The logic is circular, oxymoronic and the very definition of executive overreach. During the Bush 43 years, we were repeatedly treated to garment-rending about the imperial presidency, to major hyperventilation about the “unitary executive.” Yet the current administration’s imperiousness has earned little comparable attention.
Perhaps because President Obama has been so ineffective. It’s hard to call someone imperial who’s failed so consistently. Or maybe not. You can surely be imperial and unsuccessful. Waterloo comes to mind.
Krauthammer writes a politics column that runs on Fridays.
Ann Telnaes animation: After the Obamacare decision, conservatives turn on Chief Justice John Roberts.
Regardless of results, however, Obama’s presumption is Olympian. He takes America into a war in Libya with U.N. approval but none from Congress. Yet that awful Bush had the constitutional decency to twice seek and gain congressional approval before he initiated hostilities.
The Department of Health and Human Services issues Obamacare regulations treading so heavily on the free-exercise rights of Catholic institutions that Obama’s own allies rebel. The new regulation concocted to tame the firestorm blithely orders private insurers to provide free contraceptives to employees of the objecting religious institutions. By what possible authority does a president order private companies to provide free services? To say nothing of the 1,200 Obamacare waivers granted with royal arbitrariness according to the (political) whims of an HHS secretary.
And now immigration. Obama adopts a policy of major non-enforcement of the immigration law — a variant of the very Dream Act he could not get through even a Democratic Congress — and promulgates it unilaterally, while his Justice Department claims the right to invalidate state laws that might in some way impinge on that very non-enforcement.
The Republican presidential campaign centers on the ineffectiveness of this administration: failure at home, passivity abroad. A fine electoral strategy. But as citizens we should be grateful. Given the administration’s extravagant ambitions, incompetence is its saving grace.