By Dr. Mom
Clash Daily Contributor
Although the American tradition in second terms is that the president finds himself a “lame duck,” without political clout to move his opponents much in either direction, President Obama is all about breaking tradition, ignoring the Constitution, and acting with impunity. “I have a pen and I have a phone,” he has said, implying that these should be enough to negate the objections of a Congress he can’t strong-arm.
Yet, with the New Year comes a new Congress, and there is an outside chance a unified Republican voice may be used at least to demonstrate that it is not Congress that fails to do its job, but Obama whose rigid ideology won’t allow reasonable legislation through. However, there is little chance (unless he decides to go on permanent vacation) that he will stray from his long-term plan of fundamental transformation we have all grown to know and loathe.
It is, therefore, time to prepare for actions the president might take as he barrels toward the end of his presidency. While I could probably find something for every letter of the Alphabet, space is limited, so I’ll start with three things to watch out for. (Think of it as “ABC”—or “Americans, Be Careful!”)
If Obama’s approval rating steadies in the 40s, there’s a good chance he will feel emboldened to move further out of Constitutional range in his approach to governance. Already, he is disguising his vast overusage of executive authority by putting his decrees in “presidential memoranda” which are as enforceable as executive orders, but not as easily seen, and not as well-publicized. Taking them into account, USA Today reveals: “Obama is on track to take more high-level executive actions than any president since Harry Truman battled the ‘Do Nothing Congress’ almost seven decades ago.” Because these memos are hard to find, we will have to be extra-vigilant to their appearance and sound the alarm whenever he writes them.
Boundaries and Borders:
It is clear that, until a court he respects says otherwise (wherever that may be), Obama has no intention of conforming his immigration actions to the actual boundaries of the Constitution. When Obama considers something legal “wrong,” (like the Defense of Marriage Act) he does everything he can to kill it. When he considers something illegal “right” (like “keeping families together” instead of deporting them), he will do it, regardless of the law. Without an election hanging over his head, and knowing he has nothing to gain but a legacy, Obama has no intention of letting a small thing like the will of the people expressed in the election of a unified Congressional opposition stand in his way. His incredible ego will not brook opposition. He is the state. He will have his way. We may have to look to the states to enforce the borders, and to Constitutionally-sympathetic courts to enforce the boundaries.
This is not a president who believes in walls and fences—except the wall of separation of church and state and the…okay, forget fences. Already, Obama told an audience, concerning Cuba, that “We are all Americans”—by which I believe he means everybody in the hemisphere shares the same “last name.”
But if that’s what he means, what is he saying? Does he want citizenship for all the “Americas” to be the same? Does he really not understand our usage of “American”, meaning citizen of the United States? Some of us have long suspected that he thinks it’s very unfair that only US citizens can vote in US elections—especially if they would vote Democrat. We already know that he’d love to take campaign funds from non-US citizens. Keep an eye on this; watch out for executive memos signed in secret that slowly undermine the difference between a citizen and a non-citizen.
The president has not won everything he wanted in the courts, despite John Roberts’ inexplicable decision to transform not-a-tax into a tax in the first Obamacare decision. However, cases are coming in which the Administration will be hard pressed to explain its position in such a way as to avoid judges howling with laughter. For example, the Obamacare subsidies case hinges on the Administration’s claim that when the legislation says “state exchanges” it really means “federal and state exchanges,” allowing participants in the federal exchange to get subsidies. Unfortunately, the legislative intent is blatantly clear: it was written to keep subsidies away from those whose state stubbornly refused to set up an exchange. This should be a slam-dunk for the text-as-written.
However, Obama has something in his back pocket–actually, almost 100 someones,–judges Senate Majority Leader Reid pushed through in the waning moments of his Senate. These appointments could grease the skids not just for Obamacare to stay on life-support, but for other executive acts to be upheld, such as on—you guessed it–immigration. With an opposing and (theoretically) unified legislative branch, sympathetic judges could come in handy for Obama in the days to come.
It may take a miracle to undo what has been done—whether changes come from Congress or the next President—but the Divine Providence our Founders relied on still rules in the affairs of men. We the People need to learn our rights under the Constitution, educate others—and pray.
To paraphrase Tiny Tim, “God help us—every one.”
Dr. Mom is a married mother of three boys and the author of Souls, Bodies, Spirits: The Drive to Abolish Abortion Since 1973. The hills she chooses to die on are the Bible and the Constitution, in that order. In addition to her American Studies doctorate, she also holds a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology and is, therefore, perfectly equipped to interpret the current Administration. She also tweets as DrKC4.