Cobbling together a constituency
By: Peter Lemiska
Barack Obama is once again unleashing his formidable campaign skills as he prepares for the upcoming election. But facing shrinking poll numbers and growing discontent, this campaign is different from the one he ran in 2008. Gone are the calls for unity, the righteous rhetoric, and the hope and change. This time we see a more cynical and ruthless candidate, as Obama sheds all bi-partisan pretenses, accelerates his “transformation” of America, and at the same time attempts to expand his base. Desperation, it seems, is revealing more of his true character and his style of leadership.
We had a glimpse of his leadership style shortly after his election, when he ended political debate on his stimulus package with two defiant words: “I won.” Over the years, his knack for negotiation hasn’t improved much. More recently he proclaimed, “We can’t wait for Congress to do its job, so where they won’t act, I will.” Most saw through his clever attempt to portray himself as a courageous and uncompromising leader. They were astonished by the arrogance of this self-serving politician, convinced of his own omnipotence. Only his most loyal supporters cheered his words.
They include life-long Democrats, most of the African-American community, the news media, the unions, committed socialists, and hopeless idealists who haven’t quite gotten past the thrill of Obama’s historic election. Their unshakable loyalty is undiminished by our crushing national debt, intolerable unemployment numbers, and abysmal economy, all of which they ignore, deny, or, even after four years of this presidency, blame on President Bush, the crisis in Europe, the fates, or other uncontrollable malevolent force – like Republicans, for example.
These are the voters Obama can count on, but they are not enough to win reelection. So he’s making good on his threat, using Executive Orders and policy directives to bypass Congress, not to solve the problems facing our country, but to buy support from potential voters.
Early in 2011, in a transparent effort to appeal to the gay community, Obama announced that his Department of Justice would no longer defend the federal law defining marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman. That law, known as the Defense of Marriage Act, was passed by large majorities in both houses of Congress and signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1996. It was also widely supported by the people.
And the failure of Cap and Trade did not stop him from rewarding the environmentalists. He only had to designate greenhouse gases as environmental pollutants, and subject them to EPA regulations. The result is more restraints on domestic energy production, and greater dependence on imported energy, all accomplished without the approval of Congress.
More recently, he announced that he would no longer enforce deportation proceedings against some illegal aliens, if they met certain conditions. Yet only last year when discussing the Dream Act, he reminded everyone that, “This notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true…there are laws on the books that I have to enforce.” So his actions today are not due to some misinterpretation of constitutional law, but rather a defiance of it. The man who has publicly lamented the constitutional limits on his power, has now decided simply to ignore them.
Once again, in recent weeks, he used the very same lawless tactics to weaken the work requirements in the 1996 Welfare Reform Law. He may have ingratiated himself with welfare recipients, but it was at the expense of historic bi-partisan legislation that had successfully cut the welfare rolls by one half.
Like the former Governor of Illinois, who tried to sell Obama’s vacant senate seat, Obama has acquired a keen appreciation for the unique assets that come with his office. So now he is using his presidential powers as a personal bankroll to buy the votes he needs. Like a benevolent dictator, he is bestowing favors on his favored groups, unilaterally enforcing or ignoring existing laws, all in an effort to cobble together a constituency. But what some see as compassionate policy decisions are really just political calculations, divisive and transient in nature. They lack the benefit of healthy debate, and are unsupported by the law of the land.
If Obama’s gambit is successful, our United States will soon be anything but united. It will no longer be the shining city that President Reagan envisioned, but will become the vision of an unprincipled huckster, always ready to trade some favor for political support. And though Obama’s beneficiaries may be content for the time being, recent events in Europe have shown where government dependency and entitlement societies eventually lead. If Obama fails to address the real problems facing our country, our economic situation can only worsen. And if he continues to rule by decree, ignoring our Constitution, America will become just another welfare state, more divided than ever, and dependent, not even on some government bureaucracy, but on the whims of a self-appointed dictator.
The writer is a former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service and holds a BA degree in psychology. His commentaries appear on various websites, and he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.