the ability for Canada to pump their oil and send it through their land down to the Gulf where it will be sold everywhere else,” the president said.
Does President Obama believe everything has to be accommodating to his whims and approval — or else? Obama’s stance on immigration reform isn’t a battle between him and the GOP. It’s a battle pitting him against the American people — and there will be ramifications.
Obama is placing his political agenda above that of the American people and our rule of law. This does not end well. First of all, his decision will be a millstone about the neck of the next Democrat nominee for president in 2016. And it will be an anchor about the ankle of every Democrat running for office in 2016. It will cause a rift in support of Hispanics for the Democrats. The Hispanic community is not monolithic and there are those who actually believe in the rule of law and the rights of those who have come here as legal immigrants.
Obama cannot enact policy by his pen and phone — that is simply unconstitutional. And this comes on the heels of the president’s climate change agreement with China that forces restrictions on America with nothing imposed on China. And of course Obama attempted to take some moral high ground — which resembles quick sand — “I have been very clear I have a responsibility as president not just to the current generation but to future generations,” the president declared. “I took seriously the notion that we want all countries to participate in solving a global problem so I engaged with China over a lengthy set of negotiations and by all independent accounts for the first time we got China to make a very serious commitment to constrain its greenhouse gas emissions. Why would anybody be against that? It sounds like the right thing to do to me.”
President Obama doesn’t get to unilaterally decide what is the right thing to do for America — or what is best. Just like the countless amendments to Obamacare issued by Obama by his will – that’s not how our system works, or should work.
Ronald Reagan worked with House Speaker Tip O’Neill. Bill Clinton worked with GOP House and Senate majorities and claims credit for a constitutional conservative legislative agenda that resulted in a balanced budget, budget surplus, and a reduction in the size and scope of government. It was Bill Clinton who pivoted away from “Hillarycare” and stated, “the era of big government is over.” Perhaps Obama should learn that lesson, especially after the 2014 midterm election drubbing.
Obama seems to believe he’s still popular and can implement his will. He has demonstrated his disregard for the American electorate saying he heard the voices of the two-thirds of the American people who did not vote – as if their non-votes count. He seems to believe this is all a big game, a fight, that he truly feels he can win.
I recommend the president review the Constitution and take to heart the enumerated powers of the Congress — and his own, which are comparatively very little. Executive orders are to be used in cases of emergency — not to advance one’s own political ideology and agenda. Presidents — leaders — govern by policy. Dictators rule by the imposition of their will via edicts and manipulating the electorate by politics.
Fortunately, the Obama administration bag of tricks is becoming more transparent and being rejected by more and more Americans.